Immigration Seen Through Catholic, Pastoral Eyes

No one, I think, wants to read a blog by a Texican all about present-day, US immigration debates. Too predictable, right?Not quite.Although I was born in a bordertown (Brownsville, Texas), I do not come from immigrant ancestors, in the recent immediate sense of the issue. My maternal and paternal Hispanic families pre-date the United States' aquisition of the southwest. To borrow Gloria Anzaldúa's expression: the border crossed us, literally.Nonetheless, the issue of immigration … [Read more...]

“Google Nose” Smells Funny and Familiar: A Sun Blemish

People got offended by Google's choice to feature a sketch of Cesar Chavez today, Easter Sunday. I have very little to say that First Things editor, Matthew Schmitz, didn't cover in his excellent and timely blog post, "Why It's Fitting to Remember Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday."Those who remain unconvinced, should read "The Passion of Cesar Chavez," published in Crisis Magazine almost a year ago.The lesson is this: if there is an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, then doing otherwise i … [Read more...]

Pope Francis’ First Audience and Missing the Point

Two things.First, Pope Francis' remarks at today's audience are simply remarkable and in perfect step with the early weeks of his pontificate. Here is an excerpt: Jesus lived the daily realities of most ordinary people: He was moved by the crowd that seemed like a flock without a shepherd, and He cried in front of the suffering of Martha and Mary on the death of their brother Lazarus; He called a tax collector to be His disciple and also suffered the betrayal of a friend. In Christ, God has … [Read more...]

A Hot Mess: Marriage, Derrida, Nabokov, and Whatnot

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I don't really understand what the same sex marriage hullabaloo is about. I can understand it at a personal, anecdotal level. I know a great many people who are upset and concerned and animated about this issue. But I do not have a clear grasp of what is really going on.As a Roman Catholic, I understand marriage as a sacrament. I'm not even sure what it means to be "married" outside of the sacrament of marriage. I guess filing taxes is the only place where it makes some concrete sense to … [Read more...]

Pope Francis, Our American Pope

I just arrived in Portland, Oregon. It was a long, beautiful train ride. My pope alarm was rendered useless by rural Montana, but I eventually got the word, narrated over the phone by my wife. Since then, I've consumed news in the patches of 3G service available.Needless to say, I'm not very well informed. But I do hope to read some of his works in Spanish and provide some commentary in the months to come, before the translations begin to pour out. As usual, this isn't journalism. Just … [Read more...]

Papal Indifference and The Will of God at the Bowling Alley

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I don't care who our next pope will be. I find the fanfare understandable and laudable at times, but mostly lackluster. Even slightly annoying. I think a Patheos blogger already wrote about that.Here and there, in conversations I've had lately, I've mentioned that globalizing the papacy makes me uneasy. I think I prefer Italian popes. But I really don't care. I suspect that comment is just to make conversation interesting.I've even found myself indifferent to the papacy in general. I … [Read more...]

Economics Makes Us Crazy

I have no misgivings about, nor apologies for, my near total ignorance of economics. I don't know the special terms nor do I possess insight or erudition about its governing concepts and intellectual history. Sure, I've read a thing or two. But nothing technical. In the very little I have read, especially around election time, I get the impression that the application of econometrics to business and politics are, more often than not, inexact or flat out wrong.Economics as we (don't) know it, … [Read more...]

Benedict XVI: A Portrait of Humility

I was a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville when Pope John Paul II died. It is hard to describe the rich melancholy that hung in the air that day. The anxiety and uncertainty. The sorrow. We, the students, had only known one pope for our entire lives. It was a sad, disorienting day.We should have seen it coming, and of course we did. Everyone did. I recall the indignation I felt when the media, and sometimes other Catholics, would call for him to resign because of his poor … [Read more...]

“White History Month”

Two years ago, during my first year of teaching at Wabash College, I was invited to give a "Chapel Talk," a weekly lecture on the speaker's choice. Since I have a natural aversion to controversy, I wrote and delivered the following talk on a bland and safe topic: Black History Month and the notion of race.Since it's February again, I share it here in video and text. I have not done much more work in the philosophy of race since writing this talk, but I do hope to return to it sooner than … [Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: USCCB to Think About HHS Amendment Sanely and Without the Advice of Drudge, Huff Post, or Alike

February 1, 2013 ---In a shocking press release, United States Conference of Bishops made several unexpected moves in response to the Obama administration's proposed modifications to the HHS mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, known by many as Obamacare. In a brief three-sentence memo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan implied a number of cryptic, esoteric, and ridiculous things. Two of the three sentences were particularly disconcerting to American Catholics: We welcome … [Read more...]


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