A Shepherd Must Be

The man who writes longhand, Pope Benedict XVI, has a Twitter account. Eight of them, to be exact. Maybe more? @Pontifex, in every tongue. What will he say? What will he Tweet? Will he type? What? Questions create hashtags: irreverent, obscene, loathing, adoring, pious, honest, curious, silly, cute and clever. Asking, ridiculing, wondering, defending. Why would he come here, to this wild place? Why dwell in virtual reality, this projection, this wastebasket for time and thought? What brings such … [Read more...]

Haw Wins: Pagan Christianity and the New Apologetics

In my recent reflection on James Wellman's book on Rob Bell, I tried to steer away from dismissing Bell altogether. I tried to be generous without being dishonest. I'm not sure if I did that, but I was left with an aloof sense that I didn't really have my say. "Oh well, no need to always be so critical." I moved on to my next book assignment: From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart. In it, I found nothing less than a complete take-down of the religious fads that Rob Bell and others have come to … [Read more...]

Dos Amores: Primordial e Universal

San Agustín nos enseña: “nemo est qui non amet” --- “nada es lo que no ama.” Este dicho tan profundo nos revela un amor mas que amoroso. En realidad se trata de dos amores y su orden: el amor primordial y el amor universal.El amor primordial es la primera y ultima condición para la posibilidad del mundo, del universo, de todo; el amor que contiene y mantiene al toda existencia. El amor universal es el amor que, como semilla bajo tierra, se puede encontrar en todo lo que es. Es decir, el amor un … [Read more...]

Two Notre Dame Rebuttals

My post yesterday defending Notre Dame produced a mostly interesting comment box --- including some classic Petrine wit. I also received several e-mails, all of them very thoughtful and honest, regardless of their opinion on the matter. As a result, I realize that I ended up casting too wide a net, trapping fish I never intended to catch, and also weaving a net with too wide a mesh, conveniently letting certain fish pass through that perhaps do not deserve it.And then there is this: Sycamore … [Read more...]

Notre Dame and Its Rather Silly Catholic Malcontents

Notre Dame is the premiere Catholic institution of higher education and research in the United States of America. Period. I don't have a single degree or academic affiliation motivating me to say that. This assertion should be self-evident.Keyword: should.I am also a life-long fan of the Fighting Irish and, with their recent athletic success, I've been hearing fellow Catholics --- including some of my nearest and dearest friends --- say all kinds of negative things about Notre Dame's … [Read more...]

Abraham’s Vision

A poem for the weekend...Take hope, oh my soul, Raise your eyes above; Lose yourself, die, In vast sky-seas of love.Tides of mortal worry Torture you no more; Suffering, aged and sweet, Free from shallow shore.Baptism, divinely murdered, In night's eternal light; Heartflesh pierced, shifting gaze--- Blindness conquers sight.How wondrous are your ways; So close and deep within. Take hope, oh my soul: The heavens are your kin. … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving as Forgiveness

"Thank you." --- "I'm sorry." A simple redemption lives in those utterances. There is grace there.During the hey-day of the charismatic renewal, at prayer meetings and Lord Day's, there was always a time of thanksgiving, usually during praise and worship. A guitar would strum a sustained chord and await prayers of thanksgiving to chime in aloud: "I want to thank you Lord for the gift of life..." "Thank you Jesus for healing my sister..." "Thank you for gathering us all together here today..." … [Read more...]

Educación y Escuela en el Año de Fe

Uno de los dones de ser Católico, es la tradición que nos soporta. No se tienen que inventar todas las cosas. El Año de Fe nos enfoca no solo en nuestra fe, pero también en el lugar primario y principal donde se crece, enriquece y aumenta la fe cristiana. La educación religiosa.En este espíritu educacional, pongamos atención a las palabras de la "Declaración Sobre La Educación Cristiana de la Juventud," promulgado por el Concilio Vaticano II. Puesto que los padres han dado la vida a los hijos, … [Read more...]

When a Roman Catholic Reads About Rob Bell, What Does He See?

A few years ago, while I was in graduate school, I sang and played guitar for the contemporary services at Peace Lutheran Church in Gahanna, Ohio. After being there for nearly a year, the assistant pastor introduced me to Rob Bell. He gave me a copy of Velvet Elvis and told me I could keep it if I gave him a full report. (A review. The same thing that got me to read this book.) He wanted to know what I thought. I did my duty. Pencil in hand, I worked through the whole book in an hour and a half. … [Read more...]

The Beauty and Sufficiency of Catholic Liturgy

Over the past year I've been writing a short book: Liturgy as Mystagogy: An Introduction to a Curriculum of Life. The sentiments motivating that project are one in the same with the memo I posted yesterday about Christmas. The governing idea is a familiar one. It echoes the directives from our most recent popes: we need to build and foster a domestic Church in our homes and families. This is at the very heart of the Year of Faith. Doing it is simple but rigorous. We must submit to the order and t … [Read more...]