Our Lady of Fatima and a Theological Reading of HistoryMay 16, 2017 14 Comments
This past week, we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to a group of shepherd children near the Portuguese town of Fatima. The series of Fatima appearances—lasting from May until October of 1917—is one of the most extraordinary in the history of the Church. It has also beguiled political and cultural commentators outside the ambit of the Church, and it is this wider implication that I would like to explore.
How to Preach Like the ApostlesMay 09, 2017 14 Comments
A twentieth century Anglican bishop memorably expressed the following insight: “When Paul preached, there were riots; when I preach, they serve me tea.” To all preachers, I might recommend a careful consideration of the kerygmatic sermonizing in the Acts of the Apostles. If you preach like Peter, they might not serve you tea after every homily, but they will know that they’ve been cut to the heart.
Pride, Humility, and Social MediaMay 02, 2017 8 Comments
A recent article reminds us that social media can be a breeding ground for the unique type of spiritual distortion and dislocation that we traditionally call pride. What made all the difference for her was the arrival of her baby, in all of his densely-textured reality—a reality that she could appropriate only through humility.
The Benedict Option and the Identity/Relevance DilemmaApr 18, 2017 27 Comments
Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation” has certainly emerged as the most talked-about religious book of 2017. There is a widely-felt instinct that something has gone rather deeply wrong with the culture and that classical Christianity, at least in the West, is in a bit of a mess. So, do we need the Benedict Option now?
“The Case for Christ” and a Stubbornly Historical ReligionApr 11, 2017 15 Comments
The new film “The Case for Christ” is interesting for any number of reasons, but I think it is particularly compelling for its subtle portrayal of the psychological, spiritual, and intellectual dynamics of evangelization.
Jackie and the PriestApr 04, 2017 5 Comments
Somehow I managed to miss the film “Jackie” during the Christmas season, but I watched it, twice, on recent long flights to and from the east coast. What particularly impressed (and surprised) me were the scenes between Mrs. Kennedy and a sympathetic priest. Anyone interested in the art of pastoral counseling, in the problem of reconciling belief in God with great suffering, and in the human search for meaning will find the exchanges between Jackie and the priest fascinating.
St. Patrick, St. Joseph, and the Conversion that Makes All the DifferenceMar 22, 2017 0 Comments
Though separated by four centuries and though hailing from extremely different cultures, Patrick and Joseph have a great deal, spiritually speaking, in common. For both stubbornly situated their lives in the context, not of the ego-drama, but the theo-drama, and therein lies their importance for the Universal Church.
Why It Matters Who Jesus IsMar 14, 2017 9 Comments
The classical tradition of Christology understood Jesus ontologically, that is to say, in terms of his fundamental being or existential identity; whereas modern and contemporary Christology tends to understand Jesus psychologically or relationally. The transition from an ontological Christology to a consciousness Christology has conduced toward all manner of relativism, subjectivism, indifferentism, and the attenuation of evangelical zeal.
Love is Both Tolerant and IntolerantMar 07, 2017 16 Comments
Love is tolerant, inasmuch as it respects the goodness of even those who hold errant points of view; and love encourages diversity, to the degree that it eschews the imperialistic imposition of one’s own ego upon another. However, sometimes love is exclusive, intolerant, and unaccepting of diversity—precisely because it wills the good of the other.
Evangelizing Through the GoodFeb 21, 2017 12 Comments
Moral rectitude, the concrete living out of the Christian way, especially when it is done in an heroic manner, can move even the most hardened unbeliever to faith, and the truth of this principle has been proven again and again over the centuries.
Dave Rubin, the Pelvic Issues, and Larry DavidFeb 01, 2017 23 Comments
I am very grateful to Dave Rubin for the interview and the opportunity to explore a number of issues related to faith and society. I just hope that his viewers can appreciate that there is a lot more to Christianity than the “pelvic issues.” An overriding preoccupation with sexual morality has served to undermine the work of evangelization.
“The Crown” and the Fundamental Values of a SocietyJan 24, 2017 2 Comments
The Netflix original series The Crown, which has to do with the last months of the reign of King George VI and the first years of the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, demonstrates how for any society to remain healthy it must be grounded in God-given moral values.
Go In Haste! Be Amazed! Treasure!Jan 03, 2017 17 Comments
By now most of you are probably aware of the depressing statistics regarding the “nones,” that is to say, those in this country who claim no religious affiliation. I have written frequently regarding practical steps that religious leaders ought to be taking to confront this rising tide of secularist ideology, and I will continue to do so. But for the moment, I would like to reflect on a passage from the Gospel of Luke, which was featured on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, and which sheds considerable light on this issue.