The Harmonium Project Must Fail

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The Harmonium Project is the name given to a group of students at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) who have made a radical choice. They've decided to live in Steubenville, OH, not by chance, force, or unfortunate accident, they have decided live in a run-down, smoggy, depressed and dirty town that they could just as easily ignore from their privileged perch on a hill that preserves the University from the streets and the people of town.Frannies vs. Townies.These students see … [Read more...]

¡No le aflojes! (from Things and Stuff)

(My first book of essays — Things and Stuff — was published in 2011 as something of an experiment. The result was, in many ways, premature. This past weekend, at a talk I gave at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas, I looked at it again and was surprised by its appeal. I think it outsold my Primer. Here is an essay from the collection that, in many ways, paved the way for the the Primer that I dedicated to my late Abuelito Rocha. I wrote this the day after he passed away.)¡No l … [Read more...]

Indiana Teacher of the Year Reviews the Primer UPDATED

Steve Perkins is the 2014 teacher of the year for the state of Indiana. This accolade is most impressive to me because he teaches Latin. The very concept that a classicist can be honored in the present regime of schooling is a surprise and a sign of hope and promise.He came across my book, A Primer for Philosophy and Education, at First Things, in Stephen Webb's theological review, and has begun writing a series about it at his blog. Like all good book reviews, he adds to the book itself and … [Read more...]

PURPLISHGREEN: A Parable of Who and What

This is an edited version of a short story I originally wrote for a "Philosophy of the Human Person" course I taught at Wabash College in the fall of 2010. Another version was published in my first book of essays, Things and Stuff, and I've been tweaking it, in hopes of expanding and having it illustrated by my talented sister, who did the artwork for my Primer. Hopefully it offers some weekend respite from the brewing politics and popery flying around the blogosphere these days. It is also my … [Read more...]

Papal Marxism and Other Mental Infections: On the U.S. Reception of Evangelii Gaudium

There is a rumor going around about Pope Francis in the United States,  after the promulgation of his exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (EG). Apparently he is a Marxist, or something like that. Rush Limbaugh seems to have been the first one to say it, or at least the loudest one, calling EG "pure Marxism."Add to that the recent bone-headed column at Fox News, comparing Francis to Obama, and I think you can see a pattern. If you can't, then there is this, too: the always classy Limbaugh has … [Read more...]

The Educational Significance of Advent

Liturgy is mystogogical. In other words, one role of liturgy is to teach and form the faithful, to catechize us both in and out of formal liturgical events. If our home is a "domestic church," then it should look, sound, and feel like a church, especially if we live with children. Why? Because churches are decorated and arranged for more than ornamental purposes. The pictures, colors, structure, style, and order of a church are all deeply catechetical. The images teach and show. The form of the … [Read more...]

Correcting a Correction of Evangelii Gaudium, para 54. UPDATED

It is very annoying for this to be the first thing I say about Pope Francis' rich and inspiring apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, but this post at Catholic Culture demands it. The post asserts that there is a "key error in translation" in the English version, although the author himself relies on Google translate --- hardly an authoritative source for translations.The author also tips his hand when he parenthetically questions why these errors "always seem to tilt in the same … [Read more...]

Excellent Review of My “Primer” at First Things

Primer Art

Stephen Webb's column at First Things today --- titled "Sam Rocha’s Strange and Startling Philosophy of Education" --- gives a generous (and even foreboding) theological review of my book, A Primer for Philosophy and Education. Webb writes:A Primer for Philosophy and Education, his brief introduction to the philosophy of education, is proof that educational heresy is what you get when you begin with theological orthodoxy. (Theology is a science, and education an art, but most educators get t … [Read more...]

Art Perfects Nothing: Review of “The Thorny Grace of It”

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Joseph Bottum puts it plainly, here at Patheos: "Forget the culture-wars crap."He's right, and his urgent, huffy tone is appropriate.  I wrote something similar, almost a year ago, and since then I've had countless conversations with likeminded Catholics who are doing the creative work it takes to move beyond the culture wars.One such Catholic is Brian Doyle.His recent book of essays is a pleasure to read most of all because it is refreshing to read the words of someone who clearly … [Read more...]

Discussion on the Mount?

Over at First Thoughts, there is a post titled, "The Lecture Works, and It Always Has." Although it oversimplifies the issue, it does a good job of bluntly stating the obvious fact that there is something about the art of lecturing that will not soon go away.I think lectures will endure in human life --- they are highly effective ways of communicating, and can be quite beautiful and transformative --- but they may be banned from many of our colleges and universities someday. There are many … [Read more...]


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