Michelle Wolf and the Throwaway CultureMay 01, 2018 0 Comments
At this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the comedian Michelle Wolf joked about "knocking around" unborn children, in order to abort them. Her shameless endorsement of abortion places her in line with Friedrich Nietzsche, who had a special contempt for the Christian values of sympathy and compassion for the vulnerable and believed all morality was relative. But if Wolf and Nietzsche are right—if good and evil are merely relative states of affairs—then there is nothing to hem in and control the tendency of cultural elites to dominate others. When objective moral values evanesce, armies of the expendable emerge.
The Most Unexpectedly Religious Film of the YearApr 10, 2018 0 Comments
I went to see “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski’s new thriller, with absolutely no anticipation of finding theological or spiritual themes. I just wanted a fun evening at the movies. How wonderful when a film surprises you!
Paul Tillich and “The Shape of Water”Mar 20, 2018 0 Comments
The title of this year’s Best Picture winner, “The Shape of Water,” gives away the game, for the one thing that water does not have is shape. Its very essence is fluidity, formlessness, and freedom from structure. But a film that celebrates this freedom—produced by someone who, by his own admission, hates structure—is sadly emblematic, I fear, of a society that is in danger of losing its ontological balance.
A Case for Priestly CelibacyMar 13, 2018 0 Comments
Everything in this world—including sex, family, and worldly relationships—is good, but impermanently so. But while the non-ultimacy of worldly realities can and should be proclaimed through words, it will be believed only when people can see it. This is why, the Church is convinced, God chooses certain people to be celibate: in order to witness to a transcendent form of love.
The Jordan Peterson PhenomenonFeb 27, 2018 35 Comments
Like many others, I have watched the Jordan Peterson phenomenon unfold with a certain fascination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t spend a lot of time on social media, for Peterson, a mild-mannered psychology professor from the University of Toronto, has emerged as one of the hottest personalities on the internet.
“America” Magazine’s Survey of Women in the ChurchFeb 13, 2018 0 Comments
Last week, America magazine published a fascinating survey regarding the attitudes of women in the Church. They were kind enough to publish a few of my reactions to the study, but I would like, in this article, to offer a fuller response to their findings.
An Evening with William Lane CraigJan 23, 2018 18 Comments
Ten years ago, a seminarian friend told me that Dr. William Lane Craig, an evangelical Protestant, was by far the most effective spokesman for the Christian point of view and that he had taken on the atheists with great intelligence, wit, and panache. That night, I looked up Dr. Craig on YouTube and watched, with fascination, his debates with the superstars of the atheist movement. From that evening on I was a fan. This is why, when I was invited by the good people at the Claremont Center for Reason, Religion, and Public Affairs to participate in an all-day dialogue with William Lane Craig, I jumped at the opportunity.
The Surprising Message of “Downsizing”Jan 02, 2018 7 Comments
As I took in the opening scenes of Alexander Payne’s new film, “Downsizing,” and heard a lot of talk about protecting the environment and the dangers of overpopulation, I thought that the movie would be a propaganda piece for left-wing causes. Instead, “Downsizing” amounts to a not-so-subtle critique of that ideology and a surprising commentary on the West's population implosion.
How the “Star Wars” Franchise Lost Its WayDec 26, 2017 72 Comments
I fell sound asleep for about ten minutes during the most recent installment in the “Star Wars” franchise, “The Last Jedi.” This was not only because the narrative had wandered down a very tedious alleyway, but because “Star Wars” in general has lost its way. What began as a thrilling exploration of the “philosophia perennis” has devolved into a vehicle for the latest trendy ideology—and that is really a shame.
“Lady Bird” and the Breakthrough of GraceDec 12, 2017 28 Comments
Greta Gerwig’s new film, “Lady Bird,” has taken the critics by storm. Having seen the coming attractions, I knew it would be a quirky, offbeat comedy, but I had no idea that “Lady Bird” would be of considerable religious interest as well.
Paul VI, ProphetNov 28, 2017 5 Comments
This coming July, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s deeply controversial encyclical letter “Humanae vitae.” But I would like to draw particular attention to a remarkable passage in this encyclical, namely section 17, in which Paul VI plays the prophet and lays out, clearly and succinctly, what he foresees as consequences of turning away from the Church’s classic teaching on sex.
Black Elk and the Need for CatechistsNov 21, 2017 0 Comments
At the November meeting of the United States bishops, I heard an impassioned case for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, a Lakota Indian medicine man who converted to Catholicism and eagerly took up the task of catechesis within his community. My prayer is that, if the cause of Black Elk moves forward, we might one day invoke him as a real icon for catechists in the Catholic Church.
The Least Religious Generation in U.S. History: A Reflection on Jean Twenge’s “iGen”Oct 24, 2017 17 Comments
Jean Twenge’s book “iGen” about the generation born between 1995 and 2012 is one of the most fascinating—and depressing—texts I’ve read in the past decade. Her chapter on religious attitudes and behaviors among iGen’ers unambiguously indicates what is leading this most unreligious generation in our history away from the churches.