What Precisely is the Gospel?Nov 24, 2015 3 Comments
Catholics hold that the Gospel cannot be reduced to the mechanics of justification, or to state it differently, that justification is a richer and denser reality than Martin Luther thought. The basic meaning of the “Good News” is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, that God became one of us that we might become participants in his life.
“Bridge of Spies” and the Path to VirtueNov 17, 2015 3 Comments
To understand the nature of virtue, we should, as Aristotle suggested, watch the virtuous man in action. Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “Bridge of Spies,” gives us a prime opportunity.
René Girard, Church FatherNov 10, 2015 8 Comments
René Girard, one of the most influential Catholic philosophers in the world, died last week at the age of 91. The recovery of Christianity as revelation, as an unmasking of what all the other religions are saying, will remain his permanent and unsettling contribution.
Ross Douthat and the Catholic AcademyOct 29, 2015 65 Comments
Several Catholic professors and pundits recently signed an open letter to the “New York Times” claiming that op-ed columnist Ross Douthat had politicized his coverage of the Church and was unqualified to write about religious matters. The regrettable letter is indicative of a much wider problem in our intellectual culture, namely, the tendency to avoid real argument and to censor what makes us, for whatever reason, uncomfortable.
Preaching the Strange WordOct 27, 2015 3 Comments
Catholic preachers should not run away from the density, complexity, and sheer weirdness of the Bible. The Scriptures open up an entirely new acting area, filled with distinctive characters who do and say anomalous and surprising things, and good preachers take their listeners on a careful tour of this densely-textured world.
“The Martian” and Why Each Life MattersOct 20, 2015 16 Comments
Ridley Scott’s ''The Martian'' is a splendidly told tale of survival and pluck, but there is another theme that is implicit throughout the film, namely, the inviolable dignity of the individual human being.
Brian Williams, Chris Matthews, and Letting the Fly Out of the Fly BottleOct 06, 2015 17 Comments
When the properly theological and spiritual framework for understanding Church teaching falls away, all we're left with is the political, psychological, or sociological framework, and this keeps us stuck like a fly in a bottle.
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.