The Pope, The Congress, and a Trappist MonkSep 30, 2015 8 Comments
How wonderful and strange that a Pope would be addressing Congress at all, but how surpassing wonderful and strange it was that he should use the occasion to hold up before the lawmakers of the most powerful nation on earth two Catholic figures, including a Trappist monk.
Stephen Colbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Henry Newman, and the Providence of GodAug 25, 2015 20 Comments
In a recent interview, comedian Stephen Colbert was asked about the pain of losing his father and two brothers as a young boy. Colbert's remarkable answer, which referenced a line by J.R.R. Tolkien, helps us see how God's providential purposes stretch infinitely beyond what we can immediately grasp.
Mother Nature is One Unreliable LadyAug 11, 2015 11 Comments
The actress Julia Roberts appears in a new series of YouTube videos which have become YouTube sensations. Famous actors and actresses voice different aspects of the natural world, from the ocean, to the rain forest, to redwood trees. Roberts herself plays Mother Nature and though at first her video advocacy may seem to be little more than environmental extremism, the video makes theological significant points about nature's relationships to us and to God.
Why You Need Spiritual FoodAug 04, 2015 1 Comments
Every third summer, the Catholic lectionary provides a series of readings for Sunday Mass from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. As as many scholars have indicated, the Eucharist is a theme that runs right through the entirety of the Gospel and which finds richest expression in the famous chapter six.
The Death of God and the Loss of Human DignityJul 28, 2015 23 Comments
The recent hidden-camera videos of two Planned Parenthood physicians bantering cheerfully about selling the body parts of aborted infants is only possible in a world where human dignity becomes untethered from God. When God is removed from the picture, human rights rather rapidly evanesce, which can be seen with clarity in both ancient times and modern.
A Prophetic Pope and the Tradition of Catholic Social TeachingJul 14, 2015 34 Comments
In the wake of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical letter ''Laudato Si'', and of the Pope’s recent speeches in Latin America, many supporters of capitalism might be forgiven for thinking that His Holiness has something against them. But Pope Francis’s remarks, though strong, even a bit exaggerated, in the prophetic manner, are best understood in the framework of Catholic social teaching.
We’ve Been Here Before: Marriage and the Room of TearsJun 29, 2015 0 Comments
One reason the Supreme Court's decision has been rather shocking to American Catholics is that we have had, at least for the last century or so, a fairly benign relationship with the environing culture. But now the Church finds itself opposed by the ideology of secularism. So what do we do?
Laudato Si and Romano GuardiniJun 23, 2015 22 Comments
As I read through Pope Francis' new encyclical, ''Laudato Si,'' I saw, on practically every page, the influence of theologian Romano Guardini. It is only through Guardini's distinctive view on modernity that this encyclical can be properly understood.
Bruce Jenner, the “Shadow Council,” and St. IrenaeusJun 09, 2015 72 Comments
Two news items from last week put me in mind of St. Irenaeus and the battle he waged, nineteen centuries ago, against the Gnostic heresy. The first was the emergence of Bruce Jenner as a “woman” named Caitlyn, and the second was a “shadow council” that took place in Rome and apparently called for the victory of a theology of love over John Paul II’s theology of the body.
“Mad Men” and the Depression of Don DraperJun 02, 2015 8 Comments
The hit show ''Mad Men'' is remarkably well-written, beautifully imagined and filmed, extremely well-acted, deeply entertaining—and intensely depressing. Although the main character, Don Draper, has all the pleasure he could possibly want, his heart is numb and he radiates depression to everyone around him. He misses the fact that what makes us happy is conformity with God's way of being.
Hospitalland and the Divinization of One’s PassivitiesMay 26, 2015 26 Comments
Last week, I spent six days in the hospital. The hospital has its own unique rhythm, customs, and language, which provide an opportunity to purge our attachments and let God work out his purposes even through our suffering.