Wanted: Young Bishops

In our icons and stained glass windows and statues and portraits, Paul is always portrayed as an old man, with that famous bald plate and long beard. But when Paul was called on the road to Damascus, he was in his mid-twenties. We have almost no iconography of young Paul.I don't think it's unfair to say, speaking neutrally, that the Church hierarchy at present is a gerontocracy. Pope Francis is 77. Cardinal Maradiaga, head of the Pope's "G8" council of cardinals, is 72. Cardinal O'Malley is … [Read more...]

The Scandal of Wealth vs the Scandal of Poverty

Jacques Attali is one of, perhaps the most fascinating French intellectual alive, one of our few polymaths left, with enormously wide-ranging interests. Attali is an economist and a futurist with a keen interest in the history of ideas.While tooling around on YouTube, I found out that Attali gave a speech (in French) outlining his thesis on the origins of capitalism. As Attali tells it, as soon as you had organization, the state created the market to get its wealth (shades of Polanyi) but … [Read more...]

#TheologyOfWomen: The Prophetic Vocation

Famously, Pope Francis called for a better theology of women. This intersects with my interests, as I agree with him that there is much to do here, as John Paul II himself saw with his call for a "new feminism."In this regard, one idea has been nagging me and I submit here for purview. The three great anointed offices of the Old Testament, which culminate in Jesus and which we all receive by baptism, are that of king, priest and prophet.One word about the priestly vocation, first. When … [Read more...]

Preliminary Thoughts On Theological Aesthetics

Since I'm on a Balthasarian kick these days, it's impossible not to talk about the idea of theological aesthetics.Much of Balthasar's thought springs from the idea of the Beautiful as the "forgotten transcendental." Think of the three Great Transcendentals of classical Greek philosophy: the True, the Good and the Beautiful. Both theology and philosophy place great emphasis on the first two and tend to overlook the third. Balthasar's idea in writing a Theodramatik was precisely to give the Be … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving As The Meaning Of Life

I've already written about the meaning of morality as worship (coda). I've already written (maybe only in my mind?) about the meaning of our existence as self-donation in imitation of the Persons of the Trinity. If God is the very nature of Being itself, as Scripture and the Scholastics say, and if God is a self-giving union of Persons, then, as Ratzinger puts it, the nature of being itself is being-in-relation. But there is more. This relation between the Persons of the Trinity is not any relat … [Read more...]