State, You’re Just the Worst

The State is unnecessary for the existence of marriage. As that Venerable Badass, Pope Leo XIII, put it in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, “Man is older than the State and he holds the right of providing for the life of his body prior to the formation of any State.” More directly related to marriage, the selfsame Pontifex sayeth: “No human law can abolish the natural and primitive right of marriage, or in anyway limit the chief and principal purpose of marriage, ordained by God’s authority from the … [Read more...]

Okay, There’s Something Indissoluble About Natural Marriage

Dear readers,What started with some degree of confidence has ended as a puzzle.The question is this: Whether indissolubility belongs to marriage by nature or by sacrament?On the one hand, Canon Law is clear:"The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which obtain a special firmness or stability in Christian Marriage by reason of it being a sacrament" (1013). That is to say, both natural and sacramental marriage are essentially indissoluble, though … [Read more...]

Ain’t Nothing Indissoluble About Natural Marriage

The indissolubility of marriage is not natural. I could not agree more with Dan Savage when, in the great American tradition of offering unsolicited advice, he told heterosexuals that this till-death-do-us-apart stuff is an impossible expectation. Indissolubility, by his view, cannot be a norm. Perpetuity can only be a preference. If we could "acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted,” instead of mindlessly pumping a … [Read more...]

Ain’t Nothing Catholic About Heterosexual Civil Marriage

The naivety with which Christians call gay marriage an attack on the civil institution of marriage has finally induced me to air grievances. Gay marriage attacks civil marriage as auto-tune “attacks” the mainstream music industry -- not by a shocking change or an unspeakable perversion, but by another weary alteration of an already defunct industry.Civil marriage, long before any question of gay marriage, is already a disappointing birthday party, antithetical to anything a rational being cou … [Read more...]

The Art of Dying

There is a difference between Christian music and music flushed with a theological project. The former has arrived at Christianity, and sings about it. The latter is on the way, and singing. The Collection are the latter.North Carolinian, 7+-membered, horn-fattened, string-glazed indie rock. Their newish album: Ars Moriendi. The whole thing rich with that holy-s*%*-I-believe-in-Jesus-what-should-I-do-now-probably-not-just-play-Xbox kind of lyricism. Written as a meditation on the suicide … [Read more...]

No, Christianity’s Not Eurocentric (But You Kind Of Are)

I was recently called eurocentric, in that I am a-okay with Christians hopping over to non-Christian countries and preaching the Really Good News of Jesus Christ. Now while I concede that preaching Christianity could be eurocentric, and that many instances of said-preaching is eurocentric, the diehard association of the missionary Christian with the racist, swaggering, white man is moronic. First, it is no longer true that Europe is the center of world Christianity -- that prize could equally go … [Read more...]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and LOVE My Smartphone

I was on an anti-technology soapbox for a while. But I realized something today, and I've since been bubbling with a new appreciation for my generation's enthusiastic use of hip and with-it tech: Having a smartphone is like being in love.We are reassured by the physical presence of our beloved, by the fact that we can reach out and touch her. So we are reassured by the solid weight of an iPhone on our thigh -- we reach down and touch our phone, just to know that it is still there.We … [Read more...]

Bettering Your Boring Christian Playlist: Jenny & Tyler

Artists have been coming to Steubenville, OH, getting their hands dirty with The Harmonium Project, playing music in the podunkiest to prettiest of places, all to be a source of community and cultural-economic development in a strange, distributist-y, local-business-y, neighbor-loving kind of way -- and I haven't said a thing about it. This is some kind of sin of omission. The Harmonium Project is the most badass smoosh of indie music and Holy Church since St. Thomas Aquinas released his first … [Read more...]

Sexuality and the Land

The following is a selection of an essay written for the recent Winter issue of the Slovenian cultural journal Razpotja, which focused on topics in sustainability. If you want the whole essay, you have to learn Slovenian. The essay owes a sizable debt to the author and environmentalist Wendell Berry and his marvelous pieces Feminism, the Body, and the Machine, and The Body and the Earth.Sexuality and the land both have a life of their own. The land has its soil, weather, insects, and idiosyn … [Read more...]

The Difference Between a Martyr and a Victim

The martyr is not glorified for the abuse, torture, or deprivation she suffers, as if we held her up in awe of what was taken from her. No, the martyr is something essentially positive, from the Greek martur -- a witness, a pointing-towards, an icon and profound evidence of the immense value and the unspeakable worthiness of that for which she dies.The martyr, then, is not the victim. The victim is referred to some enemy (a victim of a freak boating accident, of the measles, of terrorism) whi … [Read more...]