Childlike Wonder in a Misbegotten World

Things are picking up speed here on Cosmos. Books are pouring in for review. This means I'll be lurching away from the sorts of pop culture posts that were trending last week on this blog. I'll only say that what's coming around the bend is something on theology and neuroscience.The most noteworthy book to come in is the following long-awaited Czeslaw Milosz biography by Andrzej Franaszek, which has the authoritative title Milosz: A Biography: Andrzej Franaszek’s award-winning biography of C … [Read More...]

The Young Pope: The Second Coming of Brideshead Revisited?

In many ways, The Young Pope is the second coming of Brideshead Revisited.In the place of a millionaire with a teddy bear, we have a Pope with a pet kangaroo. Charles Ryder drinks champagne every afternoon; Lenny Belardo downs a Cherry Coke Zero every morning. The stately spires of Oxford have given way to the sumptuous splendor of Rome. And Papa Belardo can be as savagely witty as Waugh himself.[NOTA BENE: many of the links in this post lead to YouTube videos to give you an … [Read More...]

February 14th is a Very Problematic Holiday For Many

Derrida liked to gleefully disseminate the news that the ancient Greek word for medicine (pharmakon) also means poison. Hearing that over and over in grad school got old quickly. It seemed like one of those nihilistic postmodernist word tricks (yay, you have a Greek dictionary!). But then I learned from Rene Girard that it can also be a scapegoat. Right about that same time, all unbeknownst to me (and you), the pharmaceutical industry was in the process of marketing an opiate epidemic to us. … [Read More...]

The Stanford Memorial Resolution for René Girard

René Girard was one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century. Catholics tend to get so caught up in their narratives of decline that they don't realize he was one of them.We have a bit of a scoop here in this post, because Girard's memorial resolution still hasn't been published on Stanford's memorial resolution website.The memorial resolution was delivered by Robert Harrison (known for my favorite podcast Entitled Opinions), and written by him and Girard's biographer Cynthia Ha … [Read More...]

Lady Gaga: The Super Bowl’s Muse of Nationalist Catholicism

Catholicism isn't in decline in the United States. It is as loud and up-front as it has ever been in literature and political life.I attempted to present the Catholicism of alt-right bête noire Milo Yiannopoulos. Now it's the turn of the left with Superbowl halftime performer and pop-LGBT-activist Lady Gaga.She was outed last year in The Jesuit Post as a Catholic (at least this was news to me) by a Polish Jesuit whose last name is almost identical to mine:Yes, that’s Gaga, weari … [Read More...]

What Does Greek Philosopher Socrates Have to do with the Christian Saints?

 The old question from Tertullian's Prescription Against the Heretics is "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" Tertullian's full formulation is even more stark in drawing the battle lines: What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart." Away with all … [Read More...]

Alt-Right Bête Noire Milo Yiannopoulos is an Aquinas-quoting Catholic

The news of the violent Berkeley riots that canceled the promotion of alt-right bête noire Milo Yiannopoulos' forthcoming book Dangerous is probably trickling down to you.Berkeley News reports:Amid an apparently organized violent attack and destruction of property at UC Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, the UC Police Department (UCPD) determined it was necessary to evacuate controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos from campus and to cancel his scheduled 8 p.m. event. T … [Read More...]

The Left Has Magically Discovered Religious Freedom!

Religious freedom as it actually functions in American politics is a very ambivalent issue. More often than not, the historical application of religious freedom leads to limiting the exercise of real-existing religions. I'm very skeptical about religious freedom, because freedom of religion isn't free.You can read here in more detail why I think it might be expedient for Catholics and other groups to divest themselves from tax exemptions and the restrictive laws on religious freedom that … [Read More...]

Why is the Trump Administration’s Executive Order Muslim Ban Forcing a Constitutional Crisis?

You too might be exhausted by the constant slacktivism on social media. It lacks and depth and leads to little real change. Yet, paradoxically, the more the latter becomes apparent the cliques click on the internet. I happen to think the world needs contemplative prayer now more than ever.It's not my job to get involved in these border skirmishes, even though I sometimes cannot resist strategic trolling of both Democrats and Republicans like Pope Francis has done in his reading of Matthew 25 … [Read More...]

An Immigration Lawyer Explains the “Extreme Vetting” of the Current Refugee Process

The Washington Post reports on the Trump administration's planned executive order on immigration vetting: The Trump administration plans to start vetting would-be immigrants and visitors to the United States based partly on their opinions and ideology, and will immediately cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, according to a draft executive order leaked Wednesday to civil rights advocates and obtained by The Washington Post.The order, if enacted, would signal the b … [Read More...]