Getting out of the Sacristy: A Look at Our Pastoral PrioritiesJul 17, 2018 0 Comments
For the past several days, I’ve been with my Word on Fire team, filming for the Flannery O’Connor and Fulton Sheen episodes of our “Pivotal Players” series. Our journey has taken us from Chicago to New York to Washington, DC, and finally to Savannah and Millidgeville, GA. At every step of the way, we have met numerous people who have been affected by Word on Fire materials: sermons, podcasts, YouTube videos, and the “CATHOLICISM” series. Many have told me that their exposure to Word on Fire started a process that led them back to the Church. Now I’m telling you this not as an advertisement for my media ministry, but rather as an occasion to muse about what I consider to be a needful change in the way the Church thinks about its essential work.
What “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” Gets Right and WrongJun 26, 2018 0 Comments
The original “Jurassic Park” film from twenty-five years ago rather inventively explored a theme that has been prominent in Western culture from the time of the Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment—namely, the dangers of an aggressive and arrogant rationalism. But what is bothersome in the latest film, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” is the emergence of a new and much more problematic motif.
The Question Behind the QuestionJun 19, 2018 0 Comments
On the afternoon of June 14, a rather spirited, fascinating, and unexpected debate broke out on the floor of the USCCB spring meeting about the use of videos rather than texts. I will confess that as this lively discussion unfolded, a smile spread across my face, for I have believed for some time that the issue of how we communicate is perhaps as important as what we communicate—that is, if we are interested in moving the conversation beyond a very narrow circle.
Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: A Reflection on the Irish ReferendumJun 05, 2018 0 Comments
I will confess that as a person of Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I found the events in Ireland last week particularly dispiriting. Not only did the nation vote, by a two-to-one margin, for the legal prerogative to kill their children in the womb, but they also welcomed and celebrated the vote with a frankly sickening note of gleeful triumph. Accompanying the entire process, of course, was the subtext of the Catholic Church’s cultural impotence, even irrelevance, in the wake of the great crimes of the last several decades. Is there a way forward for Ireland?
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.
Una Defensa del Celibato SacerdotalMar 13, 2018 0 Comments
Todo en el mundo—incluso el sexo, la familia y las relaciones del mundo—es bueno, pero no permanentemente. Pero aunque la verdad sobre la finitud del realidades del mundo puede ser proclamada con palabras, la gente solo creerá en ella cuando pueda verla. Es por ello que la Iglesia está convencida de que Dios escoge a algunas personas para ser célibes: para ser testigos de una forma trascendente de amor.
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.