I have just finished the Netflix anime series Violet Evergarden, which looks at the life of a brutally efficient and seemingly emotionless former solder with a fierce dedication to her former major, who was her mentor and only friend. Following the war, Violet tries to settle back into civilian life as a ghost writer for hire – an “auto memory doll” –  travelling through the land with her typewriter and writing letters and plays for royalty and commoner alike. The driving… Read more

Last Sunday, the Archdiocese of Sydney celebrated the bicentennial of the preservation of the blessed sacrament at what is now the site of St. Patrick’s church at the Rocks in Sydney. The bicentennial marked the time when, after the prohibition of Catholic practice in the colony of New South Wales, the last priest in the colony, just before his expulsion by the government, purposely left the Eucharistic host open in a private home for veneration by the colony’s Catholic faithful…. Read more

At the end of the anime series Berserk 2017, viewers would finally have an explanation of the association between the title and its iron slab/sword wielding protagonist, Guts. So just so you know, there are spoiler alerts. In earlier story arcs, Guts is a mercenary who in battle after battle, demonstrates an ability to defy the virtually-divine law governing the movements of his universe: the laws of causality. This would come in handy too, seeing that Guts’ main antagonist is himself a… Read more

As a creature of habit, I do not like surprises. I like the routine and the predictability. I like knowing when my train arrives, when a task can be feasibly completed, when I can expect to return home to make dinner, and so on. Big changes are scary and often dealt with by padding new routines around them, like a calendar’s version of a burrito. Very often, however, the routine can get to me. I become irritated by the predictability… Read more

Dr Anne Carpenter, an assistant professor of Theology at St. Mary’s College and a fellow Patheos Catholic blogger (follow her work on The Rule and the Raven), put up a post the other day that drew attention to a beautiful quote by St. Irenaeus of Lyon that I, to my shame, had not come across before. Drawing on the image of God as the potter and us as the clay, Irenaeus returns to the topic of our status as creature, but… Read more

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a link between the electronic dance music genre and themes of transcendance. I wrote then that of all music genres I frequently listen to, “it is the most upfront in bringing in the vocabulary of soul, redemption, transcendence, eternity, light and darkness familiar to many believers, including many Christians”. What comes out in particular is the secular version of an eschatological horizon, which is played out in one of my favourite tracks in this… Read more

  In his A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, Josef Pieper wrote on the virtue of silence in this way: Since reason is nothing else than the power to understand reality, then all reasonable, sensible, sound, clear and heart-stirring talk stems from listening silence. Thus all discourse requires a foundation in the motherly depth of silence. Otherwise speech is sourceless: it turns into chatter, noise and deception…Talk…sets its roots downward into the nourishing soil of silence. Pieper contrasts… Read more

We are now entering the Triduum, to celebrate the passion of Jesus Christ. …celebrate… How is it possible to celebrate the events leading up to his death on Golgotha, one of, if not the, most brutal tragedy in the history of man? For those of us who have had tough Lents, for whom certain realisations of their character or some phase of suffering have left them feeling very raw – for those of us in the Body of Christ that… Read more

A colleague’s wife noticed that I had on my shelf A Distant Prospect, a novel set in 1920s Sydney, written by my friend Annette Young. To my shame, it was one of a long line of books that I had bought, put on the shelf and had intended to read before sidelining it for reading more related to work. After a few years of delay, I finally picked it up and cracked it open. The novel looks at the life of… Read more

I have been kindly invited by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America to write a feature contribution to an upcoming edition of Humanum Review. Humanum Review looks at an issue each year, around which book reviews and articles orbit. When I first came across the journal a few years ago, I read an excellent article reviewing the literature on the children of divorce. Their current issue looks at the topic… Read more

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