The Medieval Catholic Origins of Human Rights (Day)

The head-in-the-sand stance of many Catholics toward the modern world leaves them unprepared to engage their contemporaries on issues as important as human rights.The modern world, like the Bible, did not drop out of the sky into our laps. It has its history. That history is Christian. Its successes are theological, as are its failures.The history of human rights, and today (December 10th, 2016) is World Human Rights Day, is one such example of bumbling historical amnesia.Catholics mi … [Read More...]

Religion: Either Everything, or Nothing

"Religion is either everything, or it is nothing." --Pawel Rojek, Avant-garde Conservatism"Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian … [Read More...]

The Reformation is Not Done with You

"The past is never dead. It's not even past." --William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun Reformation Day is an appropriate occasion to trot out a quote from America's greatest (Protestant, what else?) novelist from his otherwise mediocre novel about a "nun."Something like this sentiment is behind one of the most discussed history and theology books of recent years, Brad Gregory's The Unintended Reformation . Its subtitle telegraphs its rather unusually grandiose ambitions for an age that is w … [Read More...]

The Biblical Weight of Suffering in Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Winning Songwriting

Bob Dylan is one of my earliest theological influences, therefore it gladdens me to see him awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year.His interest in the great religious theme of suffering, as it is presented in the Judeo-Christian tradition, go back to his earliest albums, not only his brief Evangelical period. This has been convincingly argued by Stephen H. Webb--how I wish he were still around to see Bob get the Nobel--in Dylan Redeemed.I first "got" Bob Dylan during an e … [Read More...]

Executive Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Responds to “Catholic Spring” Wikileaks Allegations

When I woke up this morning, I never thought I would get caught up in WikiLeaks drama.Prominent commentators have used a stolen e-mail thread from political operatives in 2011 (while I was a 21-year-old college student) about my organization, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, in an attempt to impugn both my integrity and my organization's work.So let's set the record straight: every day, my colleagues and I work tirelessly to promote the social mission of Pope Francis and the … [Read More...]

Will Priests For Life Pull Its $445,000 Out of the Trumpster Fire?

$445,000.00 is nearly half a million dollars. Is Priests for Life budgeting almost half a million dollars for their 2016 election campaign? It would seem so.When you submit the terms “Priests for Life”, “Election”, and “Plan” for a Google search, the first result is Priests for Life’s “Election 2016 Plan of Action, End Abortion and Save America“. Oddly enough, the plan is described as “confidential” – but is neatly set up to be found by anyone interested in what Priests for Life is up to this … [Read More...]

Reflections of a Priest from India on the Consequences of White Privilege in America

As I've remarked on occasion, I have social media "friends" of all kinds of political and religious backgrounds, though the majority are politically conservative and Roman Catholic. In some circles, it seems, talking about the reality of what is called "white privilege" in American society is treated with anger, derision, or worse. I find this truly puzzling, because, to me, the phenomenon is self-evident, or at least borne out by experience.Acknowledging the subtle and pervasive ways in … [Read More...]

Damon Linker Answers the Liberal Critics of Trump & the New Nationalism

Damon Linker, who is best-known for defecting from First Things towards the center-left (you can read about his intellectual journey in this interview I conducted with him), made quite a splash yesterday by daring to question the left's narrative about what Trump  followers represent in his column Liberalism's Blind Spot: Underlying liberal denigration of the new nationalism — the tendency of progressives to describe it as nothing but "racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia" — is the desire to del … [Read More...]

Benedict XVI Admits to Being an Early Critic of Humanae Vitae in Book-Length Interview

A religion is only plausible if it tells you what to do with your genitals.Thus, Humanae Vitae, Paul VI's 1968 encyclical about artificial contraception, is where the Catholic Church forcefully asserted its legitimacy in the modern world.The criticism, especially from American theologians, was swift and very critical. It was documented in books such as Dissent in and for the Church: Theologians and Humanae Vitae. The only recent papal document to be met with similar resistance is Laudato … [Read More...]

Thinker Behind the “Benedict Option” Appears to be Taking a Neo-Marxist Turn

Rod Dreher has been very generous to this blog throughout the years. Cosmos has been linked on a consistent basis by him. It owes a large chunk of its audience to him.Rod and I have had our disagreements, fallouts, and misunderstandings. We've managed to reconcile by the grace of God.I haven't had a chance to write about his work much, because, well, I haven't had a chance to write much recently--gainful employment does that to you.However, a piece of publishing news has me thinking … [Read More...]