What This Catholic Dad Saw At The Lego Movie


 I used to be in touch. Well at least I thought I was. For years, several of my work colleagues would tease that I had my finger on the pulse of pop culture. Whether it regarded the latest movies, television series, music, award or reality shows, I could quote, cite or expound with a delicious flair. The (British) Office, Arrested Development, U2, Superbad and Temptation Island were all in my wheelhouse. And more. Yep. Ahem, ahem. Quite the skill (cue leaning back with thumbs h … [Read more...]

“Stripping for Lent”: St. Thomas More & the Way of Sacrifice


"I die the King's good servant, but God's first."  -  St. Thomas MoreLast Sunday was Valentine's Day. Okay, not quite, but it was the day I could "redeem" my Valentine's Day gift from my wife. And what a gift it was. My wife had surprised me with theater tickets to Minneapolis' intimate Open Window Theater to see Robert Bolt's brilliant play about St. Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons. And as previous posts may indicate (see here and here), I am a big fan.The first sign that this would … [Read more...]

Loving Francis, Missing Benedict


In September, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI found himself standing in Westminster Hall, London before British representatives. The audience included the diplomatic corps, politicians, academics and business leaders. It was an extraordinary visit. The Vicar of Christ was openly invited and warmly hosted by an English monarch and society which, centuries before, had bitter enmity with the Church of Rome and persecuted its adherents. It was a true act of charitable reconciliation on both sides. And the … [Read more...]

“Living Within the Truth”: Vaclav Havel & “The Power of the Powerless”

vaclav havel, president, praha 24.11.2009

Author's note: I originally published this essay in 2012, but brought it back in the face of the recent oppression in the Ukraine by a power-hungry Russian-backed government. The enduring lesson of Vaclav Havel's immortalized essay, "The Power of the Powerless", is that the ineradicable antidote to naked power or power veiled in ideology is, quite simply, to "live within the truth". As Winston Churchill once said, ""The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, b … [Read more...]

Of Egos & Thorns: On the Difference Between Ayn Rand & the Apostle Paul


 I was younger - much younger - at the time. But the list caught my attention. Quite simply, the question posed, "What is the most influential book you have ever read?". The results of this purportedly widely-solicited poll gave a list of ten books. The first book, as expected, was The Bible. But the second I had never heard before. It was strangely named Atlas Shrugged by an equally oddly named Ayn Rand. The list continued with To Kill A Mockingbird, a book by Jane Austen (forgive m … [Read more...]

St. Thomas More, Richard Rich & Chasing the Surrogates for God


It's hard to say how many times I've seen it, but this time it struck me. It was a scene from A Man For All Seasons. I watched it, paused, rewound and watched it again. Thomas More had just returned from a long night on a boat. The Lord Chancellor Cardinal Woolsey summoned this Catholic lawyer, scholar and friend of the King late on the day before to inconvenience him and concentrate his mind. The purpose of the call was to enlist, if not pressure, him into supporting King Henry VIII's intent to … [Read more...]