Four years ago, I refused to vote for Donald Trump. Four years later, I refuse not to.

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Photo by Dalton Caraway on Unsplash

I know this makes me a minority and persona non grata on Medium, but next Tuesday, November 3, 2020, I will be voting for Donald J. Trump as president of the United States of America. However, before you brand me as a “racist”, “fascist”, white-nationalist, backwards-thinking, patriarchal, unwoke monster, hear me out. I wasn’t always a Trump supporter… quite the opposite, actually.

I actually used to be like many of you, a “Dump Trump”, “Never-Trumper”. And in 2016, I even exhorted my fellow Christians to not vote for Trump. I wrote three pieces on Medium, preaching that Trump was a hypocrite, hardly pro-life, and a vote for him would destroy our democracy. The pieces were largely received with applause from my fellow progressive Christians, who pointed out that “being pro-life means more than being against abortion.” While not being a supporter of Hilary Clinton, I was looking forward to her defeat of Trump on the night of November 8, 2016. I woke up the next morning absolutely shocked to see the results. By the time he became inaugurated as president, I joined my voice in unison with the #NotMyPresident crowd. …


Book Review: “Because of Our Fathers: Twenty-Three Catholics Tell How Their Fathers Led Them to Christ”. Tyler Rowley. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 2020. 206 pp. $16.95.

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One morning several weeks ago, I received the exciting news that I am going to be (and technically already am) a father. This was something my wife and I had planned and hoped for, so I cannot say it came as a surprise. Still, there was a sense of nervousness and confusion in my head. After all, I can be trained as a theologian, musician, athlete… but how can I be trained and prepared for fatherhood? No amount of books, YouTube videos, or scientific formulae can help me achieve success as a father. Sure, I can adopt the “do no harm” principle and apply it to the way I interact with our future children. But is fatherhood reducible to “don’t be a screw-up”? …


Book Review: Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius & Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass. Peter Kwasniewski. Brooklyn, NY:
Angelico Press. 2020. 388 pp. $19.95.

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As someone who absolutely hates the summer months for their heat and humidity, reading (indoors) was always a cool, relaxing escape from the blaring sun and nonstop sweat. I may not have gone to Disney or Denmark, but my summers since childhood featured a number of great adventures contained within the pages of various books I nabbed from Barnes and Noble. One of these books was the young adult novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. …


A critical glimpse inside the latest viral (and counterfeit) religious movement

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Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

As you may remember from your high school U.S. History course, the “Great Awakening” was a period of revival within American Christianity, beginning in the 1730’s. At the time, the Enlightenment’s influence on religion started to wear out its welcome. Congregationalist and Episcopalian religious leaders noticed how their congregants were turning to atheism or a general deism, as the Enlightenment’s focus on hyper-rationalization and empiricism drained much of their community’s spirit. With the arrival of George Whitefield (a well-known preacher in England) and the emergence of the fiery Jonathan Edwards, America became over-swept by evangelical fervor. Emotion and experience usurped logic and doctrine. People turned out in droves to listen to these religious leaders preach about the fires of hell and blame natural disasters on humanity’s waywardness. These preachers emphasized the sinfulness of their audience, who needed to convict themselves of their crimes against God, and only then could they experience redemption. Preachers chose their words carefully, knowing how to bend language in order to evoke an emotional response in the audience members. …


How is it possible for bishops & priests to respect the bodies of the faithful, when some of them do not even respect the Body of the Lord?

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1960? 1970? Nope. Try 2014.

It would not be an overstatement to say that 2018 was quite the rough year for the Catholic Church. Of course, as with any massive global organization, tensions typically run high. Pope Francis, suggested by some reporters that he will “enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church,” has been highly controversial since his ascent to the papacy in 2013. “Progressive” Catholics see Francis as “The Great Reformer”, while those of a more “traditional” bend suggest he is “The Dictator Pope”. While the ‘culture wars’ within the Church are neither new nor unique to the Church under Pope Francis, his papacy has emboldened liberals to take back control in the Church after suffering under two relatively conservative pontiffs — John Paul II (1978–2005) and Benedict XVI (2005–2013). Conservatives think that Francis is downplaying important doctrinal/moral issues, while liberals view Francis as a breath of fresh air. For these progressives, Francis is the “people’s pope”, who would rather serve the homeless than teach precise theological formulas. Regardless of one’s opinion of the Holy Father (and trust me, there are many of them out there!), it is clear that future papal biographers will see 2018 as a crucial year of his pontificate. …


Book Review: Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile, Peter A. Kwasniewski, Angelico Press, 232 pages, $17.95.

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We live in an age littered with labels. Some of these labels are ways to describe one’s political views: conservative, liberal, moderate. Other labels may describe one’s generation: “Baby Boomer”, “Gen-X”, “Millennials”, and even the most recent one — “post-millennial”. Labels extend to just about every facet of life, even including one’s race, sexual identity, and even preferred pronouns. As such, it is not uncommon today to find someone’s Twitter bio to contain something like “black, queer, transgender, inter-sectional feminist, ze/zir”, etc. People cling to labels so that they can easily identify themselves in comparison to others.

I often wonder what labels people assign to me. As a white heterosexual male, I’m a walking “micro-aggression”. Politically, I have been called all sorts of things. My opposition to abortion has resulted in my labeling as a “conservative”; my concern about climate change has me branded a “liberal”. If someone asked me “who” I am, I would simply say: “I am a Roman Catholic,” because despite my best attempts to sabotage God’s grace in my life, I am indelibly sealed with the Holy Spirit through Baptism and Confirmation. My Christian identity will always supersede any label the world could give me. …


There is nothing “progressive” about a society which legalizes the murder of the unborn

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Offering to Moloch (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster)

Outside the walls of Jerusalem, southwest of the ancient city, lies a small valley. Since the 7th-century B.C., this valley was called Gei Ben-Hinnom; in Hebrew, meaning “Valley of the Son of Hinnom,” and, by the 1st-century A.D., was commonly known in the Aramaic language as Gēhannā. Today, the valley looks insignificant, unworthy of a second glance. After all, like most valleys, it too is filled with grass and vegetation. In ancient times, however, this specific valley took on a different meaning, as Gehenna was the place of child-sacrifice. …


What the Internet’s reaction to a misleading video clip reveals about our society in 2019

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A face that a mother loves, but also a face that a grown man wants to “punch”.

I had a relatively quiet weekend. This past week, I started up my final semester of my current graduate program. After a relaxing Christmas break, I returned to the daily grind — classes, research, writing, and some Xbox. I was able to sleep in late on Saturday morning, and upon waking up at noon, I instinctively grabbed my phone to check my messages, emails, and Twitter. As I scrolled down my timeline, I saw a video from the 2019 March for Life, featuring a young, white male wearing an infamous red hat, smiling in the face of an older Native American man, who was chanting and beating his drum. The now-deleted tweet containing the video was captioned, “Students from Covington Catholic High School harass Native American protester”. I watched the video clip. Immediately, I was filled with disgust. After reading through a few of the replies (“Wow, typical #MAGA losers”, “How DARE they disrespect the indigenous population!”, “His stupid smirk is the literal definition of white privilege”), I decided to take a stand, too. I quote-tweeted the video, and furiously typed my own commentary: “This is disgusting. A group of fatherless idiots harassing a Native American protester. This is a scandal, especially coming from those who claim to be ‘pro-life’.” I hit the ‘tweet’ button, published my take, and closed out of Twitter. …


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Written on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 8.15.18

Your Eminence, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley,

It is with a spirit of faith, hope, and love that I write this letter to you, the shepherd of all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston. During his apostolic journey to the United States, our Holy Father Pope Francis exhorted you and all of the US bishops in attendance to be “close to people”, becoming “pastors who are neighbors and servants.” …


True love for Christ is shown by our willingness to lay down our lives — and even our “vocations” — for the truth

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Ever since my childhood, I desired to become a Catholic priest. While many of my childhood friends wanted to become police officers, firemen, doctors, or teachers, I felt a deep longing to serve God & the Church as a priest. My earliest memories include accompanying my mother to daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, praying in the morning & at night, and learning more about the faith. Priests were my heroes. They dedicated their entire lives to the service of God and neighbor through preaching, teaching, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, hearing confessions, offering counsel, and more. In the joyful moments of people’s lives (such as baptisms, First Communion, and weddings) the priest was there. In the sorrowful moments of life (illnesses, death, funerals, crises), the priest was there. The priest seemed to truly represent Christ in a world which all too often forgot about Him. …

About

John Monaco

Doctoral student in theology, seeking the true, good, and beautiful.

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