Why “Last Days in the Desert” is so BoringMay 24, 2016 7 Comments
With his latest film “Last Days in the Desert” Rodrigo Garcia has accomplished something truly remarkable. He has taken a portion of the life of the single most compelling person who has ever lived and turned it into a colossally boring movie.
Daniel Berrigan and Non-ViolenceMay 10, 2016 26 Comments
Last week saw the passing of Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., an advocate of non-violence and one of the most provocative and controversial religious figures of his time. His death helps us remember that even as we hold to the legitimacy of violence under prescribed circumstances, so we hold to the legitimacy of non-violent forms of resistance, again, under the right circumstances. Precisely by living now as we will all live in the eschaton, advocates of non-violence plant the seeds of eternal life in the soil of the fallen world.
Shakespeare and the Fading of the Catholic WorldMay 03, 2016 10 Comments
Last week the world marked the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language. Whatever his personal religious commitments, the great poet, throughout his work, was indeed mourning the loss of something that came apart in the sixteenth century—something beautiful and something worth putting back together.
Why You Should Read C.S. Lewis' “The Great Divorce”Apr 26, 2016 2 Comments
C.S. Lewis was that rare sort of genius, able to combine high theological insight with vivid imagination, and it is precisely this coming-together that makes his writing so memorable--especially his classic fantasy book, “The Great Divorce.”
Porn and the Curse of Total Sexual FreedomApr 19, 2016 19 Comments
The most recent issue of “Time Magazine” features a fascinating and deeply troubling article on the prevalence of pornography in our culture. Yet neither the author nor anyone that he interviewed or referenced ever spoke of pornography use as something morally objectionable. Until we see that the laws governing sexual behavior, which are often read as “taboos” and invitations to repression, are in fact the manner in which the relation between sex and love is maintained, we'll never find true love.
“Miracles from Heaven” and the Problem of TheodicyApr 12, 2016 4 Comments
The surprisingly thoughtful and affecting film, “Miracles from Heaven,” illuminates a few aspects of the anguished problem of suffering: the rarity of miracles, God's delight in working through secondary causes, the Christian expectation of suffering, and the fact that suffering often gives rise to love.
First Thoughts on “Amoris Laetitia”Apr 08, 2016 56 Comments
In Pope Francis' new exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia,” he wants the truths regarding marriage, sexuality, and family to be unambiguously declared. But he also wants the Church’s ministers to reach out in mercy and compassion to those who struggle to incarnate those truths in their lives.
Bill Nye is Not the Philosophy GuyApr 05, 2016 27 Comments
In a recent viral YouTube video, pop-scientist Bill Nye Nye denigrated the discipline of philosophy, stating that it never deviates from common sense, that it doubts the reality of sense experience, and that it engages in speculation about whether we might be part of an intergalactic ping pong match. But while we may listen to Bill Nye as he leads us through an experiment, we should ignore his misguided reflections in regard to the higher questions of life.
The Spiritual Legacy of Mother AngelicaMar 28, 2016 12 Comments
Mother Angelica, one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America, has died after a fourteen-year struggle with the after effects of a stroke. When Church historians write their accounts of the years immediately following Vatican II, Rita Rizzo of Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica, will find a very honored place.
The Disturbing Fact of the ResurrectionMar 24, 2016 3 Comments
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the be-all and the end-all of the Christian faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, all bishops, priests, and Christian ministers should go home and get honest jobs, and all the Christian faithful should leave their churches immediately. The Resurrection isn't just a subjective event or symbol. It's a stunning, disturbing fact that opens up the divine life to everyone.
“Risen” and the Reality of the ResurrectionFeb 23, 2016 44 Comments
When I saw the coming attractions for the new film “Risen”—which deals with a Roman tribune searching for the body of Jesus after reports of the resurrection—I thought that it would leave the audience in suspense, intrigued but unsure whether these reports were justified or not. I was surprised and delighted to discover that the movie is, in fact, robustly Christian and substantially faithful to the Biblical account of what transpired after the death of Jesus.
Confirmation and EvangelizationFeb 16, 2016 8 Comments
Just a few days ago, I had the enormous privilege of performing my first confirmation as a bishop, and that compelled me to do some serious studying and praying around the meaning of this great Sacrament. Confirmation is meant to set people on fire with the Holy Spirit, precisely so that they in turn can set the world on fire. Once again, the gifts that they receive are not for them.