On ISIS and the Fearsome Rhyming of History


 “History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.” - Mark TwainIt had been nearly two years. And it was bloody. Very, very bloody. In June, 1941 the National Socialist (Nazi) state of Germany sat on top of the world. Emerging from the humiliating ashes of World War I and the economic devastation of the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party saw themselves transformed from a fringe party to the most powerful ideological and military force in the world. Before the war b … [Read more...]

What the Pope Said About World War I


 "Sad experience proves that human authority fails where religion is set aside." - Pope Benedict XVOn Sunday, July 27th, Pope Francis spoke briefly after his Angelus address about the one hundred year anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Here is what he had to say:"Tomorrow marks the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which caused millions of deaths and immense destruction. This conflict, which Pope Benedict XV called a 'senseless … [Read more...]

On Hope and Bitter Tragedy


 Today, I learned of a terrible tragedy. It didn't happen to me, but to dear friends. And it made me question hope. In the deep blackness of incomprehensible loss, how do we hope? When we are utterly sickened and mute by what has happened, how do we hope?  And when exhausted yet fitful sleep leads us to awaken once again to the awful, taunting truth, how do we hope?I don't know.I don't know.Perhaps, there is no strategy or mindset to answer this. Perhaps enveloped in angu … [Read more...]

ISIS, President Obama & One Simple Truth


 If you haven't heard the name ISIS (also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL and recently renamed, the Islamic State), then welcome back from the planet Mars. The marauding Islamic jihadist blitzkrieg killing its way across Iraq has made itself known largely for its brazen violence and its ruthless intolerance of anything that approaches apostasy. And who is deemed an apostate? Any non-Sunni who disagrees with the draconian … [Read more...]

On Becoming & Unbecoming a Cynic


  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 our leaders were honest, our country was upright, … [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 seasoned years as a deeply r … [Read more...]