The Best in Catholic Blogging Fall 2020

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Every fall and spring, Clarifying Catholicism enjoys featuring its top articles of the season! There were many great ones to choose from, and we are happy to share them with you today! Without further ado, here are our top twenty articles from Fall 2020! Below is a video presentation for those who want commentary on these articles.

20. A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment

The Radical Catholic: Ananias, Saphira and the Baptism of Cornelius the  Centurion

602 Views By Aidan McIntosh, The Catholic University of America

“In this sense, I agree with anti-death penalty advocates that many of these executions are insensible, but I still wish for the state to hold the right to sentence people to death, based on long-standing doctrine that does not contradict the Church’s principles, nor the Bible. Even if the sanction is not a deterrent for extreme crime, it can still be used in a medicinal purpose for the most extreme crimes and depravity.”

19. Life Isn’t Fair: Here’s Why 

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611 Views By Will Deatherage, The Catholic University of America

“Our modern Western mode of thinking has fostered a sense of cushy entitlement. Having dodged generations that fought for their freedom, we Millennials and Generation Z were born with spoons of liberty in their mouths. This, combined with a radical individualism that our nation enjoys, fosters a demand for fairness. We feel owed fairness because we were born into a world of fairness. And when life is not fair, we become bitter and resentful of the One who gives us life, Himself.”

18. Was Jesus Christ a Socialist?

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand. (John 6:8–13) One of his disciples ...

617 Views By Will Deatherage, The Catholic University of America

“Even if a socialist project begins with noble intentions, human nature has shown that the few with the power of the purse will become corrupted. The beauty of capitalism is that it distributes this authority into several smaller private and social entities, thus allowing for a diverse set of values to emerge from a marketplace of ideas, bringing forth fertile soil for authentic freedom to grow from.”

17. The Best in Catholic Memes: Advent Edition

623 Views By Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island

“Every priest is a spiritual father. Thus, every priest is good at dad jokes. Every Bishop possesses the fullness of the priesthood, insofar as he can transmit it to others by means of Holy Orders. Thus, every Bishop possesses the full capacity for making dad jokes. As justification, see the joke above. Pray for your Bishop. The Devil probably hates him a lot more than he hates you on account of his configuration to Christ. Remember that we owe our Bishops the utmost respect and obedience so long as they are not commanding us to break Natural or Canon Law.”

16. Breaking News: Students for Life Arrested outside Planned Parenthood

674 Views By Ariel Hobbs, Kelsey Nowack, and Aidan McIntosh (The Catholic University of America)

“This morning, two protestors from Students for Life of America (SFLA) were allegedly harassed  and arrested by Washington DC police officers for attempting to paint “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” in front of the 4th Street NE Planned Parenthood Location. Although the group claims to have received adequate permission to paint their message on the nearby street, they were prevented from doing so by the officers. Instead, the demonstrators began sketching their message with chalk on a sidewalk but were unable to finish when the officers arrested them. A student who spoke to the duo told Clarifying Catholicism they were released after spending a short time in a cell and were charged with desecration of public property.”

15. Why Do Catholics Venerate Mary? A Comprehensive Overview

717 Views By Rachel Hamilton, Franciscan University of Steubenville

“As a former skeptic myself, I certainly understand the concern over how highly Catholics exalt Mary. If you clicked on this article, you likely are brimming with questions such as: 1. How is viewing Mary as more “immaculate” and righteous than the rest of us human creatures not deifying her? 2. What are the Biblical grounds for the Catholic belief that Mary lived as righteously as Jesus did? 3. Even if God did create Mary without inclination to sin, why do Catholics esteem her for something He did? So feel free to sit somewhere comfortable— we’re about to explore each of these questions (as well as other relevant objections) by delving into Scripture!”

14. Why Should Anyone Believe in God?

Thoughts on the Intersection of Faith and Reason - A Faith-Full Life

720 Views By John Kish, The Catholic University of America

“As a former skeptic myself, I certainly understand the concern over how highly Catholics exalt Mary. If you clicked on this article, you likely are brimming with questions such as: 1. How is viewing Mary as more “immaculate” and righteous than the rest of us human creatures not deifying her? 2. What are the Biblical grounds for the Catholic belief that Mary lived as righteously as Jesus did? 3. Even if God did create Mary without inclination to sin, why do Catholics esteem her for something He did? So feel free to sit somewhere comfortable— we’re about to explore each of these questions (as well as other relevant objections) by delving into Scripture!”

13. “Don’t Judge Me!” The Greatest Lie of Modernity

779 Views By Will Deatherage, The Catholic University of America

“If you love a drug addict, you have an obligation to respectfully confront them about their substance abuse. If you know someone who is contemplating suicide, it is your holy task to convince them to cherish his or her life. If you are close to someone who is considering gender reassignment surgery, you are required to carefully inform them of its devastating effects. Such tasks will be evaluated by not an Earthly court, but a Heavenly one. No matter how “politically incorrect” it might seem, it is your God-given task to help your friend carry their cross. We are not individuals. We belong to one Mystical Body of Christ. What hurts one of us hurts all of us. The greatest commandment is “Love Your Neighbor.” If you truly love your neighbor, you will judge their actions.”

12. Dear Non-Catholics: Stop Sexualizing Catholicism

793 Views By Kat Nguyen

“For children, Halloween is filled with harmless fun. It includes the tradition of dressing up as monsters, princesses, soldiers, and pop culture icons. But as we grow up, the degree of risqué costumes steadily increases. Every year, Halloween vendors advertise typical costumes like doctors, nurses, princesses, and even referees, but with the word “sexy” slapped onto the title. I cannot speak for medical professionals or soldiers, but as a Catholic, seeing companies advertise our religious vocational life and distorting it to make it “sexy” is an eyesore every October.”

11. A Brief Description of the Soul and the Spiritual Life from Saint Teresa of Avila

804 Views By Nick Dinunzio, Mount St. Mary’s University

“I spend a lot of time wondering how people live without any conception of the spiritual life. This is not in an effort of pride, but an effort of pure wonder due to my myopic viewpoint. I understand life in a way that includes both the physical and spiritual, but there are certainly others who deny the spiritual and attempt, as I do on the other side, to develop well thought out arguments to support their position. My goal for this discussion is not to argue, but to contextualize the spiritual life in comparison with my wonder through Saint Teresa’s lens.”

10. The Story of a Scrupe: Confronting Scrupulosity

804 Views By Paul B.

“The Roman perfectionism is a great parallel of Catholic scrupulosity, which is one of those oddball things that nobody nowadays realizes exists but is actually a huge problem. Scrupulosity, to oversimplify, is moral perfectionism. To elaborate, it is confusion over what qualifies as mortal sin versus venial sin; every sin seems mortal (meaning that it cuts us off from God completely – we are no longer in a state of sanctifying grace and cannot be assured of our salvation if we were to die right then). To some small extent it is honorable to think this way: even the slightest sin offends God, and I don’t want to offend God, for that is an evil. However, this comes to the logical yet very mistaken conclusion that all sin is mortal. If that were the case, then the Church wouldn’t have differentiations between mortal and venial sins! The Church’s three requirements for a sin to be mortal are that the sin committed must be of grave (serious) matter, it must be completely and willingly consented to by the doer, and the doer must have full knowledge of it.”

9. Protesting the Portrayal of Catholics in Media

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822 Views By Tommy Schacht, Yale University

“I am tired. I am tired of my faith being depicted as the realm of people too stupid to deny God. I am tired of my faith being depicted as a bunch of ass-backwards hicks or self-righteous suburbanites. My faith is not an HOA. My faith is not a question unanswered. The fact that the most positive depiction in a movie I can hope for is some wise, old person who will most likely be killed off is ridiculous. (This is not to say there are no good depictions of Christians in the media; Pres. Bartlett from the West Wing comes to mind). I would just really love a depiction of Christians as I know them to exist, and to whom I can relate. Give me a character for whom God is a certainty, not a perhaps. Give me a character (under the age of 70) who is genuinely trying to follow the will of God, and who has a relationship with Him. I know dozens of people in real life who meet these criteria; it is baffling to me that I know but a handful on the screen.”

8. The Genius of the Divine Office

865 Views By Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island

“The Divine Office refers to the daily series of prayers recited by all Roman Catholic clergy and religious. These prayers, comprised mostly of various psalms and biblical canticles, are interspersed throughout the day.  They enable the one praying to fulfill, in part, Saint Paul’s directive to pray without ceasing (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17). These prayers help form a rhythm for each day, providing a lens of Faith through which we perceive the passage of time. As one prays them more and more, one’s ability to appreciate the truths they contain becomes more intuitive.”

7. Blessed Carlo Acutis: Meet the Teen Who Could become the First Millennial Saint

910 Views By Chris Centrella, Franciscan University of Steubenville

“Carlo was born in London on May 3, 1991, the oldest child of Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano. Growing up, Carlo was very likeable and could easily draw friends to himself. He loved playing football, watching movies, playing on the PlayStation, playing the saxophone and having fun. Besides all of this, he was a computer wiz, loved photography/video, and even designed computer programs. In fact, when he was fourteen years old he even created his own website.”

6. Black Lives Matter: Social Justice or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

1088 Views By Luke Parker (The Catholic University of America) and Patrick Murray (University of Alabama)

“Whenever a major and divisive crisis pops up, we at Clarifying Catholicism enjoy encouraging our writers to engage in point-counterpoint discussions of them. Our last article was on the fate of the Pachamama statues that had been paraded in the Vatican. Today’s topic concerns the Black Lives Matter organization, and whether or not its mission and actions accurately represent the aims of social justice. Our authors are Luke Parker and Patrick Murray. We hope you enjoy their commentaries. Please feel free to vote in the survey below on the following question: Should Catholics support the Black Lives Matter organization?”

5. Ten Reasons Why Catholics Should Walk Away from the Democratic Party

Walking Away from Everything

1465 Views By Will Deatherage, The Catholic University of America

“For me, to vote Democratic means to keep the pot shop open and the Churches closed. To vote Democratic means to contribute my taxes to birth control and abortion. To vote Democratic means to surrender moral authority to the state, not to God. To vote Democratic means to risk being fired or sued for standing up for my beliefs. To vote Democratic means to exchange logic and reason for political correctness and emotivism. To vote Democratic means to deprive another African American kid of the mother and father they deserve. To vote Democratic means to bow to corporate media elites who can ruin lives regardless of facts. To vote Democratic means to shout “Pigs in a blanket! Fry em like bacon!” at an anti-police rally while a Hispanic kid is shot two blocks away. To vote Democratic means to trap the vulnerable in systems of dependence and deprive them of the work they came to this country for. Perhaps above all, for me, to vote Democratic is to comply with the greatest genocide our world has ever seen. The Democratic Party does not care about me as a Catholic. It does not care about me as a Hispanic, an American citizen, an academic, or a moral human being. It is time for Catholics to walk away from the Democratic Party.”

4. A Letter to Catholics who Support Abortion

1560 Views By Jonathon Fessenden, Holy Apostles College

“It is increasingly apparent that modern Catholics do not adhere to the Magisterium but instead acquiesce to what is dictated by government standards and the various secular powers within society. We, as Catholics, should ask ourselves what means more to us: what the Church believes or what our societal “leaders” believe? As Christians, we already have a set of rules that not only dictate how we as persons should live but lay the groundwork for Natural Law itself. So, let us refresh ourselves with the Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Kill.” Most people in society agree with this commandment, but for some reason we continue to wage war with the media and the modern zeitgeist that continues to sanction one of the greatest persisting holocausts of human history. And make no mistake, abortion is a holocaust.”

3. Finding my Vocation in Quarantine (CUM LAUDE)

The Dominican Sisters Of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Share New Holiday  Album : NPR

1676 Views By Genevieve Gignoux

“My name is Genevieve Gignoux, I am 18 years old and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I just graduated from Saint Mary’s Catholic High School, and I am preparing to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. My discernment lasted only two and a half months, but the roots of my vocation go far back to my childhood. If you had told me a year ago that I would be entering the convent, I would have thought you were joking. But now that I have found that God made me to love in this way; I could not be happier.”

2. Why I Left Protestantism for Catholicism (MAGNA CUM LAUDE)

G. K. Chesterton - Wikipedia

2259 Views By Jonathan McMonigal

“On April 11th, 2020, I was confirmed as a Catholic Christian at Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Catholic Church. The Melkites are one of many Eastern Churches that share a common unity through the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. East and West are united in one Catholic Church. You may ask how this could ever happen. A Pentecostal leaving behind his upbringing for Rome? Absurd! Today I write in defense of my life, to explain why I had to make this heart heavy choice. Since my conversion, I have been approached by my Protestant kin with mixed results to say the least. I have been accused of joining a dry, dead Church, one full of doctrines of demons and devils. I have felt great shame through my alleged betrayal. But am I really a Judas Iscariot? By no means!”

1. Where are all the Old Guys? The New Generation of Knights (SUMMA CUM LAUDE)

2267 Views By Nicholas Holoman, John Carroll University 

“As a young person in the Catholic Church, I am constantly reminded of the staggering numbers in which my peers are abandoning the faith. Recent trends reveal that a substantial percentage of these millennials (and younger) who disaffiliate with Catholicism come to self-identify as “religious nones” – an increasingly populous segment of the U.S. population According to Pew Research, “religious nones” comprise 26% of the U.S. population – this comes as a significant increase from only 17% in 2009. In the face of this discouraging reality, it easy for young people to despair about the future of our holy Church. I, undoubtedly, have fallen prey to such a temptation; but after attending the recent SLS20 conference in Phoenix, Arizona, I have renewed hope. This conference, organized by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), was a refreshing display of the vibrant life that exists among Catholic youth. Over the course of the week, I witnessed thousands of fellow Catholic university students gathering with excitement for daily mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and inspiring talks. Additionally, I was enamored by the amassment of young priests and consecrated religious who came to partake in the conference. The entire week appeared as a foil to the statistical narrative that is frequently retold about young people in the Catholic Church.”

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