You Are Poor


I wanted to be a wealthy, self-made man. I tried, but got stuck on the awfully obvious fact that wealth depends on existence. I must first exist in order to own my books, Apple products and college savings. Such an simple truth, but such a prickly problem for a man about the business of being wealthy, that is, of owning much. For do I own my existence?No. Upon extremely little reflection, I have come to understand that my existence is as given as soup ladled into a bowl by an obnoxious youth … [Read more...]



I read Pope Francis' beautiful, bold and otherwise death-defying interview. Then I read this.So I re-read the "pro-choice" view at issue: We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of … [Read more...]

Pope Francis on Synodality

Bet you ten bucks Pope Francis ends the Schism: On June 29, during the ceremony of the blessing and imposition of the pallium on 34 metropolitan archbishops, Pope Francis spoke about “the path of collegiality” as the road that can lead the church to “grow in harmony with the service of primacy.” So I ask: “How can we reconcile in harmony Petrine primacy and collegiality? Which roads are feasible also from an ecumenical perspective?”The pope responds, “We must walk together: the people, the b … [Read more...]

Giving Your Money to Drug Addicts

Vincent de Paul and beggar Christ

There are two commandments regarding poverty that I have come to dislike. The first is as follows: "Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime." I do not disagree. I have simply come to the sad conclusion that those most likely to use the phrase are those most likely to neither give, teach, or fish.The second is my topic: "Never give money to a beggar. They'll only spend it on drugs."The problem with this maxim is its … [Read more...]

Ignoring Jesus 101


Christ says "blessed are the poor," (Luke 6:20) and the splendor of his words is that they contain a quality of invisibility, a capacity to be ignored and forgotten at a rate far excelling the human usual. Indeed, there are few words that demand more action and yet have the grand effect of no one doing anything at all, not for any inarticulacy in Christ, but for timidity in man."Blessed are the peacemakers," says Christ, and few believe he wants us to cheer on these peaceful people while … [Read more...]

Fortunate Fall

Fortunate Fall Cover

In case you don't know by now, Audrey Assad wrote a new album entitled Fortunate Fall, a work full of meat, weight and prayerfulness that you should purchase with your hard-earned dollars to make the world more beautiful. I like Audrey's new record for all the wrong reasons. It stretches away from the "Christian Music Scene," bridging out into the unknown in an authenticity and a craftsmanship that make up the water and sunlight of good art. First of all, it was created independently, apart … [Read more...]

Towards a Truly Compassionate Eugenics

Eugenics is back, tied to unthought ideals of freedom and compassion that lend it an exciting sucrose flavor -- and keep us from ever calling it eugenics.Back in the good old 100 years ago, if you happened to be one of those humans deemed "unfit" by society, your sterilization was simply required. Over 30 American states had mandatory sterilization laws to be applied to some combination of "confirmed criminals," "insane persons," "idiots," "degenerates," "imbeciles," and "rapists." The … [Read more...]

2 Ways Catholic Charity is Bizarrely Unlike American Charity


Catholics are called to love the poor in a fundamentally different way than Americans. For our culture, charity towards the needy is a kind thing to do, a worthwhile, fulfilling enterprise that a person should be lauded for engaging in. Love of the poor, in short, is a noble addition to a good, moral, and meaningful life.The Church, on the other hand, is drastic in her demand that we love, love and love the poor. The Catechism of the Catholic Church -- that beautiful summation of the truth … [Read more...]

The Problem With Youth Ministry


Youth ministry is not the Church's primary method of ministering to youth (and by "youth," I mean nothing more than people who, relative to adults, lack some experience). It is a method, sure, and perhaps even a necessary one, but it is not the method. "The home is the first school of Christian life," (CCC 1657) sayeth the Catechism, and it is the home that serves as the fundamental, original source of catechesis and evangelization, and if we could understand that, we might have a chance at … [Read more...]

Man as Art


There is a reason to draw a strong analogy between the human person and the work of art. This connection first tickled my brainstem when I saw that both exist for their own sake, but the fact that art transcends the category of use is just one of its aspects, an aspect which, taken on its own, is an insufficient explanation of art itself. There is another way in which the work of art and the human person are similar -- in freedom. To explain this, I need to describe the act of writing … [Read more...]