Not Even Wrong: Answering the New Atheism with Better Belief, Not Better Arguments

New Atheism Illustration from TJP Book

“This isn’t right. It’s not even wrong.” That’s what Wolfgang Pauli, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, reportedly said after reviewing a particularly bad scientific paper. A writer in Scientific American once called it the “ne plus ultra put-down” in science1 because it manages to convey the intellectual frustration of confronting an idea that is not just incorrect, but so comprehensively misinformed that it makes any further discussion counterproductive. … [Read more...]

The Plus Sign and a Comments Policy

Don't be this guy. Image: XKCD's "Duty Calls"

Are comments boxes worth the trouble? Or are they just near occasions for the sins of uncharity and despair? … [Read more...]

Global Catholicism: The Church is Changing, But Not How We Might Think

Image: Flickr user jon.t, via Creative Commons

And turns out, I’m not the only American guilty of solipsism in ecclesiastical matters. In fact, I’m hard pressed to find a commentator who doesn’t mention those “hot button” western cultural issues, and even more hard pressed to find any who seriously contend with Pope Francis qua churchman-from-the-global-south. … [Read more...]

All or Nothing – And Certainly not Nothing

Icon of St. Augustine

“I was ready to be an atheist. I was going to be a Catholic or an atheist.” In a recent column, David Brooks cites these words of Catholic singer-songwriter Audrey Assad as illustrative of what religious commitment feels like from the inside.“A Catholic or an atheist.” … [Read more...]

Failing Like Adults, or Catechizing Mysticism


First off, apologies for being late to the party (and not in a cool way). Being a newly ordained priest, it’s taken me some time to catch up with the conversation. Second off, I’m an adult pseudo-convert myself (received the early sacraments, confirmed as an Episcopalian, reversion via RCIA in college in order to be a Jesuit), so that certainly affects my opinion. Third off, good on you, Joanne McPortland. I’m with you, and mainly because of this kind of thinking:Let’s look at sacramental p … [Read more...]

A Sower Went Out to Sow: Remembering Dan Harrington, SJ

Daniel J. Harrington, SJ

Late last week, the Society of Jesus — and indeed, the Church — lost one of its great scholars of the past half-century. More than that, it lost one of its great teachers and priests.Ideally, seminaries are seed beds that yield abundant crops of ministers to broadcast the Good News.  For this to happen, the seed of the Gospel must be sown in the hearts of those people who aspire to become ministers, whether lay or ordained. Seminaries are places where this happens; places where sowers help pr … [Read more...]