New Distributism 4 — Why The Church Needs A Prophetic Economic Voice

I am writing a series of columns on Catholic social doctrine. Here’s all of them. – In my previous column, I argued that in formulating its social doctrine, the Church should focus on two main modes of action : on the one hand, a relentless empiricism and, on the other, a prophetic voice. The empiricism is the product of the Church’s Tradition, which sees man’s rational nature as part of its Divine image, and God’s law inscribed in His good creation,… Read more

Everything In The Gospels Is About The Mass

I’m a very very beginning exegete, and the sort of Exegesis 101 rule for the Old Testament that they give you is “Everything in the Old Testament is about Jesus.” I’d like to propose a new Biblical exegesis 101 rule: everything in the Gospels is about the Mass. I mean, just off the top of my head: The Prodigal Son. Everybody knows in the parable of the Prodigal Son you have the father who is the God-figure, and the two… Read more

Some Points About Homophobia And The Church

I wrote a post this week that made the following points: The Magisterium of the Catholic Church says that unjust discrimination against homosexual persons is sinful; A number of laws debated or passed recently in a number of countries represent unjust discrimination against homosexual persons; The authorities of the Catholic Church have been, at least in some cases, lukewarm and equivocal in their opposition to such laws; The authorities of the Catholic Church should be outspoken and unequivocal in their… Read more

New Distributism 3 — Suggestions For A Praxis For The Church’s Social Doctrine

I am writing a series of columns on Catholic social doctrine. Here’s all of them. (Note: the series starts with criticism of the status quo, but it gets better, don’t worry.) – In my previous column, I pointed to what I see as a significant problem in much contemporary religious talk about economics, which I dubbed aestheticism: condemning or praising arrangements, neither on the basis of sound empirical judgement, nor on the basis of the Gospel, but simply on the basis… Read more

“Nostra Aetate” Is Latin For “Great Artists Steal”

The Vatican II document Nostra Aetate is primarily remembered as being addressed to the Jews, and its importance in that regard cannot be overstated, but its importance is actually even broader, in that it recognizes that, to use the Catechism’s phrase, “elements of sanctification and truth” exists outside the (visible) Catholic Church. This throws some Traditionalists in conniptions, as it seems to all-but endorse relativism, but this has always seemed to me to miss the point. If you ask a… Read more

The Church Must Speak With One Strong Voice Against Homophobia

  “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are… Read more

Protestantism And A Human Understanding Of Time

Sorry for being a little polemical but if y’all know me y’all know I can’t help it. When I played fantasy apologetical debates in my head–as one does–the other day, I was struck by the fact that many Protestant doctrines (i.e. “errors”) are in fact the result of having a human, rather than divine, understanding of time. We humans experience time one-dimensionally. But we know for a fact that time is not actually one-dimensional; and to God, certainly, it isn’t…. Read more

“You Cannot Steal Sheep If The Shepherd Is Doing His Job”

For some reason, I happened upon this PBS segment on Episcopalians joining the Catholic Church. As a Catholic, and one who thinks the personal ordinariates are a stroke of genius by Benedict, which will bear much fruit, this was a feel-good moment. At one point in the story, a woman from one of the Episcopal congregations which joined the Church is asked about “sheep-stealing,” and said: “You cannot steal sheep if the shepherd is doing his job.” At first I… Read more

New Distributism 2 — Mistakes To Avoid For Theologians Talking About Economics

I am writing a series of columns on Catholic social doctrine. Here’s all of them. (Note: the series starts with criticism of the status quo, but it gets better, don’t worry.) — In my previous column, I articulated what in my view is the most important critique of most current Catholic thinking on economics : to put it simply, a lack of imagination. I maintain that to say this is the opposite of a surface critique—it is a fundamental critique…. Read more

Fasting As Poetry

I’m Catholic. I’m French. It won’t surprise you that food and drink have a big part in my life. And, of course, this is wholly in accord with the Gospel. We have been baptized as priests, which means we are called upon to divinize the world (this is what sacraments do). Jesus gave Himself to us as food and drink–food that is given to us by the Earth of the Lord’s good creation, but passes through men’s work before it… Read more


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