The Facticity of the Church

Christianity went screaming into the Ancient World proclaiming not an ethic, not a philosophy, nor even really a religion, not even first a person, but simply a fact: that Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead.That Christianity rests entirely on a purely empirical claim--the person named Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead--is very important. It is an epistemological roll of the dice.It is also an assertion that something is the case. What Christianity asks is not that you evaluate t … [Read more...]

The First Rule Of Cardinal Fight Club Is…

The Synod on the Family is starting, and within that there is the drama of the question of communion for divorced-remarried Catholics, and within that there is the drama of the fight between cardinals Burke and Kasper. Balthasar was right: we are always in the theodrama!I join my Patheos co-bloggers in expressing astonishment at the utterly biased presentation of the issue by the Catholic(!) News Service. And I've already written about my views on the substance of the issue.I want … [Read more...]

The Idolatry of the Year Zero

It is common to the religious mind and, indeed, to the human mind, to harken back to some lost Golden Age, a past time of perfection, from which everything is a story of decline. Christians are not exempt. It is a common temptation of all Christians to try to set a Year 0 somewhere and view their religious mission as restoring this lost Paradise.Traditionalist Catholics put this Year 0 in 1955, or perhaps 1655 or 1255. Protestant Christians put their Year 0 in 1517, or some imaginary c. 100. … [Read more...]

What Does Being A Christian Warrior Mean?

In French Catholicism, every year, there is a thing called the Pilgrimage of the Family Fathers. It's exclusively for, well, fathers. Each participating parish puts a group together and they converge on a church in Paris, and then we all do a procession towards the Sacré Coeur.This year was the year after the massive French protests against same-sex marriage. The next bête noire of this movement was a plan by France's Socialist government to teach "gender studies" in school. Before we set out … [Read more...]

Whence Mimetic Desire?

As frequent readers will know, I am a follower of René Girard and his mimetic theory. (For the uninitiated, good summary by Joe Carter here.)Girard's theory starts with the concept of mimesis or mimetic desire: humans imitate each other (like animals, we are mimetic), and in particular we desire what others desire, and we learn to desire by imitating others.A question mark I've always had was what comes "behind" mimetic desire or, in other words, what is it that makes mimetic desire the f … [Read more...]