Class 3 Relics

I'm a fan of the Irish sitcom "Father Ted," an extremely irreverent (and yet sometimes touching) sitcom about three incredibly unholy Irish Catholic priests.One episode turns on the fact that a local relic is going to be "upgraded from a class 3 relic to a class 2 relic" which sounds like the kind of hyper-Catholic thing you might imagine. When I watched it I thought the screenwriters made up the idea of numbered classes of relic, but then I later found out that there are, in fact, classes o … [Read more...]

Fred Clark Digs Deeper

Fred Clark, the Patheos Progressive Christian who delivered himself of a bizarre rant against a column I wrote on the history of Christian sexual ethics, perseveres.I responded to his rant by pointing out that nowhere in it does he actually engage with anything I actually wrote. In his followup, Clark's point is, essentially, that he doesn't have to, because I am a fundamentally dishonest person and, therefore, I guess, don't deserve the basic decency and ground rules that all civilized p … [Read more...]

A Good Example Of A Missed Opportunity

I've stumbled upon this story: Catholic University of America banned (on the day of!) a screening of Milk, the biopic of gay rights activist and pioneer Harvey Milk.CUA cited a campus policy banning "events that advocate for positions contrary to Catholic teaching." You can certainly argue that the screening would fall under that. But you can also certainly argue that it wouldn't.One of the most striking Biblical themes is God's ability to write straight in crooked lines, to take suf … [Read more...]

Natural Family Planning & Theology of the Body, 17th Century Style


St Francis de Sales, take it away: “The elephant, not only the largest but the most intelligent of animals, provides us with an excellent example. It is faithful and tenderly loving to the female of its choice, mating only every third year and then for no more than five days, and so secretly as never to be seen, until, on the sixth day, it appears and goes at once to wash its whole body in the river, unwilling to return to the herd until thus purified. Such good and modest habits are an example … [Read more...]

Thiel And Strange Gods

The great and lovely James K. A. Smith has what I must call a frankly bizarre review of Peter Thiel's book Zero to One. A philosophically well-grounded Christian, and an innovative thinker, Thiel provides much grist to the mill of Christian thinkers.Smith's accusation against Thiel is that he is a proponent of an ideology or heresy called "startupism." According to Smith, this has four planks, and Thiel exhibits them. Frankly, I don't see how else to get that other than from an uncharitable r … [Read more...]