Not only is losing a loved one is inconvenient, but for the immediate family members, it’s expensive. The grief that loss generates can seem like yet another burden to deal with on top of the arrangements and calculations that need to be made. Especially for those who have absorbed the utilitarian and technocratic mindset du jour, it does little to make the process move along more efficiently. The inconveniences of bills and funeral arrangements are easier to deal with than… Read more

Originally published at Traces Online On Good Friday, Christians across the world commemorate Jesus’ journey carrying the Cross through the streets of Jerusalem by engaging in public “Way of the Cross” spectacles. The spectacles we put on in New York City, in my own humble opinion, are exceptional. We New Yorkers have an acute sense of what it means to be a people “on the way.” We are always in transit, whether it be to work, to see someone we… Read more

This article was previously posted on my WordPress blog last August. The pastoral care of homosexual persons (people with SSA/LGBTQ…take your pick) has become a topic of increasing interest for many pastors, theologians, and ministers in the Church. This in part is a response to the secular culture’s push to embrace the normalcy of homosexuality, and has been further propelled forward by Pope Francis’ insistence on serving people living in irregular situations. Two recent books by Fr. James Martin SJ… Read more

This post is in memory of one of my former students who died in a car crash last weekend. To have faith is to be free, whereas freedom is the need for total satisfaction,  for a total answer or meaning. Because of this, you can see that a person who doesn’t seek anything,  that says “no,” that resists faith, lives a life full of meaninglessness, of negativity. This attitude is a premature death (as the medieval fathers called sin:  premature… Read more

This post is a response to a review of Jamie Quatro’s new novel “Fire Sermon” which appeared in the March 2018 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. Claire Dederer writes that Jamie Quatro’s spiritualization of erotic desire (or her “religious occupation”) in her new novel Fire Sermon “felt like a spit shine, a way of elevating the down-and-dirty material.” I wonder if she’s familiar with the centuries-old tradition of blurring the lines between eros and agape (Divine or unconditional love) in Christian theology… Read more

previously published on my WordPress blog in May 2017 Watching the scene in the Apostolic Palace last May was quite an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. What I loved most about seeing President Trump meet Pope Francis is that the implications of their encounter totally crack through our narrowly conceived categories of religion, politics, and culture. How do we package these two characters? They hardly fit into the boxes of ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ on which we’ve come to rely so heavily…. Read more

An open letter to my seniors about how porn educates us to (not) understand the value of other people, published by the Chastity Project: When we use others to satisfy our instinctual lusts, it’s as if our bodies are telling lies. Lies can impact not only our personal lives, but also impact society in serious ways. Look at the African slave trade. Human beings were reduced to objects: they were used for labor without compensation; they were bought and sold;… Read more

Every other month I lead a group of high school students down to a local train station to bring food to the homeless. I remind the students that we don’t go on Jesus Runs (as we affectionately call them) to do a good deed and “feel good about ourselves.” “Giving a homeless guy a sandwich is not going to make much of a difference in his life,” I interject. “‘OMG! My life is so much better now that I have… Read more

(L-R) Professor of Law Joseph Weiler, moderator John McCarthy, dean of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and Sayyid Mohammad Baqir al-Kashmiri, chairman of Imam Mahdi Marjaeya Association, partake in a dialogue on the role of Abraham in abrahamic religions. Photo by Nick Erickson The New York Encounter is an annual three-day public cultural event in the heart of New York City. Run by members of the lay… Read more

Pianist Andrea Domenici (left) and guitarist Philip Faconti (right) accompany Grammy-nominated Jonathan Hoard in gospel hymn commemorating the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Mary Sarah Ivers The New York Encounter is an annual three-day public cultural event in the heart of New York City. Run by members of the lay movement Communion and Liberation, the Encounter strives to witness to the new life and knowledge generated by the faith, following Pope Benedict’s claim that “the intelligence… Read more

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