Patheos Hits the Public Square

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I am strangely remiss and should have announced this last week, but I will plead family issues and a kid with pneumonia as reasonable distractions that made me forget to tell you about Patheos' latest feature: The Public Square. The Patheos Public Square is meant to be a gathering place, where people of various faiths can come together -- apart from blogs and echo chambers -- to dialogue on pressing issues of the day and how faith perspectives can or should influence them, and to explore … [Read more...]

Putting Away the Labels to Hear/See Each Other

bodyofChrist

Under it's new editor, Matt Malone, S.J., America Magazine is doing a very good thing: America aspires to nothing more than to live up to the fullest meaning of our motto, to pursue the truth in love, for as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written, “The only strength with which Christianity can make its influence felt publicly is ultimately the strength of its intrinsic truth.” The fundamental truth of Christianity is personal, the person of Jesus Christ, the one for whom love and … [Read more...]

Catholicism and Nationalism Do Not Really Mix – UPDATED

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The neighborhood where I grew up was a block of "mutts", and my own family boasted Irish-Italian-English-Scots-German muttage, but if you asked any of us "what are you?" the answer, our answer would have been "Catholic" and our Catholicism precluded all of our other labels, including "American." Our culture was American, yes, but it was first-and-foremost "Catholic". We didn't have a flag hanging out the door, but we had a Saint Jude on the doorstep, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the kitchen. … [Read more...]

Mandates, the IDEA of America and the Worrisome Line

Someone wondered why I seem less plugged in to the "Fortnight for Freedom" than he had expected me to be. I'm not sure why he is surprised; I've never been much of a joiner. But he's right. I am lukewarm on the F4F, because I am a little uncomfortable with it. I certainly am in complete agreement with the bishops that the HHS Mandate is an assault on our first amendment right to Freedom of Religion -- and that it concerns all believers, not just Catholics. And I agree with Russell … [Read more...]

American Heretics Abounding

bad religion

In my First Things column of last week, I quoted a small portion from Ross Douthat's remarkable book Bad Religion; How We Became a Nation of Heretics, which will be released this week. I plan on writing a fuller review of the book, but one of my concerns with my column was that I'd inadvertently given the impression that Douthat spent a lot of time discussing the issue of sexual morality, hypocrisy and homosexuality. In fact, he spends very little time on that front -- mostly, in fact, as he … [Read more...]

The Toxicity of Idolatry – UPDATED

My Tuesday column at First Things is up, and today we're talking about the strange gods we put before us and the toxic effect it has had on our politics: [In Barack Obama] . . . chattering classes, largely indifferent-to-agnostic-to-hostile toward religion, had suddenly found themselves a god, and to speak his name in vain could not be countenanced. Heretics sinning against the speak-not commandment were speedily feathered with the gooiest tar available and then ostracized from polite … [Read more...]

Surrender unto Surrender for Peace – UPDATED

I admit, my Tuesday column requires some patience. If you jump too quickly you're going to think I'm saying Christians should never defend themselves. Jesus surely didn’t preach that; he didn't preach a crusade either. He taught us to turn the other cheek. Our instincts tell us that turning the other cheek is stupid, but this is what Christ preached. He did not teach that we were meant to conquer others—be they radical Islamists, or gay activists, or evangelical atheists—but that we … [Read more...]

Out of Iraq: the Gospel Message Writ Large – UPDATED

Our Lady of Salvation Church, Iraq In the gospels, Our Lord made it very clear that to claim His salvation and his Name was to put oneself at odds with the world. His cross is a sign of contradiction, and our lives are meant to be, as well. In truth, Christians should be happy, not angry, when the world despises them; it despised Him, first. If the world loved Christians, or loved the church, it would indicate that the church (or the Christian) has become too much "of the world." And where … [Read more...]

Speaking of "Ameridolatry"…

It's a discussion I think is really valuable, for all Christians. If we forget that we actually are living in exile, and where our true home is, we really will be lost! I link to a whole bunch of discussion on the issue, here … [Read more...]

Conservative Bible: Include me out

Rod Dreher calls it "insane hubris". These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it’s wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don’t worship God. They worship ideology. Mark Shea writes: Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the Catholic Church's large and bovine imperturbability and slowness to be moved by stupid cultural frenzies, … [Read more...]


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