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...]

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...]

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...]

A Hellish Wit

When I see a billboard or bumper-sticker that reads "HELL IS REAL," I usually smile and wonder what, exactly, the person behind it is trying to convey. I also think the same thing when I overhear (or oversee, on Facebook) conversations about how important it is to believe in hell, sin, Satan, and eternal damnation these days. Even the more sophisticated debates and books, on soteriology and Von Balthasaar et al, strike me as being somewhat hard to parse out in terms of the real objective of th … [Read more...]

Christ, the Prisoner: Webb on Von Balthasar and Prison Ministry

  Stephen Webb has written a short and powerful reflection on Christ's descent into hell at First Things today. The post reads in the style of a testimonial homiletic. Short, imaginative, rooted in scripture, and personal. Moving, too. Webb begins by disputing Von Balthasar's thesis in  Mysterium Paschale through his own alternative reading of Christ descending into hell as a prisoner. A preaching prisoner.He writes, Jesus, after all, was condemned as a criminal and died between two cri … [Read more...]

From the Bottum Up: The Pathos of Joseph Bottum

Yesterday, at Commonweal, the former editor of First Things, Joeseph Bottum, published an essay, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, that claims to make "A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage."The essay is not the sort of thing one is used to reading on the internet these days. It twitches and rewinds and plods along, filling time to avoid the break-up talk. It requires patience and, oddly enough, an ability to set a hot button issue aside for a moment and give Bottum a chance to speak … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not Writing About the Trayvon Martin Case

The easy, short answer is that I don't have time. It really is that simple, too simple. Unclear.I worry that some of my more critical readers have confused the difference between simplicity and oversimplification.Of course things often reduce to a simple core reality. At the same time, these simple things can rarely be accounted for with "simple" talk. Perhaps silence is best. But that leaves much to be desired, too, sometimes.I value clarity as a form of fidelity. For me, to be … [Read more...]

LIVE FREE AND DIE

Libertines, everywhere. We have conservative libertines, liberal libertines, secular libertines, and religious libertines. We have reactionary libertines, sexual libertines, social libertines, cannabis libertines, economic libertines, and anarchist libertines. Groupie communitarian libertines, solo individualistic libertines, populist proletariat libertines, and ironic aristocrat libertines. Indigenous sovereignty libertines, nativist isolationist libertines, border-crossing pragmatic … [Read more...]

Mercy for Gosnell, For Us All

I tend to ramble and write down all the details, leaving them fussily thrown about, in piles and pieces and mess, for you to make sense of. A lot of that is by choice, trying to copycat this or that brilliant writer who has true randomness in her prose, a trait that I fiercely envy. But some of it is just the way this stuff comes out. Editing is tough work, mainly because there is a lot of stuff that, even though it's not perfect, it is as good as it will get.On Friday I felt the way I tend … [Read more...]

Beyond Abortion: Gosnell and a New Dark Age

My sister delivered a healthy baby boy the day before yesterday. When I called to congratulate her, I asked to be spared from the details. When my wife gave birth to our second son, I was the one about pass out during the epidural.This past November, when I saw the headlines about Savita, I tried to ignore it because I have no stomach for delivery room gore. When I did read the stories a day later, my response was angry and indignant. I was pissed. Pissed, but hopeful. I thought we could … [Read more...]


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