About Nathan W. O'Halloran, SJ

Jesus, the Whip, and Justifying Violence

In a recent exchange on a Facebook feed about possible responses to the ISIS beheadings of Coptic Christians, it was suggested to me that, as a result of a deficiency in a particular part of my anatomy, I didn’t have the courage to do what really needed to be done.  My attention was then brought to the fact that Jesus was no wimp. No sir, he knew how to take care of business.  The typical proof text was then trotted out, the Gospel for the upcoming Third Sunday of Lent, John 2:14-16, which rea … [Read more...]

Why Christmas Matters for Your Pets, or What Pope Francis Didn’t Say About Dogs

Every Christmas growing up, my family would go caroling at the dairy farms that were about two miles upwind from us.  In deference to the local Holstein inhabitants, we would always change the words of “The Friendly Beasts”  appropriately:  From "I," said the cow, all white and red "I gave Him my manger for His bed I gave Him my hay to pillow His head" "I," said the cow, all white and red to "I," said the cow, all black and white "I gave Him my manger for the night I gave Him my hay to sn … [Read more...]

“Truth Eventually Wins Out,” Which Is Why Franciscan Needs to Reconsider Hayden’s Honorary Degree

“Truth eventually wins out; facts are stubborn things.”  These were the words of General Michael Hayden when he gave the commencement speech at Franciscan University of Steubenville on May 12, 2012.  He continued: “stand your ground, don't forget the moral compass you have been given here at Franciscan University.”As a proud graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, I echo his sentiments.  The truth does eventually win out, and I was given a firm moral compass, a commitment to the tr … [Read more...]

On Not Bumping Into the Furniture: The Immaculate Conception and Cooperation with Grace

The late great Avery Cardinal Dulles is reported by Schuyler Brown, a former student of his, to have once declared the doctrine of original sin “closed for repairs,” and there seem to be a whole lot of good reasons for that.  The doctrine of original sin has been attacked over the past couple centuries for a variety of reasons, too numerous to get into.  What matters is that the result has been a total obfuscation of the meaning of the doctrine itself.  I would not be surprised if most Cathol … [Read more...]

Between Mercy and Cheap Grace: Martin and Douthat on the Synod

As a newly appointed associate pastor, I found the e-mail conversation that took place recently between Ross Douthat and Jim Martin at America Magazine to be a breath of fresh air, both for its openness and honesty and for the sights I can glean from it.  Perhaps surprisingly, I found Douthat’s “less” pastoral approach more pastorally helpful than the “more” pastoral approach of Jim Martin.  Let me explain briefly.I was struck by Douthat’s perspective on how apparent mercy can sometimes work … [Read more...]

A Third Way? Exploring the Church’s Teaching on Homosexuality

Let me set the scene for you with two examples:1.  Stanza XXVII from St. John of the Cross’s Spiritual Canticle: There He gave me His breasts, There He taught me the science full of sweetness. And there I gave to Him Myself without reserve; There I promised to be His bride. Without reading too much into this, it’s not hard to imagine that John of the Cross experienced some same-sex attractions.  I’m not saying that John of the Cross was gay. There was no narrative around at his time for … [Read more...]