On Becoming & Unbecoming a Cynic


  Antisthenes, founder of Cynic philosophy I'm tired of cynicism. Now, to be clear, I am not speaking specifically of the Cynical philosophy of Antisthenes and certain ancient Greeks. I am talking about the modern cynicism which believes people and institutions are generally selfish and dishonest. To borrow from Flannery O'Connor's insight about nihilism, cynicism is the air we breathe. It is everywhere. Looking back, as a young man I had an unshakeable idealism. I believed that … [Read more...]

Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis & the Greatest Friendship Imaginable


    I had never heard the term before. Opera Omnia. But, boy, did it sound impressive. It was in the Fall of 2008. Pope Benedict XVI was in the third year of his papacy and the first volume of his Opera Omnia was being presented at the Vatican. I would soon learn that Opera Omnia, literally translated, means "all (or complete) works". And this Pope's works go deep. Sixteen volumes deep to be exact. From his earliest formative years as a fledgling priest to his most recent … [Read more...]

On NOT Considering the Source (A Musing on Rumsfeld, Rand and St. John the Baptist)


  King Lear & Fool in the Storm by William Dyce Today, guest columnist Ben Conroy wrote a piece (at Elizabeth Scalia's The Anchoress blog) titled 'Sense' and Sensibility (In Defense of Donald Rumsfeld). In it he astutely probed and considered the former Defense Secretary's (in)famous and perhaps not uniquely original insight: "As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we … [Read more...]

Who Writes Letters to Families? The Catholic Church, That’s Who…


"[The family] is the vital cell of society." - Second Vatican Council (Apostolicam Actuositatem)  Who writes letters to families? The Catholic Church, that's who. In 1980, Pope John Paul II convened the Fifth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to discuss The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. For background, the Synod of Bishops is a body of Bishops from all over the world which serves as a (non-binding) advisory council to the Pope on selected issues. There … [Read more...]

What I Learned From Revisiting “The Exorcist”


  It has been a long time since I have seen The Exorcist. A loooong time. And for good reason. It scared the hell out of me. As a teenager, I felt I was bulletproof against Hollywood's efforts to spook me. My friends and I would rent the most macabre of movies from Friday the 13th to Nightmare on Elm Street to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Halloween in a childish quest daring a movie to be frightening enough. While there was little doubt that we could be jarred by the classic … [Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton, the Diabolist & “The Most Terrible Thing”


    "That quiet conversation was by far the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me in my life." G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a celebrated British journalist, detective novelist, artist and Catholic apologist. He wrote over one hundred books, thousands of newspaper columns, innumerable poems, a several plays. He gleefully debated society's intellectual luminaries such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G Wells, Clarence Darrow and Bertrand Russell. It is easy to estimate … [Read more...]