What if not being dour and serious about religion is the more serious option?

Doubt Douthat’s Donatist Precipice

Ross Douthat's "The Pope and Precipice" has received plenty of attention of late. Rod Dreher presents it as an insightful piece and even invents a pithy Galatians 2 tag for it: resisting the pope to his face (while ignoring how Paul got into Peter's face to argue for doctrinal development, or, even a break with the past practice of excluding Gentiles).What I see in Douthat's article instead is the specter of a shapeless, because baseless, fear.First of all, nothing was decided at the … [Read More...]

Closeup of Chinese chess pieces.

The Church’s Geopolitical Chess Strategy

Today I conclude my interview on the Church and Hong Kong with Dr. Justin Tse of the University of Washington Comparative Religion department. The conversation moves mainland:Artur Rosman: Are the dynamics on the mainland similar to those in Hong Kong? What is the Catholic strategy there, if any?Justin Tse: This is a brilliant question because it gets right to the heart of Cardinal Zen’s real agenda: Sino-Vatican relations. In 2011, Cardinal Zen said in a press conference that without t … [Read More...]

Tarkovsky's Nostalghia features a stunning scene on spirituality and motherhood. Scroll down below to watch it.

The Consequences of God’s Maternal Thinking for Theology

The feminist Sara Ruddick must be doing something right if both Alasdair MacIntyre and Janet Martin Soskice cite her as an influence. MacIntyre credits the feminist philosopher's work in the field of disability studies at the start of Dependent Rational Animals. Soskice borrows Ruddick's phenomenology of the parental gaze in Maternal Thinking for her writings on parenting and spirituality in The Kindness of God.Here Soskice adopts Ruddick's phenomenology of the parent's gaze in order to make … [Read More...]

The Annunciation to the Shepherds, early 20th C., author unknown.

Mini TOP10: Books on Vatican Relations with China and Hong Kong

 Today we feature an exclusive peek ahead to the third installment of my interview on Hong Kong with Dr. Justin Tse of the University of Washington. It will appear on Ethika Politika this Wednesday.What follows below is a list of the five essential books to read to better understand Vatican relations with China and Hong Kong. The Wednesday interview (totally new content) will deal with questions that dovetail into this book list.The previous two parts of our interview can be … [Read More...]


What We Want is a Spirituality of Wiping Bottoms and Breastfeeding!

Yesterday's post featured Alasdair MacIntyre discussing how much the philosophical tradition has ignored the dependencies built into all of our lives. In the long citation in that post he touches upon childhood while concentrating upon disability as an extreme case that is revelatory of the inescapable facts of constant human weakness and depencency.Janet Martin Soskice's The Kindness of God takes up the important topic of child-rearing in relation to spirituality. I did not recognize the … [Read More...]

MacIntyre looks a little like Hitchcock here.

MacIntyre’s Revelatory Argument About Disability

There is nothing like the thrill of discovering a new vein of thought.  The only thrill greater is the discovery of a new vein of thought in a thinker you thought you knew.Alasdair MacIntyre is someone who is frequently quoted in theology and philosophy papers. You see his After Virtue referenced all over the place. You might also find mentions of his God, Philosophy, University and many tiresome variations on the title Whose Justice? Which Rationality?You almost never hear about the … [Read More...]

Road trip finds for mental hygiene. The St. Ignatius soap says the product should be employed, "Against the Spirit of Evil."

Percy on Mental Hygiene: You Are Entitled to Your Depression

Octorber 5-11 was mental health week. You probably heard it mentioned on any of the following: radio commercials, TV programs, and social media blitzes. Chances are that you have struggled with some of the things that you heard discussed--the same goes for me. Abnormality is the new normal.It is also probably true, as one of my former professors, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen argues in his Making Minds and Madness: From Hysteria to Depression, that there are plenty of vested interests for … [Read More...]

Is it only a one-way street?

The Veils of Separation Drop

In a curious reversal of the Parable of the Good Samaritan I picked up an old helping friend last night: Martin Laird's A Sunlit Absence.The last few months have left me exhausted (more than usual) by persistent self-doubts, anxieties, career stress, and money worries. You know things are not going well when someone like myself who churns out TOP10 book lists with abandon loses the motivation to pick up a book. And so I turned, once more, to a book!I figured I would give reading at least … [Read More...]


Disproportionate Influence: Catholicism and the #HongKongProtests

This is the second installment of my interview with Dr. Justin Tse. It concentrates upon the Catholic Church’s complicated role in Hong Kong’s politics. A link to the first installment of this interview can be found here. How much influence does the Catholic Church (as an institution, but also individual believers) have on what goes on in Hong Kong politics? It would seem to be a marginal player when only 5 percent of the population is Catholic.This is a great social scientific question. Rec … [Read More...]

Church History: Why can't we embrace it?

Synod14: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again!

The Synod reporting has been nothing short of apocalyptic. And I do love it in a Rabelaisian Catholic sort of way. For example, The National Catholic Register's write up is another sure sign, aside from all the Medjugorje idolatry, that the publication is getting comfortable with wearing the tinfoil hat. In particular, the piece Evidence Emerges of an Engineered Synod borrows the tone of an X-Files script:More and more there is talk in Rome that this synod is being engineered by groups in … [Read More...]