Anúna: Choral Music with an Edge

When I posted some songs in Gaelic a few weeks ago, Joseph Susanka pointed out an alternate version of "Fionnghuala" by a choral group called Anúna. I'd heard it before, and it's amazing (be sure to turn up the volume):Anúna is an Irish choral group, exploring older traditional Irish music (i.e., not pub tunes). "Fionnghuala", for example, is a figure from Irish mythology, being one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Another Irish tune I've known for years (in Clannad's version) is "Dúlamán"; an … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Evening Dress

Monkey Typing

It was definitely evening dress. You couldn’t get away with it in daylight.— Terry Pratchett, in The Fifth Elephant, describing Sergeant Detritus' idea of evening wear. The quote continues, "The troll looked like a wall with a bow tie." … [Read more...]

Spiritual Engineering


People have the notion that Christians are control freaks. We want to tell you how to live, and what you should do, and take all of your freedom away. And certainly there are Christians like that. (Pick any sin you like, there are Christians who exemplify it—and that's no surprise, it's just what you'd expect if you understand Christian teaching.)But really, we aren't meant to be control freaks. At our best, we should have no desire to tell others just exactly how they should live.T … [Read more...]

CT 3.1, The Existence of God


Continuing my series on Aquinas; find the rest here.Now, preliminaries settled, we dive into the deep end. Chapter 3 of the Compendium Theologiae begins,Regarding the unity of the divine essence, we must first believe that God exists. This is a truth clearly known by reason.In dealing with truths known by revelation, Thomas proceeds in one of two ways. Some of these revealed truths can also be known by reason; and these he attempts to prove. Others can be known only by … [Read more...]

Five Years of Patheos #Patheos5Yrs

Lion roaring

Patheos is celebrating its fifth anniversary, which is more like its 35th anniversary in dog years.I don't recall when I first became aware that Patheos was a thing, but it was probably around the time the Anchoress moved her blog there. I didn't read the Anchoress much then; she seemed to write mostly about political issues that bored me, but once in a while I'd follow an interesting link over to her blog.And then, one after another, other blogs I'd been reading for years began to make … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Truth Requires Love-in-Action

Heart Nebula

In paragraph 27 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis looks at the relationship between truth and love. The pope has compared faith in Christ to falling in love; and many of us might think that falling in love is no guarantee of truth. On the contrary, the one who has fallen in love cannot see clearly. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was right there:For Wittgenstein, believing can be compared to the experience of falling in love: it is something subjective which cannot be proposed as a truth valid … [Read more...]

A Question of Values


This was first posted in October of 2004, about events that occurred around 1980.When I was junior in high school a fire in the mountains above our house threatened to make us evacuate, and my mother sent me to my room to pack, just in case. She warned me that we couldn't take everything. So I grabbed a brown paper grocery bag and went to my room and into it I placed that which I valued most—my Tolkien books. I had a boxed set of paperback copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ( … [Read more...]

A New Phone Scam?


We've been getting a new kind of phone call recently; we've gotten I've answered at least five of them over the last couple of weeks, and I believe Jane has answered some as well. I pick up the phone, and say "Hello?" There's a pause, and a brief ring, and then a voice with a strong Indian accent comes on:"Hello, this is Mark, from the Virus Control Center. I'm calling about your home computer, which is under attack. Hackers are breaking into your home computer."And I thought to … [Read more...]

The Mystery of Service


This month's post at CatholicMom concerns the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: the Visitation, or, as I often think of it, the Mystery of Service. Enjoy! … [Read more...]