April 3, 2018

I was talking philosophy with my college student son the other day and I asked, “So do you know what fatalism is?” “Something about death?” It reminded me of the time I asked my other son if he knew what Nihilism was and said, “Something to do with Egypt?” I explained that fatalism was not so much about death as about fate. The fatalist believes that he is controlled by fate–some greater force over which he has no control. There… Read more

April 2, 2018

In 2015 when the Holy Shroud of Turin was last on public display I happened to be on that side of the Atlantic and made the effort to travel to Italy to venerate the shroud. I have written about it here, and here I have explained how the shroud is the scientific evidence that atheists are always asking for. Here I offer ten questions that non-believers should ask about the shroud. Of all the mysteries about the Shroud of Turin,… Read more

March 31, 2018

The three crosses on the hill of Golgotha carry deep symbolic meaning, but you have to dig down into the beliefs of first century Judaism to discover the full meaning. Brant Pitre’s The Jewish Roots of Holy Week has been brilliant for bringing out some of these details. First we ask why the cross has been referred to as “the tree”. There are a couple of reasons. A gallows is usually referred to as a “tree”. For example the gallows at Tyburn… Read more

March 30, 2018

I am sure some philosopher much brainier than me has worked this all out, but it occurs to me that before Good Friday the world was different. Yes, we use religious language and say, “Mankind was locked in sin” and “Jesus died to save us from our sins” but for many people these religious phrases are meaningless. However, it occurred to me recently how there is a fresh angle on this. I think, before Good Friday, the world was locked… Read more

March 22, 2018

One of the benefits of studying the work of Rene Girard is that he not only explains one aspect of the ancient sacrificial systems, but because he was an anthropologist he also sheds light on what happens within society and the dynamics of the nation or group. What happens when a society descends into crisis and then chaos? Eventually the group comes together to find what the problem is, and they affix blame on a particular individual or group. Because… Read more

March 13, 2018

After the latest insane slaughter of school kids in Florida I’ve been pondering, like most everyone else, why and how such murderous, senseless violence can occur. On the one hand we have to simply face the grim fact that there is no reason. It’s irrational rage and senseless violence. That’s why it is so terrifying. It seems unpredictable and un avoidable. However, for some research for a new book I have been delving once more into the thought of Rene… Read more

March 8, 2018

One of the things that gets people down the most when they are really trying to make spiritual progress is when they keep falling into the same sin over and over again. Here are twelve things to remember if you if you keep falling into the same sin. Read more

March 7, 2018

Joseph Campbell is the author of the seminal work The Hero With a Thousand Faces. His work on myth and the universal appeal of myth has been instrumental not only in the understanding of the importance and function of myth, but it has also influenced a whole generation of filmic storytellers, writers and directors. Christopher Vogler springboarded from Campbell with his book The Writer’s Journey applying Campbell’s work to the art of story structure. Campbell was brought up as a Catholic, but… Read more

March 1, 2018

There is an increasing amount of talk about the tribalism and division in American society. They topic of the talk is true. There is a great divide in America, but the contours of the divide that are pinpointed are rarely correct. The reasons for the divide are rarely accurate. The identity of the different tribes is rarely true. The real divide in America is not between rich and poor, coast or heartland, Catholic or Protestant, black or white, Democrat or… Read more

February 21, 2018

I’m a Catholic priest, but Billy Graham is one of my heroes. Why is that? Because I was brought up in a strict Evangelical home where we were used to Billy Graham’s kind of old time religion. We memorized Bible verses and believed that you had to “get saved.” Our heroes were the missionaries and traveling evangelists and we heard them when they came to our church, preached the gospel and called for people to “bow their heads and close… Read more

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