I apparently don’t understand success. The formula for it is not, as I suggested, hard work + advantage but hard work + persistence. This is a typical line taken by self-help books, prosperity preachers and business seminars, so it’s not surprising that this was the view put forward by one of the commenters on my previous post. Alright. So “persistence” is basically just an aspect of hard work – that this is kind of like saying “Air + oxygen =… Read more

Alright, so you’re white. And also male. You’re successful, but you’ve worked hard all your life. Growing up there were obstacles that you had to overcome, and you worked to overcome them. Your parents weren’t rich. They weren’t poor, but certainly nobody bought you a car when you were sixteen. Now you’re sick of everybody telling you that the reason you’re successful is that you have something called “privilege,” and you’re tired of being told you need to be ashamed… Read more

A lot of people seem to be confused about why it isn’t appropriate to ask victims of sexual assault about their behaviour leading up to the assault. And why is it unacceptable to advise women of reasonable precautions that they could take to avoid rape? I mean, if women’s are making choices that place them in danger, isn’t the truly compassionate thing to explain those dangers? There is actually nothing wrong with giving women sound advice on how to stay… Read more

Since Vatican II, there has been a great fear among orthodox Catholics that a focus on the sensus fidelium would lead to a collapse in the central authority of the Church. Doctrine would cease to be defined by Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium and would instead be subject to the caprices of the popular vote. This has in fact happened. But not in the way that people feared. I wasn’t around for Vatican II, or in the years that immediately… Read more

I’ve been away for a while, but I wanted to get back to the discussion of hell that I started several months ago. I found the combox really interesting – I just didn’t have the leisure at the time be able to engage much. So, I want to address the argument that there is a coherent, rational notion of hell which a minority of people hold, and also a horrific, manipulative notion of hell which is leveraged by powerful religious… Read more

Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been an unusual amount of drama in my particular corner of the social media world and it’s got me thinking about the problem of loving one’s enemies. Christ clearly commands us to do this. He doesn’t say that we have to be friends with everyone, but He does say that we have to love everyone. He models this Himself in a truly astonishing way, praying for the guys who are literally driving nails… Read more

A certain amount of shade gets thrown on conservatives, particularly in the present political climate. Some of it has, admittedly, been thrown on this blog. So I want to pause for a moment to talk about why conservatism is actually really important. The essence of conservatism is a belief that the status quo ought to be preserved precisely because it is the status quo. Essentially, the conservative believes that society is structured the way it is for a reason, and… Read more

Recently, I blogged about the existence of social conditions which make it more difficult for individual couples to practice the Church’s teaching on contraception. I want to expand on that a little more, taking postpartum depression as a particular example of a way in which these social conditions actually manifest in the lives of individual Catholics. I want to begin with Foucault’s idea that mental illness is basically socially constructed. It’s true, but it’s also easily misunderstood so I want… Read more

A couple of weeks ago, I actually got to Mass without kids. I had the weekend off, and I decided to treat myself by going to a liturgy with a full choir and a partially sung Mass. As I sat enjoying the quiet, the beauty of the music and the freedom from having to continually police the behavior of small bodies, I noticed a little girl running up and down the aisle. Specifically, she would run up the aisle, shouting… Read more

If you happen to be neck-deep in the controversy over whether artificial birth control is ever morally permissible, you may be familiar with the argument that the Church has changed her teaching in the past – specifically in the matter of usury. Basically, if you go back to older encyclicals, like Vix Pervenit, you find that usury is condemned in no equivocal terms as a grave sin. Charging interest of any kind has been categorically condemned by multiple Popes and… Read more

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