The Catholic Difference

The Catholic Difference is a weekly column syndicated by the Archdiocese of Denver.

The Last Counter-Reformation Pope

When he was elected as Paul VI just 50 years ago, Giovanni Battista Montini seemed the perfectly prepared pope. He was the son of a middle-class family of Italian professionals

Pacem in Terris’ at 50

In the course of preparing “The End and the Beginning,” the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I was struck by a historical coincidence that isn’t much

The Last Laugh of Alfredo Ottaviani

Despite his humble origins as a baker’s son from Trastevere, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, longtime curial head of the Holy Office (“successor to the Inquisition,” in journalese) and scourge of the nouvelle

U.S. Catholics: Overly Assimilated?

With his new book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America (Ignatius Press), mild-mannered Russell Shaw has become the bull in the china shop of

Tribulation Compounded by Blasphemy

As the Revised Standard Version renders the fourteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas remind the proto-Christians of Antioch that it is only “through many tribulations”

Cross-Centered Catholic Renewal

In a Sistine Chapel homily, given to the cardinals who had elected him pope the evening before, the new bishop of Rome, reflecting on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter

Remembering Max Kampelman

Some twenty-three years ago, Ambassador Max Kampelman—former nuclear arms reduction negotiator with the Soviet Union and Counselor to the Department of State—decided that I needed a bit of diplomatic experience and

The Bishop of Rome as Christian Radical

It was a brief greeting to former colleagues. But if you read Pope Francis’ recent letter to the Argentine bishops’ conference closely, you get a glimpse of the man, his convictions, and

“42” and Us

Baseball and movies don’t often play well together. William Bendix as a Marine who dies happy in “Guadalcanal Diary” because he’s just heard that the Dodgers have won is an

Cleaning Up the Engine Room

If the conclave of 2005 was about continuity — extending the legacy of John Paul II by electing his closest theological advisor as his successor — the conclave of 2013

Benedict XVI: Master Preacher

Pope Benedict XVI once observed, wryly, that one clear sign of the Church’s divine origins was that faithful Catholics kept coming to Mass despite hearing dreadful preaching, Sunday after Sunday.

A New Take on Modern Catholic History

When did modern Catholicism begin? The conventional wisdom says, “at Vatican II.” A sophisticated version of the conventional wisdom says, “with the mid-twentieth-century Catholic reform movements that shaped Vatican II.”

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