Ten Ways to Battle Gossip

Have you ever really stopped to consider how ugly gossip is?Working in school, family and parish life you experience time and again how colossally stupid, destructive and therefore sinful gossip can be.The reason gossip is stupid is because it almost invariably deals in half truths.A person gets one side of the story and one portion of the truth, then draws the wrong conclusion and tells another person.The lie becomes exaggerated and is spread further.Before long innocent … [Read More...]

Torture Wall

The Terrorism of Torture

How can you counter terrorism with torture when torture is a form of terrorism?Here's why I mean by that radical statement that "torture is a form of terrorism"The power of terrorism is that it is completely lawless. The terrorist believes that his cause condones outrageous cruelty. His cause not only threatens to kill and maim, but to do so aimlessly at random and mindlessly. The terrorist's main threat (and the reason he inspires terror) it that there is a certain irrational, … [Read More...]

Romance of Religion for Christmas

Why not order a signed copy of my book The Romance of Religion as a Christmas gift?Here's an excerpt In a world of useful things it might seem absurd to write a book in praise of romance. Who needs romance in a world that has been rationalized, economized, mechanized and computerized? Can … [Read More...]

Mother Mary and Calvinist Me

On this busy Solemnity there has been no chance to share my thoughts about the personal effect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception has had on me.Coming from an Evangelical background with a strong Calvinist slant, I was taught the doctrines of Total Depravity and Eternal Security.The … [Read More...]

Did John the Baptist Really Eat Grasshoppers?

On the second Sunday of Advent I am always intrigued by John the Baptist's diet of "locusts and wild honey."The locust is a large grasshopper common in many places of the world. Known for swarming and devouring huge swathes of greenery and causing famine, it could be that the people of the … [Read More...]

A Post for Slap A Heretic Day

In commemoration of St Nicholas who famously slugged the heretic Arius I publish this piece written a few months ago for The Catholic Thing website:There was an odious man named Frank in our fundamentalist church when I was a boy who had a brood of badly behaved children. When one of them would … [Read More...]

The Coming Demographic Winter

Catholic convert Charles Moore write in today's Daily Telegraph about the coming demographic winter.This is the term for the plummeting birth rate in developed world and the catastrophic economic and social effects.He highlights P.D.James' novel The Children of Men--a dystopian novel that, I … [Read More...]

What Ever Happened to St Nicholas?

My latest article for Imaginative Conservative charts the evolution of St Nicholas--the fourth century, heretic slapping bishop of Myra to Santa Claus--a Coca Cola swilling American elfSt. Nicholas travelled well because, among other things, he was the patron saint of seafarers. Therefore, the … [Read More...]

Frankenstein…not the Monster….the Church

One of the delights during my recent visit to Missouri was an afternoon tour of some of the country churches of the Diocese of Jefferson City.This church in the tiny town of Frankenstein was a delightBuilt in the Romanesque style, it is a delightful version of Romanesque scaled down for a … [Read More...]

The Angels of Advent

I'm of the opinion that angelic encounters are far more frequent than many people think. It's just that who talks about it? Who was aware that what happened was an angelic interruption?Maybe that meaningful dream you had, that close call you had in the car, that accident that didn't happen, that … [Read More...]

Here’s Why You Hate Round Churches

Have you noticed that nobody loves modern churches? Nobody. I mean NOBODY.Seriously. Have you ever met anyone who sees a church like this and and heard them whisper, "I just love that church! It is so inspiring!".No. Never.Have you ever gone into a "worship space" like this and heard … [Read More...]

Catholic Churches Bouncing Back from Wreckovation

I have written several posts this week about the brutal iconoclasm that took place in American Catholic churches over the last fifty years.I was therefore delighted this afternoon to be taken on a tour of some central Missouri country churches where pastors and people are restoring beauty and … [Read More...]

Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell?….So What.

Deacon is busy publishing parish letters on the Four Last Things for the Sundays of Advent.Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.But it seems to me that the response of most people in our society and our church is a careless shrug of "So what."Not long ago I was looking at a picture of Saint … [Read More...]

Two Arms of the Church: East and West

This week's article at Aleteia comments on the Pope's recent visit to Turkey and quotes Patheos blogger Billy Kangas on what the East can learn from the West and vice versa. Both Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew would agree that the Christian faith is more than simply helping the poor and … [Read More...]

Atheists Promote Belief in Santa?

Last year there was some wisecracking atheist Christmas billboard which also featured Santa. This year's edition is now out.It is pictured here, and features a kid writing to Santa saying that he doesn't want to go to church because he's too old for fairy tales.This is a hoot.The kid's … [Read More...]

The Root of Restlessness: An Advent Hope

What is it that makes us so restless and so unhappy?Some say it is desire. The root of all unhappiness is desire.We desire what we do not have, and we desire more what we cannot have.But what is at the root of that desire? I think it is something else.It is fear. The nameless fear in … [Read More...]