Every semester, Clarifying Catholicism enjoys featuring its top articles of the term! 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 Spring 2020!
20. The Best in Catholic Memes: December 2020
354 Views By Nick Jones, Rhode Island University
In his debut as an aspiring Meme-Lord, Nick Jones kicks off what has become a noble and sacred tradition of this website: sharing the dankest of Catholic memes we could harvest from across the internet!
“Even as our world reels from the wound of sin, we know that it is still good. We know that there are joys and consolations in life. One of the best of these is humor. Everybody loves a great joke. To me, some of the best jokes are those about the things I care the most about. ”
19. Gay Marriage and the Contraception Connection
364 Views By Bill Quinn, Holy Apostles College
Bill Quinn investigates a lesser-known link between the rise of contraception in the 20th Century and the LGBT movement in the 21st Century.
“When New York State enshrined the recognition of same sex marriage into law, many pointed their fingers at the LGBTQ+ community for promoting immoral practices designed to destroy the institution of marriage. This is somewhat unfair as the seeds leading to the destruction of marriage were sown long before the gay rights movement was even thought of.”
18. Why Do We Exist? Aquinas vs. Hawking
378 Views By Meg McDonough, University of Dallas
Meg McDonough explores the fascinating topic of how acclaimed physicist Steven Hawking’s criticisms of an intelligently designed universe do not actually contradict the proofs of God’s existence by Aristotle and Aquinas.
“Juxtaposing the two theories of the origin of being, Hawking’s solution seems to be a shallower explanation of the origin of the universe and all being than Aquinas’ explanation. He does not assert true nothingness in his explanation of why there is something rather than nothing, but he treats nothingness merely as a state of no matter, allowing a quantum field of some type to exist, and laws of the currently known physical universe to govern the state of nothing. Additionally, scientific critics of Hawking point out that he used the laws of nature to describe how matter, energy, space and time came to be, despite the laws of nature describing only how the above “behave once [they] exist,” and not how these things came to be (Spontaneous Creation). Aquinas, on the other hand, genuinely presupposes no thing to exist when seeking to explain the existence of the universe, and in this way he is able to demonstrate metaphysically that the universe requires a first cause.”
17. Reflections on Pre-1955 Holy Week
418 Views By Nick Jones, Rhode Island University
Nick Jones compares the pre-1955 Holy Week to its modern counterpart and makes the case for its revival in popularity.
“Like many Catholics, for a long time, I never had any conception of a Mass celebrated differently than in the Ordinary Form. After experiencing the joys of this Holy Week, I can no longer imagine not celebrating at least certain celebrations in the ancient form. Through participating virtually in this Holy Week experience, I feel like I have rediscovered a treasure that was taken from the Church for no discernible reason. I will be careful here to acknowledge that, of course, I accept the validity of the changes in 1955 and the Ordinary Form, which is how I worship the majority of the time. A very wise priest I know always says that Our Lord left us sacraments themselves, not rites.”
16. Henry VIII vs. Thomas More
426 Views By Katie Hugo, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Katie Hugo details the stunning history of St. Thomas More’s heroic encounters and struggles against Henry VIII, who commanded More to unjustly nullify his marriage.
“Sir Saint Thomas More was an English lawyer, author and statesman, a Renaissance humanist, and a Catholic saint. However, he is most known for being the Lord Chancellor of England from October 1529 to May 1532. More resigned his position in 1532, because King Henry VIII claimed spiritual authority over the Catholic Church in England. Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn.”
15. The Limits of Papal Infallibility
464 Views By Grady Stuckman, Franciscan University of Steubenville
The scope of the powers of Papal Infallibility is explored in this fascinating piece.
“However, any sort of human authority, even those of authorities within the Church, is subject to error and failing, some of which the person in authority might not even be aware of. To protect the Pope from subverting the wonderful task he has been given, which is to guard Christian revelation as it has been handed down through the ages (and clarify it if necessary), a distinction is made between fallible and infallible teaching. Most teaching, or “ordinary” teaching, would be considered fallible. Such statements would be found in encyclicals and apostolic exhortations (frequent letters the Pope writes regarding certain themes).”
14. The Best of Catholic Memes: March
481 Views By Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island
Nick’s most recent batch of memes proves to be his most popular, as he continues on his quest to become the first ever Clarifying Catholicism Meme Lord.
“Since I last wrote one of these, all of my reasons for needing memes have gotten much more dire. The pandemic is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. This Lent was much Lentier than any other we’ve seen. College just got a whole lot harder for all students, especially the seniors. Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. (That one REALLY stung.) But, Easter loomed large. Even if we couldn’t get to Mass on that day, we ought to still rejoice over the living reality the day commemorates. Joy is, after all, one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. So, here’s hoping these memes’ll foment some joy in you until you can meet Him who is the source of all joy.”
13. How the Internet Made Me Catholic
512 Views By Jenna Drummond, The Catholic University of America
Jenna writes about how encountering Catholicism across the internet reinvigorated her interest in the Faith and brought her closer to God.
“Two years ago, I made the decision to “be Catholic.” My family raised me practically as an atheist and the only connection to my Roman Catholic roots were the eight years of CCD I had attended growing up. I knew the choice to practice my faith was going to be tested and the support I would have was little to none. There were plenty of times my faith was tested and plenty of times I questioned if I really did believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Now, entering my second year at The Catholic University of America, and being identified as “super Catholic” by a seminarian friend, I have a few specific people to thank for their help in my faith journey.”
12. The Catholic Case for Trump
609 Views By Joe Bukuras, The Catholic University of America
Joe Bukuras, our Director of Organizational Development, makes the case that Catholics should consider voting for Trump in the 2020 election.
““My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Lincoln would have been a good Catholic. If he were alive today, Honest Abe might just have been the perfect consultant for this country. The deep rooted, philosophical divisions among the current American electorate resemble a split to the likes of the 1860’s. The political cry then, rang ironically the same as it does today: “Not a person!””
11. Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair: How the Distortion of Gender Roles Leads to Chaos
996 Views By Abby Thomas, Christendom College
Abby Thomas writes about how the distortion of gender roles ends badly, using Shakespearean plays as a backdrop.
“In the time period that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, there existed many cultural constraints against women and a concept of the ideal woman that pervaded the Renaissance era. The evil and chaotic deeds committed during the play upset this idea of a woman with qualities like beauty, obedience, and silence. Also, there is a great corruption of motherhood displayed in the play, the perceived greatest of the feminine virtues. Shakespeare completely distorts the preferred image of femininity by using ugly female characters, specifically Lady Macbeth and the prophetic witches, who directly reject the so-called feminine virtues by attempting to take on opposite identities, so much so that the world around them descends into violence and chaos. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth and the witches to corrupt the concept of the perfect woman, and he portrays the pandemonium that ensues when the laws of nature are disturbed.”
10. Catholic Fundamentalism: A Major Problem
1,014 Views By Chris Centrella, Franciscan University of Steubenville
In his first article for our site, Chris Centrella addresses a concern that several of our staff have witnessed in the young Catholic world: Catholic Fundamentalism, or the tendency for Catholics to quote scripture and doctrinal documents without context.
“In reading the Sacred Scriptures, we must be careful to avoid examining only the literal text, outside of any context or guidelines. This is known as biblical fundamentalism. Interpretation of God’s Word should be deeply personal; it should penetrate our hearts and bring us into a closer relationship with God. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NABRE).”
9. Rome Wins! My Journey to the Episcopal Church and Back
1,167 Views By Bill Quinn, Christendom College
Bill passionately writes about his conversion to the Episcopalian church before he returned to Catholicism.
“My journey and struggle with my Catholic Faith began in the summer of 1999. At that time, I was a social work major in college. I loved the school and my classmates and have many fond memories of my time there. Mass in the chapel with my fellow students was a great experience, especially at Christmas time. The previous year, I had taken social inequality. In this class, our Marxist professor drilled into us the “facts” about society. They were as follows: Society was largely socially constructed, including behaviors and morals. Certain groups (specifically white men) were at the top. Everyone else (African Americans, homosexuals, women etc.) were oppressed by them, in varying degrees. Now, this is true to a certain extent. I know this, as a person with a disability.”
8. The Way of the Cross in Quarentine
1,273 Views By Jonathan Stodola, St. Louis University
This Stations of the Cross is presented in the framework of our COVID-19 crisis.
“Lent is the time of the year we are invited to sacrifice a little piece of ourselves in order gain a piece of Christ, to grow closer to the one who sacrificed Himself for our eternal salvation. This Lent is very different from the normal 40 days before Easter. This year we are without mass, without our faith communities, loved ones, and everyday routines. Quarantined in our homes, forced to sacrifice more than we would like.”
7. Five Principles for Thriving during COVID-19… and Life!
1,620 Views By John Kish, The Catholic University of America
John Kish writes an impressively comprehensive article on living faithfully during the COVID crisis through the lens of St. Josemaria Escriva.
“When I first realized that coronavirus was going to lead to schools across America shutting down, I didn’t know what to do. The prospect of being stuck at home with my parents for weeks, even months, without end felt like a bad fever dream. Online classes meant that I would be spending all of my time in my bedroom, watching my teachers try to figure out how to unmute themselves. Social distancing meant that parties, sports, and hanging out with friends was replaced with watching YouTube videos until I bored myself to sleep! I, like many if not all of my fellow students, was losing it.”
6. Yes, They are Actually Catholics: Diversity in Rite
1,637 Views By Mark Florig, Yale
This article analyzes a variety of different rites that are not commonly celebrated in Western Catholicism.
“As odd as it may be for Catholics to hear many of their friends across ecumenical boundaries assert that “Catholic” and “Christian” are somehow exclusive of one another, it becomes even more awkward for certain subsets within the Catholic Church to hear their fellow believers assert that they either aren’t Catholic, or, perhaps more patronizingly, that they aren’t really Catholic. The fact of the matter is that as part of its universality, the Catholic Church includes under its umbrella a multitude of rites, sui iuris Churches, uses, forms, ethnic customs, prelatures, and Ordinariates. To an outsider, it may appear somewhat strange; it may appear even stranger to an insider, but the Catholic Church is a lot more diverse than many think.”
5. The Jesuits Sank the Titanic? Five Jesuit Shenanigans
1,652 Views By Paul Martin, Creighton University
Paul whimsically lists and explains five of his favorite Jesuit jokes, attempting to demystify and highlight the merits of the order.
“The Jesuits, short for the Society of Jesus, are a worldwide conspiracy of priests and brothers, have been secretly directing the tides of history since they were founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534. Always trying to increase the wealth and power of their order, they have founded hundreds of schools, ostensibly to provide a strong Catholic education, often as a missionary presence, but really to train and indoctrinate politicians, popes, and polymaths who secretly orchestrate wars, elections, and coups to suit their nefarious ends. At least, so say the conspiracy theorists, who for centuries have been blaming the Jesuits for most every calamity, including World War I, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and my personal favorite, the sinking of the Titanic.”
4. The Year there was no Easter
1,698 Views By Jennifer L., The Catholic University of America
Jennifer writes about the anxieties and sorrow many Catholics face throughout the Easter Season in COVID, yet provides them with words of hope and encouragement.
“It was supposed to be my last Easter celebrated at home. My last chance to see my community entering the Church, to see my beloved priests and deacons proclaim the Good News: Christ lives. My last chance to renew my baptismal vows at the very place I was baptized; my last chance to receive Christ where I first processed down the aisle in my white communion dress.”
3. Ad Orientem: Let’s Face it
1,810 Views By Leo Pio, The Catholic University of America
Leo makes the case for why the Mass should return to ad orientem, or the style in which the priest faces away from the crowd, towards the altar and tabernacle.
“The ancient custom of facing in a single, holy direction is seen in two other major religions. Muslims pray towards Mecca, and Jews pray towards Jerusalem. An Old Testament tradition is to sacrifice a lamb facing God. Analogously, Catholic priests can offer the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary facing God. Both the continuation of God’s covenant with His children and how this continuation is represented are significant in the liturgy. Therefore, ad orientem should be the preferred position of the priest during the Celebration of the Eucharist.”
2. Opus Dei: Unveiled
2,069 Views By Eugene Beh
This in-depth analysis of Opus Dei attempts to demystify the order that has been subject to countless conspiracy theories.
“In 2006, when the movie Da Vinci Code was released in the cinemas, like the book, though it was a fiction, it brought much attention and controversy amongst the media and the public. Suddenly, there was a vast interest in the plot and many people started asking questions about the Catholic faith. Many of my Catholic friends and I refused to watch the movie as our support to the Catholic Church criticising the plot of the movie and book. U.S. Catholic bishops launched a website, JesusDecoded.com, refuting the key claims in the novel that were about to be brought to the screen and denounced its depiction of both the Jesus-Mary Magdalene relationship and that of Opus Dei as “deeply abhorrent”.”
1. Ten Growing Catholic Blogs You Should Check Out!
2,693 Views By Faith Kowitz
Faith features ten Catholic blogs she recommends that all young Catholics check out!
“Here at Clarifying Catholicism, we enjoy promoting and featuring great work from all corners of the internet. Today, we would like to feature ten Catholic growing blogs that we thought deserved a shoutout!”