Category Archives: Theology

How tall are your doctrinal walls?

playground.jpgG. K. Chesterton once wrote, “Catholic doctrine
and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground. We might
fancy some children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the
sea. So long as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge they could fling
themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of
nurseries. But the walls were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the
precipice. They did not fall over; but when their friends returned to them they
were all huddled in terror in the centre of the island; and their song had
ceased.” Orthodoxy Ch. 9

Purgatory: Understanding the Catholic doctrine

Just this morning one of the assisting priests where I am living and I had a brief discussion about purgatory and the need to raise our awareness of praying for “those who have gone before marked by the sign of faith.” I don’t get to think much about purgatory but it’s been a funny thing: I’ve been thinking about the Catholic practice of praying for the souls in purgatory and need to keep in mind and heart the place the dead continue to have in our lives and in Church. I suspect that most of us observe All Souls Day once a year but is that enough? We probably don’t think of those who have died, our family, friends and even those unknown to us personally, as needing prayers for purification. Perhaps we think of our dead as already being with God face-to-face and therefore in no need of prayer. Affectively this line of thinking is understandable. But really, do we think that our deceased friends and family were that perfect in life that aren’t in need of prayer and sacrifice?

Also today I was surfing the usual Catholic news sites and I was astonished to see this video news item on Rome Reports talking about purgatory. Something is in the air! Since Divine Providence works in mysterious ways, I leave it to you to pray and think about the holy and not yet holy souls.
There is much unsound doctrine on the Church’s faith in purgatory. I bid you to do some personal work on knowing what the Church believes AND what it doesn’t believe. See this entry on purgatory.
This video clip on a museum on purgatory in Rome is very interesting.

In praise of Defending Truth: Garrigou-Lagrange

Over at First Things Rusty Reno reviews the idea of defending truth by looking at the work of Dominican Father Reginald-Marie Garrigou-Lagrange. What a novel notion! Reno gives us another look in this seminal thinker and priest.

A modern day Martin Luther?

Have you ever thought what a contemporary Martin Luther would criticize?

Well, after a great of thought … consider this
How would Tetzel (writing for Leo X) respond?

Hans Urs von Balthasar: 21 anniv of death


Just two days before he was to receive the cardinal’s red hat from Pope John Paul II (an honor he declined to accept before) the Swiss theologian Father Hans Urs von Balthasar died. He was preparing to celebrate the morning Mass when the Lord called him home.

Von Balthasar was a prolific author of articles and books. He’s widely known as the kneeling theologian, the starting point from he believed theology ought to be done. With Cardinals Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and Joseph Ratzinger he founded the Communio journal (which is published in a numerous languages).

O Lord, we pray Thee that the soul of Thy priest. Thy servant Hans Urs von Balthassar, which, while he abode in this world, Thou didst adorn with sacred gifts, may ever rejoice in a glorious place in heaven. Amen.

A short biography of Father von Balthasar can be read here.

Those wanting a fine  and accessible introduction into the thinking of Hans Urs von Balthasar ought to read Jesuit Father Edward T. Oakes’ book, Pattern of Redemption.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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