John Paul Sonnen

John Paul Sonnen is an author and history docent.  His subjects of interest include Catholic Studies, Christian culture, and civilization.  His graduate degrees are from the Angelicum in Rome.

Holy,Trinity,Cathedral,Church,Landmark,Of,Tbilisi,Georgia,Capital,City

Metanoia and the Spiritual Experience of Pilgrimage: Part II

The Role of Beauty Beauty and the sacred are connected in human emotions and both have their origin in the experience of God.  This is news for many people.  So many await this revelation and do not know that they are missing out because no one has announced to them these blessed realities, things they…

Assen,Fortress,(asenova,Krepost,,Petrich),,Asenovgrad,,Rhodope,Mountains,,Plovdiv,,Bulgaria.

Metanoia and the Spiritual Experience of Pilgrimage: Part I

Climbing Croagh Patrick in Ireland before dawn.  Attending Midnight Mass in Bethlehem under the stars.  Standing in the arena under the Mediterranean sun where the martyrs perished in Carthage.  Fortunate is the Catholic who can experience pilgrimage, embarking on an extraordinary journey of faith and the personal transformation that comes from penitence and conversion, a…

Baby,Angel,Over,Holy,Water,Stoup,In,Church.,Aged,Photo.

Understanding the Spiritual Power of Holy Water

Many Catholics have never had a sufficiently full explanation of the signification of various principal devotions, pious practices, and sacred objects such as holy water. The Church in her wisdom has given the faithful holy water as circumstances may demand and the spiritual welfare of her children render expedient.    The more Catholics understand their…

Closeup,Of,A,Relief,Of,Olga,Of,Kiev,On,The

Spiritual Guidance in Time of War

For the first time since the hush of Nazi and Soviet guns in May of 1945, the sad malaise of war is upon the European continent, with the sounds of canons firing and the anxiety of bloodshed in the streets.  Ukraine and Russia are both part of Western civilization, of European civilization – what is…

Stained,Glass,Window,Depicting,St.,Benedict,Of,Nursia,,Author,Of

St. Benedict’s Admonition to Pray the Divine Office

By tradition going back to early Christian times, the Divine Office has been prayed by Roman Catholics, arranged in such a way that the whole course of the day and night are sanctified with prayers. This recitation of the Office of the Church praises God without ceasing, in song and prayer, and it intercedes with…

Brussels,-,July,26:,Stained,Glass,Window,Depicting,The,Three

The Epiphany Cake on the Twelfth Day of Christmas

“The kings of Tharsis and of the islands shall offer presents, alleluia. The kings of Arabia and of Saba shall bring gifts, alleluia.” —Roman Ritual, Blessings at Meals on Epiphany and Octave (cf. Psalm 71 (72): 10). On January 6, the annual feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord is celebrated as an extension of…

Rome-italy-september,16,,2017-pilgrimage,On,The,Occasion,Of,The,Tenth,Anniversary

The Best Resource for Teaching Boys to Serve the Latin Mass

“If boys won’t learn, men won’t know.” -Msgr. R.J. Schuler, PhD One of the most important resources for families that attend the Traditional Latin Mass is How to Serve (published by TAN Books), an excellent book by Dom Matthew Britt, O.S.B. Dom Matthew was a Minnesota-born Benedictine priest ordained in 1901 for St. Martin’s Abbey…

Saint-adresse,,France,-,August,15,,2019:,Stained,Glass,In,The

Passing on the Tradition of the Christmas Proclamation

Christmas has always been celebrated with extraordinary solemnity, brining to mind the hour when the Holy Mother gave birth to Christ, an event that has been recalled through the centuries with the most fervent prayers and vigil watchings.  Over the centuries the story of Christmas has been recorded in certain select extra-biblical works that are…

Rome,,Italy,-,Circa,October,2016,-,Catholic,Priest,Celebrating

The Special Privilege of Three Masses on Christmas

“The custom of saying three Masses on this day is also very ancient, and recalls to our minds the threefold birth of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity – His eternal birth from the Father before all ages, His temporal birth in Bethlehem, and His spiritual birth in the souls of men.” –The Catholic…

Paris,,France,-,January,10:,Intricately,Carved,And,Painted,Frieze

The Poignant Grief of the Holy Innocents

“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, O God, thou perfected praise because of thine enemies.  O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” -Roman Missal, Introit for Dec. 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents In the midst of the joy of Christmas which fills both heaven and earth,…

Bethlehem,,Palestine,,June,11,,2018:,Nativity,Church,In,Bethlehem.

The Glow from the Midnight Cave: Memento Bethlehem

“And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata [fruitful, honored], art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the rule in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.” -Mich. 5:2 Each year the Christmas story brings to the…

Amazing,Interior,Of,The,The,Sainte-chapelle

What Think You of Poetry?

“The influence of the classical tradition is even more clearly discernible in the rise of the new Christian poetry.” -Christopher Dawson The Catholic Church has long been the mother of poets no less of saints.  The Church through the centuries has taken great interest in poetry, reflected in her poetic rites and rituals, liturgical edifice,…

The,Traditional,Feast,Of,St.,Nicholas,In,Czech,Republic:,St.nicholas

Fostering Catholic Culture: Celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas

“O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas, Thy bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the fires of hell.” –Roman Missal, Collect for Feast of St. Nicholas One of the most beloved of saints is St. Nicholas of Myra, an early Christian bishop…

The,First,Thanksgiving,,1621,,Pilgrims,And,Natives,Gather,To,Share

Thanksgiving Day Meditation on Gratitude

“Is not our life a continuous succession of the mercies and charities of God, and at the same time, an incessant display of ingratitude on our part?” -Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand In the final section of the TAN classic The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the author sets the stage by asking retreatants…

Genova,,Italy,-,July,2015,-,Dark,Edit,Detail,Of

Why Gregorian Chant is Supreme (Part II)

As a new generation of Catholics is rediscovering the patrimony of Gregorian chant and realizing that it belongs to them in a specific way as part of their inheritance, they are flocking to the Latin Mass, with music as a major catalyst.  Many are turning to Vatican Council II for guidance, which not only authorizes…

Interior,View,Of,Amalfi,Cathedral.,Amalfi,Coast.,Campania,,Italy.,Unesco

Preserving Catholic Culture in a Hostile World

  By J. P. Sonnen “Tolerance will reach such a level that intelligent people will be banned from thinking so as not to offend the imbeciles.” —Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Christian family finds itself today in a unique and precarious situation of survival. Catholic beliefs and practices are on trial and pushed ever into the private…

Old,Cemetery,On,Belfast.crosses

The Month of All Souls: 5 Ways Catholics Honor Their Dead

“All nations honor their dead. Whether enlightened by faith or groping in error, all strive to keep alive the memory of those whom death has taken away.”  -Fr. John Sullivan, Catholic theologian Love of the departed and a desire to perpetuate their memory is found in every land and culture, both pagan and civilized.  Along the…

Round,Stained,Glass,Window,Depicting,Immaculate,Heart,Of,Mary

The Quest for Mary the Historical Mother of Jesus

“Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.” -Benedict XVI Not much is known about the life of Mary, the woman chosen to be the Mother of Christ.  Nevertheless, she is the most famous of women in history, guardedly revealed to us by the inspired books.  Yet she is…

Paris,,France,,April,04,,2017,:,Interiors,Decor,Of,Saint-sulpice

The Appeal of Reading the Saints to Children

“Like St. Augustine before her, our Martina, when she was still quite little, said once on All Saints’ Day, ‘As I think of it, mother, if all those people could do it, why not we?’” -Maria von Trapp Saint Thomas Aquinas was once asked what one did to become a saint. He responded, “Will it.”…

Malta,-,January,21,2015:,St,Johnã?â¢??s,Co-cathedral,A,Gem

Why Beauty Matters

“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” —Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Catholics have long found solace in the contemplation of beauty. In fact, it could be said we mortals are dependent on beauty for life.…