Will the Poor Always Be with Us?

It’s not uncommon, when you’re someone interested in “social justice,” to have this pericope thrown at you: Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at [Read More…]

The First Are Always Last

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last. (Matthew 20:16) A lot hinges on “will.” Here we have a future tense verb, an implication that, in some distant time, probably in Heaven, but maybe sooner, the first will get their comeuppance even as the last trot into their rightful place. Excuse [Read More…]

Catholicism is Struggle

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, etc. I have the pleasure of taking part in an ecumenical discussion group for Christian graduate students from universities across the United States. Several of us are Catholics, there’s an Anglican or two, some other Protestants—all in all a good mix. In particular, yesterday, we discussed the Catholic Reformation [Read More…]

Pray at Your Own Peril

When I first began practicing the Faith (poorly), I printed out some Bible verses during Lent so that I could put them up on my wall. My choice was, to say the least, odd. And yet, revisiting these words a few years later, I cannot feel that there are any more appropriate for Lent. I [Read More…]

The Nothingness of Lent

Lent, East and West, begins with a supposition: we are broken beings in need of forgiveness. Whether it’s the eponymous ashes of the coming Wednesday or the forsaking of meat, dairy, and everything else worth eating practiced by others, the Lenten Season is intended to enjoin repentance among us. And repentance presupposes a need for [Read More…]

Being Forgiven

Last night the deacon’s homily emphasized the reciprocal nature of forgiveness: we forgive so that we ourselves may be forgiven. Without question, this is a beautiful sentiment. But we typically only understand it in one direction: if I forgive others, I will be forgiven by the Lord, my god. Again, lovely, and probably the hardest [Read More…]

Our Daily Bread

Not the Eucharist. I recall being in third grade, given an assignment to visualize the “Our Father;” particularly, we were told to write individual lines from the prayer on construction paper, weaved ‘round with depictions of their content. “Our Father, who art in heaven” might have yielded a smiling, bearded man looking down from on [Read More…]

Empty Traditionalism

Whoever is versed in the jargon does not have to say what he thinks, does not even have to think it properly. The jargon takes over this task. – Theodor Adorno This is not a hit job. A hit job would be un-critical defamation of “Traditionalist” philosophy, a takedown with no advice, the always-stale, but [Read More…]

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The Sensuous Catholic Body

This one will be short, because my point is singular: American Catholics must avoid the Protestantization of the body. This is a pressing concern for me because I’ve met so many (especially young) Catholics who feel a need to give up everything upon entering the Church, as if all things were unclean for the Christian [Read More…]

A Catholic Leftism?

Lots of people seem to think the “Catholic Left” is a contradiction in terms. Surely some 19th-century bishops looked with suspicion upon socialists, social democrats, and the like who peopled their flocks. Today a portion of U.S. Catholics bandy about the word “Leftist” to the point of near total confusion. From Hillary Clinton to Bernie [Read More…]

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