Pope Benedict, Creation, and Biblical Criticism

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My paper “The Word in Creation: The Ratzingerian Critique of the Historical-Critical Method and Its Application to the Creation Accounts” is up at Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Two of my preoccupations during my master’s studies were Creation (particularly the Augustinian understanding of Genesis) and the theology of Pope Benedict. This paper was where the two converged thanks to [Read More...]

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Understanding the Washing of the Feet

(Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

One of the most striking traditions of Holy Week is the washing of the feet at Holy Thursday mass. Once again, we are reenacting something Christ himself commanded us to do, and the somewhat awkward and uncomfortable way the tradition is performed at many modern masses does nothing to undercut the potent symbolism of the [Read More...]

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Embracing Mystery

Meditative mystical image of the Trinity, from the early 14th-century Flemish Rothschild Canticles, Yale Beinecke MS 404, fol. 40v.

We must not fear the unknown in our faith, but rather embrace it. There is no reason to be ashamed by the inscrutable aspects of God. Instead, we should point to these very mysteries as proof of His Being, for only when we stand in mystical awe do we truly experience the One worthy of [Read More...]

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The Days of Our Glory

ladyoflightandlife

Darkness is a fearsome thing: concealing, obscuring, bearing with it an almost tangible sense of oppression. The promise of the savior in Isaiah is nothing less than the promise to banish the darkness: the people who walked in darkness shall see a great light. What does the Psalmist tell us? I wait for the Lord, [Read More...]

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St. Thomas Aquinas Believed in Ghosts

St. Thomas Aquinas at Prayer

We’re coming up fast on Halloween, so I want to jump ahead a bit to see what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about ghosts. The section is found in the Summa Theologica, Supplementum Tertiæ Partis: Question 69. Matters concerning the resurrection, and first of the place where souls are after death, Article 3. Whether [Read More...]

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St. Augustine’s Rejection of Ghosts

Pope Benedict with the bones of St. Augustine

Our final look at Augustine’s theology of the dead comes from On the Care to be Taken For the Dead (De cura pro mortuis gerenda), written in 421 to Paulinus, Bishop of Nola. The text was a response to a question from Paulinus, and is quite touching in places. A woman had asked for her [Read More...]

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St. Augustine’s Ghost Story

The Devil and St Augustine Carlisle Cathedral

St. Augustine was the first Church Father to consider at length stories of ghostly apparitions that appeared in various strands of hagiography, legend, scripture, and eyewitness testimony. It’s not truly a “theology of ghosts,” but it’s a more developed consideration of the subject that anyone else, even Tertullian, had attempted, or indeed would attempt for centuries. Augustine [Read More...]

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St. Augustine’s Three Types of Vision [Ghosts and the Church]

Before we get down to St. Augustine’s thoughts on ghosts, I need to do some spadework by exploring his understanding of different ways of seeing. He explains this in On Genesis Literally Interpreted (De Genesi ad litteram), his sprawling twelve-part study that is one of his least-read major works. (Don’t confuse it with the minor, earlier [Read More...]

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