Fear, Jealousy, and Paranoia: We Love to Wrestle

There can be good clean fun in the political give and take. The sport of politics can be as enjoyable as any other hobby, snack, or professional wrestling. Debate is fun for some of us, and the pleasure we take is in the debate itself, not the issues. I'd rather be interesting than right, sometimes.So I have a hard time taking an absolute position against politics in toto. Politics can be okay. It depends.But these days things are not so innocent and it seems to be getting worse. A lot … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

The Wrong Correspondence

The genius of Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" is the psychological reversal that occurs when the sensitive reader realizes that she's behaving like the lowest class of characters in the story: Nippers, Turkey, and Ginger, the absurd and bitter officemates of the enigmatic protagonist, Bartleby.Melville evokes an identical frustration in the reader as the one he describes in the story, amongst the furious colleagues of the scrivener who prefers not to. Only Bartleby and the Narrator, who … [Read more...]

Abortion Beyond Poli-Tricks

Rocha FUS 2013 talk poster

Just over a month ago, I gave a lecture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, sponsored by Students for a Fair Society, based on the work I've been doing for a short, forthcoming book on abortion, to be published by Patheos Press in 2014.Soon thereafter, Tristyn Bloom, a junior fellow at First Things, gave an excellent talk at Yale University, printed at The Federalist. The particulars of her talk are different --- and more diplomatic towards pro-lifers --- but the general trajectory is, … [Read more...]


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