25 Mar 2019

On Washing, Wiping, and the Depth of Glory

Let me begin with a warning for the reader: My purpose in this post is to praise the depth of divine condescension in a way that eschews politeness. And in so doing, I’m going to talk about poop. You have been warned. My four-year-old is now daytime potty trained. This is a huge accomplishment for him and a great relief to his father and mother. Increasingly, he doesn’t even need help finishing up in the

Guest Author 0
06 Feb 2019

An Introduction to Saints

A point of confusion and, sometimes, contention within the Christian religion is the role of saints in the life of the Church. In some branches of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, saints occupy an important place, as is evidenced, among other things, by the names of their churches—St. Luke, St. George, St. Cuthbert, and so on. In some other traditions, particularly within evangelicalism and fundamentalism, the word “saint” is used rarely and with

David Doherty 0
10 Dec 2018

Einhard and the Sacred Relics: A Forgotten Story of the ‘Dark Ages’

A New Birth and a New Death On Christmas Day in the year 800 CE, the Roman Empire was proclaimed to be reborn. The Frankish king Charlemagne, a fierce conqueror and the ruler of most of western Europe, had travelled to Rome, and there Pope Leo III declared him Roman emperor, his collection of loosely controlled lands being dubbed the Holy Roman Empire. The coronation was questionable for a number of reasons, not the least

David Doherty 0
14 May 2018

Theology, Sanctity, and the Academy

It could be said that, throughout history and even now in the “less enlightened” parts of the world, the cults of the Saints drive not only the practice of Christianity but also speculation (in the older, more revered sense of the term) about Christianity itself. That is, hagiography as such – the vitae Sanctorum – is not a strange collection of bygone myths (in the newer, less revered sense of the term), but the pulse

Guest Author 1
02 Apr 2018

Round Table: Can We Be Certain Of Our Salvation?

Throughout church history, the question, “Can we be certain of our salvation?,” has troubled many believers. This question naturally arises because different Christian traditions have divergent teachings on the nature of salvation itself. How one is saved and whether or not this salvation can be subsequently lost are the subject of much discussion between believers. One noteworthy response to these questions from church history was the development of the so-called “Protestant work ethic.” This idea

Various 1
20 Dec 2017

R.C. Sproul – A Former Protestant’s Gratitude

When I heard of R.C. Sproul’s death, my first impulse was to pray for his family and–since I am no longer Protestant but Catholic–for him. My second was to turn to my mother and say, “R.C. Sproul died two days ago.” Death has a strange, self-assured touch. Everything stops in its tracks, but the fact of it won’t register. Not truly a shock, it is more a suspension, a cessation of movement in the vicinity

Daniel Hyland 2
15 Jun 2017

In Defense of Invoking the Saints

This is the third in my “In Defense of” series. Be sure to check out parts one and two! Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. At my ordination to the priesthood, there was a beautiful litany led by

Wesley Walker 2
30 Jan 2017

Catholicism: What You’d Expect

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, ‘Christianity’ and ‘Catholicism’ are only distinct concepts due to the unfortunate appearance of heretical and schismatic sects, some of which have split off from the original Church while remaining close enough to Church doctrine to be considered broadly ‘Christian’. These groups, in the words of Jerome, ‘tear the robe of Christ’ by keeping some elements of divine doctrine while rejecting others. In their hands, the seamless weave of

Christian McGuire 3
03 Nov 2016

Revealer of light: St. Phanourios

Years ago, in late September, I was at my sister-friend’s parish in Ottawa for a weekday liturgy. Afterwards, an older Greek lady gave out small pieces of bread called “Phanouropita” for St. Phanourios.  I have never had such good tasting bread. It was the perfect balance of sweetness and spices; surely it was made with prayer! Nothing tastes so good as when it is made with love and prayer. I remember the priest, after the

Elizabeth Roosje 2
06 Oct 2016

(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church ~ The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II

Icon of St. Herman of Alaska from Holy Dormition Monastery. Icon of St. Herman of Alaska, made by my Ottawa Parish, from a print from Greece; Picture taken by author. Note: This is a continuation of my series on what I have been given in the (Eastern Orthodox) Church.  Part One is found here. The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part II: Saints Herman and Nicholas Saint Herman of Alaska While at St.

Elizabeth Roosje 1
27 Jul 2016

St Matthew

Matthew was only working the system Didn’t make him right or wrong, just smart You know you would have done the same If you had been the one playing his part You’ve got to play by the rules If you want change the game Then the rulemaker came And nothing was the same   Why would the rabbi sit and eat with you? Doesn’t he know you are not a good Jew? Consorting with sinners

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
02 Nov 2015

Prayer for the Dead: Spooky or Saintly?

Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or

Benjamin Winter 8
04 May 2015

There’s a Saint for That (A Brief Reflection)

One critique that some groups of non-Catholics rail against Catholicism that there are saints for very obscure or mundane purposes. Think of Saint Ambrose of Milan, the brilliant 4th century theologian who is the patron saint of beekeepers, or Saint Isidore of Seville, who anachronistically became the patron saint of the Internet in 2003. Why have saints for such small things, or designate saints to technologies they did not even use? There’s quite literally a

Laura Norris 2
02 May 2015

Weekly Reads (May 2)

Happy weekend, dear readers! Here is a round-up of different religion, theology, and current events articles from our own authors and across the internet. The following articles do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of Conciliar Post. These articles have been selected based on their prevalence across popular blogs and social media and their relevance to current events. We invite you to engage in friendly and positive discussion about these articles. If you read a thought-provoking

Conciliar Post Weekly Reads 0
10 Oct 2014

When the Cards All Fold

Imagine Dragons begins their song “Demons” by painting the scene of a hopeless man in the cold, watching the cards fold. The only saints he can see are made of gold rather than flesh and bone. All that is good is extinguished from his life and he can turn nowhere for help because the problem lies with the demons inside… But what if the saints were clothed in sinews and skin? What if they had

Johanna Byrkett 0
06 Oct 2014

Medieval Christian Mysticism

In my last post, I discussed Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe in the context of English vernacular mysticism. Mysticism is one of the two dominant fields of medieval theology along with scholasticism, and throughout the centuries of the Church has been an important mode for expressing spirituality, theology, and Christian practice. In this article I provide a bit of background on medieval Christian mysticism, in hopes to be able to engage my readers in

Laura Norris 5
11 Aug 2014

The Virgin Mary in “The Lord of the Rings”

Author’s Note: This post falls as part of a series on female saints, but since there is so much that can be said about the greatest of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I chose to focus on her as represented in the literature and movies of the Lord of the Rings, which provides a familiar common ground for many of us. The Lord of the Rings books and movies depict some of the strongest

Laura Norris 5
14 Jul 2014

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

My last article was published on the same day as the SCOTUS ruling on the Hobby Lobby case. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that for-profit corporations, including Hobby Lobby, are not required to provide coverage on contraception and abortifacients if these violate their religious beliefs. (Let us focus here on the fact that Hobby Lobby was opposed to abortifacients, not preventative contraceptives; the Green family accepted 16 out of 20 contraceptive

Laura Norris 4
03 Jul 2014

In Defense of Saints

The practice of venerating Christian saints is one that is frequently misunderstood by certain Protestant and evangelical groups, especially those who, like me, were raised in the Southern “Bible Belt.” This misinterpretation, along with others, inhibits ecumenism and contributes to the disconnect between the so-called “high church” and “low church” traditions. As my understanding of theology and Church history has increased, so has my appreciation for saints. The problem for many Christians results from confusing

Chris Smith 6
30 Jun 2014

The Feminine Genius

In my previous post, I spoke about the problems of modern secular feminism, and I offered Saint John Paul II’s teaching on the dignity and vocation of women as an alternative for the modern Christian woman. This week, I intend to delve more deeply into this teaching, which represents centuries of the Catholic Church’s teaching on women. In subsequent posts in this series, I wish to closely examine the lives, writings, and teachings of various

Laura Norris 4