The Lamb is broken (Dieric Bouts, The Feast of the Passover, 1467; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

I’d Like to See Douthat Say: Francis, Break My Church Like the Eucharist

Ross Douthat specializes in writing very, very, very long pieces recycling the old secular-sociological theory that conservative churches grow.The essay he wrote for The Atlantic "Will Pope Francis Break the Church?" is based upon this old rational-choice religion theorist thesis of choice. It comes from Dean Kelley's Why Conservative Churches Are Growing, which argues that smaller conservative churches keep more members because they screen out free-riders who take benefits without producing … [Read More...]

The skinniest Trinity/Coronation of all time. Cornbread anyone? (El Greco, Coronation of the Virgin, 1592; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

Exposé: The Culture of Deathly Desire Behind Capitalist Anorexia

The rediscovery of imitative (mimetic) desire of nature is one of the most important philosophical-anthropological breakthroughs of the last thirty or so years. Aristotle famously defined human beings as distinctly human because they imitate more than other animal species. Rene Girard, a French thinker who reverted to Catholicism as he was working out the implication of mimetic desire, is the man who single-handedly brought this element of human behavior into clear focus. His theories seemed … [Read More...]

Discord in background to follow on the picnic in the foreground (Paul Schad-Rossa, Paradise, circa 1900; Wikimedia Commons, PD).

Identity-Protective Cognition: Science Finally Discovers Original Sin?!

Aquinas said something to this effect many times in his copious publications:The eternal Father's Word, comprehending all things in his immensity, in order to recall human beings weakened by sin to the height of divine glory, willed to become small by taking on our smallness, not by laying aside his majesty. He compressed the teaching on human salvation in a brief summary for the sake of those who are busy. Conveniently enough, this passage comes from his Compendium on Theology, which … [Read More...]

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B.B. and Franz: Drinking To Two Kings Who Died Yesterday

Everybody probably knows by now about B.B. King's death. Fewer of you might be aware that another member of our artistic royalty passed away on the same day: the Catholic poet Franz Wright. Franz too knew the blues. He paints them with Catholic imagery in such a way that it makes you see Catholicism in a new way. It also makes you look at your failings (or are they victories in weakness?) in a new way. His poetry is "complete community of fate with the lost," made all the more difficult … [Read More...]

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The Unholy Holiness of the Church Scandalizes Expectations of Purity

I feel responsible for purifying the minds of my readers from the defiling they experienced at the hands of Michael Novak's wayward analogy yesterday: the modern corporation as Isaiah's Suffering Servant (Man of Sorrows).If you haven't seen it, dare you look here?Jody Bottum's An Anxious Age came to my rescue with a quote from Cardinal Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity (by the way, a book banned upon its publication by Cardinal Wyszynski in Warsaw for being too liberal).I've ta … [Read More...]

The Man of Sorrows Frowns at the bourgeois world developing behind him just outside his window (Colijn de Coter, Christ as Isaiah's Man of Sorrows, circa 1500; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

I Give You the Single Lamest & Funniest Theological Analogy. Ever.

Omnis analogia claudicat.Analogies limp. I think Aquinas said that.Religious language, especially the Catholic imagination, relies upon analogies between creation and the Creator in order to explain the latter. Our language always fails in this endeavor, which is why theologians say it is lame, it limps.I'm going to moderate the discussion Consecrated: Life as a Religious (facebook event page link) at the UW Newman Center tomorrow.I suspect there will be something of a d … [Read More...]

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Seeking Silence: An Interview With Kevin M. Johnson

Kevin M. Johnson is founder and director of The Inner Room. Formed in the summer of 2008, The Inner Room is a Roman Catholic lay association focusing on Christian contemplation and continuing theological education that result in works of compassionate service in the world. The Inner Room is recognized by the Hartford archdiocese and is also a member of Pax Romana – an international Roman Catholic lay association recognized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity.Kevin received his M … [Read More...]

We'll be talking about a different heart today, but maybe not entirely? (Jose de Paez, Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga, circa 1770; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

Where in the Continent is the Heart of Europe?

Obsessively discussing the demise of Europe is one of the favorite preoccupations of those on the American far right. For them Europe is the heartless technocracy that they don't want in America. Whether is accurate is neither here nor there. Nor will we go into the heartlessness of America.Instead we'll take a look at a video by Norman Davies, the Oxford historian whom we tapped in our discussion of Soviet-Russia's indispensable role in winning World War II, a victory that undermines the … [Read More...]

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Greatest Generation? Russia Is Right, VE Day Was No Simple American Victory

Tom Brokaw's great myth-building volume, The Great Generation, seeped into the American consciousness a couple of decades ago. The book is an implicit indictment of the American present by comparison to the disinterested and unequivocally heroic efforts of the World War II generation.Everything in America has to be the greatest, so it's no surprise this book sold so well and then colored American perception of the past ever since. In classically American Evangelical fashion Brokaw describes … [Read More...]

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Just Another Atheist Jewish Catholic: An Interview With Damon Linker

 Damon Linker is a senior correspondent at TheWeek.com and a consulting editor at the University of Pennsylvania Press. In recent years, he has taught critical writing at Penn and worked as a senior editor at Newsweek/​The Daily Beast. Until December 2014 he was a contributing editor at The New Republic. Linker is the author of The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege and The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders. His essays and reviews have appeared in The … [Read More...]


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