Today’s Aquinas: Natural Theology in a Nutshell

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Chapter 35 of Thomas’ Compendium Theologiae is a nutshell summary of everything that has gone before: From all the details of doctrines thus far discussed, we can gather that God is one, simple, perfect, and infinite, and that He understands and wills. All these truths are assembled in a brief article of our Creed, wherein we profess to believe “in one God, almighty.” For, since… Read more

Arriving at Amen: An Interview with Leah Libresco

Leah Libresco, of the Unequally Yoked blog here at Patheos, has written a book entitled Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer.  I hope to offer a full review of Leah’s book sometime in the next week or so (capsule summary: I liked it); in the meantime I’ll just say that Leah’s unique—I might say inimitable—take on certain common Catholic prayers and devotions will cause you to see them in a new light, and perhaps understand… Read more

Puttin’ on the Ritz in Fits: Fred Astaire meets Gene Wilder

Because these things make me smile, here are two famous performances of Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. First, let’s have Fred Astaire: Next, of course, Gene Wilder and Froderick Fronkensteen’s Monster: And for those of you who just can’t enough, here’s the original performance, sung by Harry Richman in the movie of the same name: Finally, here’s Mr. Astaire again, with some interesting…augmentation…by Club de Belugas. The additions are occasionally jarring, but the video shows off Astaire’s dancing quite… Read more

The Dogmat: Preaching, Double Spaces, and Unfair Readings to Kids

The Dogmat saw quite a lot this week: on preaching, the post-mortem accessibility of double-spaces, the inhumanity of reading to your kids, and What Would Patsy Do? Preaching: What Works? Why Does it Matter?: Jen Fitz tells us some things the Dogmat thinks we really ought to keep in mind while preaching the Gospel. You Can Have My Double Space When You Pry it From My Cold, Dead Hands: The Dogmat favors fixed pitch fonts, and is glad that others… Read more

Ngaio Marsh: Night at the Vulcan

Night at the Vulcan, also published as Opening Night, is the sixteenth of Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn mysteries, and yet another set in the world of the theater; I had forgotten how many of these there were.  I had almost completely forgotten it, and found it enchanting on re-acquaintance.  The only problem with it is that it isn’t terribly satisfying considered strictly as a mystery; there’s a little too much deus ex machine about the conclusion. The tale concerns the… Read more

What’s the Good of Christianity? And Does it Matter?

Last week I opined that the question of what religion is good for is the wrong question; the question is whether a religion is true or not. It doesn’t matter a bit whether religion (in the broader sense) is good for anything if it isn’t true.  If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn’t exist, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is a lie and a sham and unworthy of practice, and ought to be… Read more

Today’s Aquinas: No Magic Bullets for Belief

Occasionally I’m asked what arguments I have that prove that Christianity is true, as if there were a perfect argument for the Christian God so lucid in its rationality that the most hardened atheist could not help but accept it after a few moments’ perusal.  (I exaggerate, but, I think, not by much.)  The trouble is, there is no such argument for any proposition, of any kind, in any field.  The closest we come is basic plane geometry, in the… Read more

Old Blind Dogs: A Man’s a Man For A’ That

I’m in the mood for some Old Blind Dogs this week; so here’s Bobbie Burns set to music and sung and played most beautifully. If you’ve any taste for this kind of folk music, you really ought to give the whole album a listen. Read more

The Dogmat is Watching You

And O! the things the Dogmat has seen in the last week! 7 Hand Gestures That Make You Look Like a Real Intellectual. Alas, most of them don’t work with paws. Fluffy Kitty Slippers and The Papal Nuncio. Not on the Nuncio, mind you—on the little girl the Nuncio is speaking to. Can they say that on Catholic radio? The Visitation Project can. Speaking of Rebecca French, Simcha Fisher has the scoop on Rebecca’s new radio show. Personal Discipleship &… Read more

What’s Religion Good For?

Recently Patheos had a forum on what Religion is good for, which I did not have time to participate in. But it’s an important question, and since I have Views I wanted to write about it anyway. “What is Religion good for?” is an important question because it’s entirely the wrong question. The word “religion” stems from a Latin word meaning “binding”, and in its most narrow sense refers to those practices and actions we are “bound” to undertake in… Read more


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