N.T. Wright On Paul

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that N.T. Wright is one of the most important theologians and Christian scholars alive today. I started “getting into” him because of his work on the Resurrection, and later discovered his work on Paul, which I find to be absolutely fascinating and rings true to me at every word (though that doesn’t mean much given my deep ignorance of all things biblical and theological). Wright’s work on Paul stretches out over many thousands… Read more

A Few Words About That Harvard Black Mass…

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad” – Matthew 5:11-12 “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34 “Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?'” – John 18:11 EDIT: UGH. I jumped the gun. This hasn’t been confirmed yet. I am waiting for confirmation…. Read more

Against Theodicy

Since I wrote “Against Justification” yesterday, I thought it would be fitting today to talk about one of my hobbyhorses, which is the way people talk about theodicy, or the problem of squaring the presence of evil in the world with a good God. It seems to me that we get this completely backwards. I mean, yes, at the intellectual level it’s an important topic to think about, and it’s good that these arguments are there (for myself, I’m completely… Read more

John Adams On The Catholic Mass

While looking for something else, I read that American Founding Father John Adams had made some disparaging comments about the Catholic Mass. I thought, hey, interesting, and looked them up. Here they are, in a letter to his wife: I am wearied to death with the life I lead. The business of the Congress is tedious beyond expression… This day I went to Dr. Allison’s meeting in the forenoon, and hear the Dr.; a good discourse upon the Lord’s supper…. Read more

Against Justification

Recently, there was a debate between various learned people about “The Future of Protestantism,” which I watched with interest. Although the (Roman Catholic) Church was not the main focus of discussion, it inevitably came up, and the participants agreed that the two main things separating Protestantism from Rome were the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. This was frustrating, because I view the issue of justification by faith as resolved since the (in)famous among… Read more

Once More On Communion And Divorced-Remarried

The always-excellent Ross Douthat does me the honor to respond to my post on the issue of communion for the divorced-remarried. (I posted that one Divine Mercy Sunday, which was fitting; today is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, make of that what thou wilt.) I can’t really do Ross’s post justice with a blockquote and I really encourage you to read it in full, but Ross’s argument basically boils down to these few points: Ross reiterates that the position of… Read more

A True Missionary Spirit

The first time the Tao Te Ching, the central text of Taoism, was translated into Western language was by a Catholic priest and missionary. A historical scholar I know showed me in his library an old edition of that translation, each page with three columns: Chinese, Latin and French. That’s how I read it, knowing of course no Classical Chinese, but going back and forth between French and Latin to try to grasp nuances (which were almost certainly invented by… Read more

Towards A Catholic Economic Anthropology (3) : Markets As Avenues For Co-Creative Service

In the previous column, we explored how Catholic economic theology needs to be rooted in scriptural anthropology, and specificially in the Genesis narratives. We found that the two important aspects of scriptural anthropology for our purposes, drawn from Genesis, are man’s sinful nature and his divine call to be co-creator. And we found that markets are the economic mode of organization best-suited to those characteristics. Markets work by and through our sinful nature, because they aggregate what little information we… Read more

A Good Metaphor For Evaluating Faith Claims

  Don’t ask me why (really), but I sort of ended up reading a few New Atheist polemics. Lent is over, so should self-mortification be. Anyway, the problem with New Atheism is that, before the God-argument, there is an epistemological argument. How can we know things, how can we investigate claims? Of course, the Ur-New Atheist framework is the framework of experimental science. Never mind that this framework, great though it is, is only suitable for a specific and narrow… Read more

Good Video On Homosexuality And The Church

My Patheos Catholic blog-pal Frank Weathers posted this video on Gay Catholic Whatnot. Overall, it’s really good. Watch: Some thoughts: First, out of what central casting office did they get the priest? Can I get one like that for my parish? Overall, this is truly excellent. If only for the production values. Lord deliver us from earnest Christian shlock! This is exquisitely produced, and it’s a virtue in and of itself. It really is good overall, faithful to the Catechism–the whole… Read more


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