The Feast of the Crown of Thorns

Today is the Feast of the Crown of Thorns in Heiligenkreuz. The Feast commemorates the solemn translation of the Crown of Thorns to Paris under St. Louis IX. St. Louis gave one thorn to the Babenberg Duke  Frederick the Quarrelsome of Austria, who gave it to Heiligenkreuz. Today it is exposed on the altar. There’s a medieval painting of the Sacred Head, crowned with thorns, in a niche our Church that was probably where the reliquary used to be kept. (Now it is kept in the neo-Gothic Sacrament altar).



Situatedness and Separability

In the latest issue of Studies in Christian Ethics, I review of Marcia Pally’s book Commonwealth and Covenant: Economics, Politics, and Theologies of Relationality. The review can be read online at Sage Journals. It’s free at the moment, but will probably be behind a pay-wall later. Some excerpts from the review follow below. Continue reading

The Window in the Wall

Eight years ago today I posted the very first post on Sancrucensis.


And now he is standing on the other side of this very wall; now he is looking through each window in turn, peering through every chink. I can hear my true love calling to me, Rise up, rise up quickly, dear heart, so gentle, so beautiful, rise up and come with me. (Sg. 2:9-10; Knox Translation)

Ronald Knox takes a rather curious literal interpretation of the Song of Songs, but one that solves a number of difficulties. Joe Zepeda’s brilliant TAC thesis argues for it rather persuasively. The interpretation is roughly this: the bride has been taken to Solomon’s court, but she is still faithful to her beloved from the country. Her beloved follows her to the city, and (in the above text) he is standing outside the wall of Solomon’s palace calling her. In his sermon “The Window in the Wall” Knox gives a figurative interpretation of the passage:…

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“Christ chooses what we would like to eliminate”


As St Teresa would say, “this is very useful to read.” From the  Christmas letter of the Cistercian Abbot General, Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori:

For me, this is one of the more extraordinary aspects of the Christian event: that Christ chooses what we would like to eliminate, what disturbs and disgusts us more, as the place where the encounter with Him becomes for us the clear and safe path of our lives. Why does our community always seem to us to be full of defects and not up to the greatness of its vocation? Why do the superior, the brothers and sisters with whom we must closely share life, seem to us to be the least fit to ensure our happiness and are often the people with whom we have more problems in living together? In fact, the community of Damascus was like this for Saul of Tarsus. This is the place…

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Via Alpina Sacra

The brilliant Fr. Johannes Schwarz. is going to be hiking from one end of the Alps to the other this summer, visiting all shrines and monasteries along the way. You can now submit prayer requests on his website, and he will pray for your intentions at particular shrines.

The Tradistae, Bishop Sullivan Highschool, and Scott Hahn

Robert Bellah used to say: “Nothing is ever lost.” That dictum came to mind recently when I was contacted by a group of American college students, who call themselves Tradistae. The name is meant to be reminiscent of the Tradinistas, and the group does try to revive some of the better aspects of that project. They refer to the work on integralism that we have done at The Josias, and attempt a thoroughly integralist approach to Catholic action. Their main focus is the practice of the works of mercy.

There is something remarkable about how small groups such as this one are re-discovering elements of Catholic Tradition that many, especially of their parents’ generation, consider passé. Dan Hitchens has recently written an interesting essay about converts to Catholicism who were led thither by what the found on the internet. “God can use anything, even the internet,” he writes, “and if this is a terrible age for distraction and vanity, it is also an era of internet conversions.” The same is true mutatis mutandis of young Catholics re-discovering neglected aspects of their tradition. Continue reading