The Pope, Conscience & the Clattering Train


It was April, 1935. And Winston Churchill, a lowly Member of the British Parliament, was beside himself. After all, the German Fuhrer had done it again. After being in power for a little over two years, German Chancellor (and de jure Dictator) Adolf Hitler had baldly & brazenly told his British counterparts that the German air force (the existence of which was outlawed by the Versailles Treaty of 1919) now equaled the British Royal Air Force in size. But Churchill's frustration wasn't so … [Read more...]

First Reconciliation & An Encounter with “An Absolute Beauty”


I'd never been to a retreat like this. This would be my first. I guess that's not surprising given my late arrival to Catholicism, converting only four years ago. But now, my oldest daughter (a second-grader) was about to take part in her First Reconciliation. So I found myself on Saturday morning arriving with my wife and daughter at our church's retreat to prepare for this Holy Sacrament. Starting us off, the deeply thoughtful yet puckish Director of Children's Faith Formation, Andrew Allen, … [Read more...]

On Flannery O’Connor, Brittany Maynard & the Eclipsing of God


It was 1951 and she was much too young to be so sick. Much too young. And she had her suspicions about what it was. The fevers. The drenching sweats. The profound fatigue and the joint pains - oh, the joint pains. She had her suspicions. After all, Flannery O'Connor had seen her father endure something like it before her...and he died one month into his forty-fifth year. Years later when she fully grasped that she too had the mysterious yet ravaging rheumatologic disease, systemic lupus … [Read more...]

When Ebola, Public Health & Politics Collide


 "We must always tell what we see. Above all, and this is more difficult, we must always see what we see." -Charles PeguyHelp me understand something.The virulent Ebola virus which once seemed forever vicious, yet aloof in the heart of Africa, is now here in America. On a federal, state and local level, government, public health and medical authorities are grappling with what we know and what we don't know about managing this virus' impact on a person and its threat to a society. … [Read more...]

On Ebola, Uncertainty & Imperfection


We crowded into a small room at my internal medicine clinic and looked at each other. Some decisions had to be made. Soon. We were charged to answer one fundamental question: What would we do if a patient suspected of having Ebola were to walk in our clinic door? As simple as it may seem, this is an incredibly complex question. It requires considering the well-being of the patient, the risk to other patients exposed to him (or her, but I will use him for simplification) in our waiting room, and t … [Read more...]

Hilaire Belloc’s “The Four Men” – The First Day (On Hearing the Journey’s Call)

NPG x7930; Hilaire Belloc by Emil Otto ('E.O.') HoppÈ

"The Four Men is the greatest of books." - Fr. James Schall "Read anything of Belloc you can find, I doubt if it makes any difference what order." - Fr. James SchallOne of the greatest and most prolific Jesuit thinkers today is Fr. James Schall. And as a retired Georgetown professor,author of over thirty books and hundreds of essays, he is quite gifted at his craft. Moreover, he is also an extraordinary guide. Anyone who has not purchased, read and re-read his exceptional "syllabus" … [Read more...]