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...]

What a Catholic Can Learn From Orwell, Churchill & Bruce Springsteen


Recently, on my Instagram account (catholic thinker), I posted a quote by George Orwell that went something like this,"There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."The quote seemed apropos for an issue of the day and it generated an expected number of "likes" before one honest (and earnest) Catholic observer noted, "Strange to see such an anti-Catholic writer being quoted here." This didn't seem to be a snarky comment so common to the subterranean trollers … [Read more...]

Six Words That Explain The Catholic View of Death

incense and icon

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Remembering the Dead: Ancestors, Rituals, Relics. Read other perspectives here."Everything is going to be okay."These are the six words she said. And I believed her. Sharon Barrett has said this to me more than once since her husband (and my patient and friend), Dick, passed away last winter. "Everything is going to be okay." Perhaps these simple but confident words best epitomize the Catholic view of death. Before I … [Read more...]