Thomas Aquinas, by Denys Turner

Thomas Aquinas, by Denys Turner, might be the best book on Thomas Aquinas that I've yet seen. It's a book about Thomas the man, Thomas the saint, and only secondarily about Thomas the philosopher and theologian. The author says,It is a profile sketched out in thin strokes of the pen, exaggerating a few features out of all proportion and omitting many more altogether. It is therefore a caricature. But caricatures do not always distort. At best they reveal the prominent features of a … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Cooperation

Looked at one way, the interior life is a long series of repairs. We are broken people in so many ways, we fall so far short of the perfection God has in mind for us; and as we grow in the interior life these things slowly get fixed.I wrote this post in the middle of a long kitchen remodel; and perhaps not coincidentally, it occurred to me that growing in the interior life is less like being a handyman and playing Mr. Fix-It in your own home, and more like hiring a contractor to remodel … [Read more...]

Mere Catholicism

So Elizabeth Scalia welcomed me to Patheos on her blog a couple of days ago, and quoted my post "Righteously Bad Theology." One of her readers left a rather cryptic comment on her post:wonderful selection, I'm Catholic patheos is taking the progressive approach...I'm assuming that some word like "glad" or "pleased" or "happy" was omitted between the words "I'm" and "Catholic", in which case the reader is assuming that I'm going to be a progressive voice at Patheos. I think this would … [Read more...]

The Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: The Chasuble Project

The Chasuble Project's unique style of liturgical music, based on a unique fusion of Gregorian chant, vernacular texts, and modern jazz, has gotten them attention from music directors from all over the Catholic world. The Project's mass settings are scored for schola and jazz combo, the combo usually consisting of jazz piano, electric bass, and drum set; however, their more experimental settings have included everything from crumhorns* to dual electric xylophones. Albums include The Birth of … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Grace

Pursuing the interior life—a life of holiness—is not easy, but fortunately God doesn't leave us to our own resources. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, when we think of God that means that God's calling us. More than that, He gives us the help we need in the form of grace...which term basically means "the help that we need that God gives us."To put it another way, you can't get to know God on your own; He's got to be part of the process.God is free to give grace to anyone He pleases, an … [Read more...]

St. Benedict for Moms

If I were not a Lay Dominican, I'd probably be a Benedictine Oblate. Benedictines are all about stability: choosing to live in one monastery, with one set of people, and learning to live with each other. Benedictines don't get to move on when there's trouble; they have to stay. Me, I live with five other people whom I have spent years learning to live with, and we're all living in the house I grew up. I get stability. And then Benedictines are all about prayer and work, and for Benedictines … [Read more...]

Spiritual and Religious

I saw a post on Facebook today from a friend whom I believe would describe herself as "spiritual but not religious". It was a meme with a quote from a woman named Anita Moorjani, who I know absolutely nothing about. But this is what she said:I now understand that I don't have to work at being spiritual. Being spiritual is who we are, at our core, whether we realize it or not. It is our true nature, so we cannot NOT be spiritual! Being yourself and being spiritual are one and the same … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: The Dogmatics

Los Angeles-area group The Dogmatics are a straight-up no-nonsense rock-and-roll oldies cover-band. They claim to play only the best, most classic rock-and-roll hits; and their chief distinction is their skill at performing them with perfect fidelity to the best known recordings. Not content to impersonate just Elvis Presley or just the Beatles, they impersonate all the greats, one song at a time, live on-stage. At one of their shows you might hear them perform "I Heard It Through The … [Read more...]

How to Grow Up

You never really learn something on first exposure. You have to see it twice...and the easiest way to learn it all the way down to the bone is to teach it to someone else. As the Anchoress points out, this applies to growing up just as much as it does to math and science: if you want to grow up, raise some children.It's this more than anything else that makes it clear to me that clerical and religious celibacy is a true calling. A celibate priest has no biological children (at least, not … [Read more...]