Quick Bulletpoints on the #Synod14 Relatio

The Synod on the Family just released a working document. It is, emphatically, just a working document intended to stir discussion, not a final statement of anything. And boy, stirring discussion it is.A proleptic remark, perhaps. The Church is still reeling from the Damage of the '70s. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people, including in the high ranks of the Church, who have contempt for orthodoxy and the Magisterium. The fact of the matter is that a typical modus ope … [Read more...]

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...]