My Most Grievous Fault: The Moral Problem of Wealth

"How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?" - St. Basil the Great."Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth, but theirs." - St. John ChrysostomIt is always easier to accuse than to confess. But in reality we're all sinners of one sort or another sitting together in the dock. I have long been, and will continue … [Read more...]

Find Your Own Calcutta

Myself I've never met a saint of the Church and I've only met one person who ever knew a prospective saint. (It was someone who knew Dorothy Day well.)But we all need to meet more of them, even if it's only in the pages of books like Fr. James Martin's My Life with the Saints, now out in a 10th anniversary edition.The author picked out sixteen of his favorite saints (including saint-in-the-making Dorothy Day) and interestingly wraps bits of his own life story around his mini-biographies … [Read more...]

Good News & Great Joy

To all people of good will fighting for social, economic, and environmental justice, defending the poor & the marginalized, ministering to the world's sick and wounded, or working for peace and reconciliation among both men and nations- rejoice!  You do not labor to build the Beloved Community in vain, but are instead the harbingers of a Kingdom that is, even now, triumphantly breaking into our world.To all people in darkness- the poor, the oppressed and abused, the migrants, the fo … [Read more...]

Roasting Marshmallows at the Apocalypse

[A review of Nothing to Vote For: The Futility of the American Electoral Process, by Daniel Schwindt]One of the more misguided, even destructive projects of our hyper-merchandized culture is the labeling of entire generations into Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. As though our society needed yet another mechanism for dividing ourselves from each other, especially via stereotypes based on shopping. As an example of the crudity of these generational labels, I offer the example of my … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Deal: Privatizing the Presidency

Dispossessed of jobs and their dignity for a generation now or more, the Trump voters are glowing as they await what they were promised: nothing less than the reversal of a great tidal wave of economic history, the one popularly referred to as globalization or offshoring or free trade.As their unlikely tribune of the plebs, they have elevated a man with businesses in 18 countries, including Trump-branded hotels in India (2), Istanbul, Uruguay, the Phillippines, South Korea, Panama, Rio de … [Read more...]

Lights Coming Back on in Gary

I knew my involvement in civic matters in northwest Indiana would eventually take me to Gary, about 25 miles from my town of Valparaiso. As I’ve driven along Interstate 90 heading to and from Chicago, I’ve often peered down from the expressway into the city’s empty streets and dilapidated neighborhoods. For many long-time residents of the area, the town’s very name is an epithet for a landscape of failure and fear where it’s thought that no one stays who can find a way to leave. I admit I have no … [Read more...]

Radically Catholic in the Age of Trump

For several years now, I've attended daily Mass at St. Clare Church, where the average parishioner could be described as white, old, and well-off. For the first couple of years, I routinely joined other communicants for the Wednesday "Coffee and ..." in the parish center. Eventually, though, I had to stop attending. When someone asked me why I wasn't coming around anymore, my response was "Because I want to think the best of you all." You see, I heard things on Wednesday mornings that would curl … [Read more...]

An Election Day Lamentation: Mourning a Missed Opportunity

 In politics, as in war, there is often only one favorable moment- an opportunity when tantalizing possibilities open up and the very course of history can be diverted in new directions. But these moments, which depend on the convergence of circumstances largely due to mere chance, are fleeting, and must be seized immediately and exploited because they may never occur again.As a result, in the political arena, radical reform is always a project for the bold and the e … [Read more...]

What I Saw on the Porch

In temporary relief from the ongoing telenovella of our impending national election, we habitues of the Front Porch Republic met up last weekend at the architecture building on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for a daylong celebration of "place, limits, liberty." These annual shmoozefests are always a delight, given the wonderful mix of temperaments and the high degree of literacy displayed everywhere. Amidst a certain Spenglerian gloom, hilarity is always breaking out, I dunno quite h … [Read more...]

Rediscovering the Golden String

Dear reader, be advised this will not be a standard book review. I have before me a review copy of Michael Martin's new anthology, The Heavenly Country, An Anthology of Primary Sources, Poetry, and Critical Essays on Sophiology. I want to respond not in a scholarly fashion--I am not that much of a scholar--but in an amatory mode, i.e., that of the amateur of these ideas. And as to the relevance of this review to our mission here, I think Dorothy Day's statements of her particular debt to … [Read more...]