Bishop Tobin of Providence is in the news for a recent tweet about the Catholic Church’s stance on female presbyters, abortion, and married priests. Yes, I did just write “married priests” in the same sentence as the other two. This merits attention. In part because it caused a bit of a Twitter debacle; in part, because it reflects something Eastern Catholics know too well: the Latin Church’s penchant for forgetting its non-Roman brethren. He effectively equates things we know as… Read more

I have spent some time lately reflecting on particular words—a short phrase really. Brevity brings with it great power, condensing meaning, demanding attention with its pithiness. Perhaps this is why we like to pull quotations from writers (excerpted sometimes way out of context). It might be why poetry holds such sway over so many. Who doesn’t know what a wheelbarrow looks like? Yet who wouldn’t rather hear one described by William Carlos Williams? Which words have I been meditating on… Read more

Pope Francis has become notorious for (among other things) his comments on “rigid” Catholics. Unsurprisingly, this has invited speculation from some very happy to applaud what they see as a turn against a traditionalism wistfully nostalgic for the “good old days” before Vatican II. As one (rather-balanced) piece by Timothy Kirchoff puts it: I have been pondering this statement since I first read it. I wondered whether I was the sort of person he had in mind. Was I a… Read more

I recently saw someone break American Catholics down into two categories: liberal and conservative. The former, he said, see all things through the lens of God’s mercy; the latter interpret life through the lens of repentance. According to him, both of these approaches are lacking and a third must be propounded. I can’t say I much agree with his classification (I think there are a lot of other sorts of Catholics in the US, and I wouldn’t say “mercy” and… Read more

At this point, “Gnosticism” is as much an accusation as a philosophy, a way anyone might identify him- or herself. Still, if contemporary writers are to be believed, everything from Jordan Peterson’s Jungianism, to New Age spiritualities, to Scientism are forms of a revived Gnosticism; the word does a lot of work. While I have my opinions on these ideas, I’m not terribly interested in how “gnostic” they are. Rather it seems to me (perhaps much like in the early… Read more

May First means many things. In England, it means May Poles and dancing.  For Latin Catholics, it signifies the beginning of the month of Mary, a celebration (complete with crowning, flowers, and singing) of the Queen of Heaven. And beyond these, for Leftists the world over the first of May means protests, a day of targeted unrest, channeling the fights carried on year round into one day of loud dissatisfaction. I see symbolic power in the coincidence of International Workers’… Read more

How short our span! If you once realized how brief, you would refrain from causing any beast or man the smallest grief, the slightest pain. – Angelus Silesius These lines from Silesius have got me thinking, thinking about something that seems to come and go from my life. It’s a kind of constant disappointment. “Why did he have to react like that?” “Why couldn’t she treat me the way I needed to be treated on such a bad day?” “I… Read more

“Materialism” is said in many ways, almost all bad according to contemporary Christians. Sometimes it means “vanity” or “consumerism.” Otherwise, it can mean “atomism” or “Epicureanism.” In other contexts, the word denotes “the evils of modern philosophy, emphasizing the material realm, ignoring the spiritual. It’s the second usage I’d like to discuss (all too briefly) in this post. Taken in this sense, materialism is good. In fact, it’s the most responsible position for a Christian to take today (again—I’m at… Read more

Here, by “Eastern Christianity” I mean mostly “Byzantine Christianity,” what most people know through Eastern Orthodoxy, or, if they’ve had the joy of finding them, the various Byzantine-Rite Catholic Churches. There is, after all, a set of Churches known by the common tag “Oriental Orthodox.” It might make sense to think about them as “Orientalized” in one way or another. That, however, is not my goal here. In part, because I don’t know as much about them, but, more importantly,… Read more

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