Look At Your Sin


One of the most arresting scenes in Shakespeare's Hamlet is when Hamlet confronts his mother Gertrude with the image of her dead husband, and compares it with the image of Claudius, her new husband. Gertrude has committed a great sin: she has married Claudius before she was done grieving for her husband; and maybe, deep down, she does know or suspect that Claudius killed her husband but doesn't admit it to herself. Hamlet violently confronts her. Look here, upon this picture, and on this, The … [Read more...]

Book Review: Andy Crouch, “Playing God”


(Full disclosure: the author bought me a drink and gave me his book. I found him highly likeable personally, which obviously makes me reluctant to write mean things about his work.)Andy Crouch is well known in the US Evangelical world as a journalist, writer and speaker. His new(ish?) book is Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. The pitch is fairly straightforward: we as Christians have become afraid of using the word "power" and of thinking of ourselves as exercising power; but, we as … [Read more...]

Diocesan Ombuds(wo)men


The Church has a monarchical structure, quite explicitly. In our ecclesiology, the Pope is the King of the Church, the bishop is the king of his diocese, and the parish priest is king of his parish and the husband king of the family.This dates back to the beginnings of the Church: the images that Jesus uses to install Peter at the head of the college of the Apostles are regnal images. The "rock" refers to Abraham, the rock of Israel; the "keys" are the keys of the King's steward, who has the … [Read more...]

Male Headship in the Catholic Tradition


  Since we're on the topic of Catholic feminism, I want to take up this post that a friend recently tweeted, from the consistently interesting "Women in Theology" blog: "A Church that Changes". The overall argument of the piece is that male headship (or, rather, male headship as signifying female subjection) in marriage was an uninterrupted, affirmed teaching of the Tradition of the Church up until St John Paul II came along (oh, Paul, what hast thou wrought!); and, therefore, that the Church … [Read more...]

“Feminism” Is Not A Dirty Word For Catholics

Jeanne d'Arc au sacre du roi Charles VII, dans la cathedrale de Reims (1854)

There are some words that have become so loaded that it is very hard to use them to convey meaning. They have become Rorschach Tests--the receiver of the word reads his own fantasized meaning into it. They have become shibboleths--to use them, or reject them, is a sign of political or group affiliation. Using them derails the conversation because they elicit an emotional response. I call them totem-words.Take, in Catholic World, "Vatican II". You can be sure that when someone says "Vatican … [Read more...]