Benedict and His Raven

“At dinner time,” Gregory the Great writes of Saint Benedict, “a raven daily used to come to him from the next wood, which took bread at his hands.” One day, the saint’s friend the raven stopped by as usual, only this time, the raven swooped in to save his life. The raven knew that the bread on [Read More…]

Therapy and the Life of Faith

The other day I had to explain to my therapist what the Carolingian Renaissance is. I think sometimes that I must be a very strange patient. But then, I wonder who wouldn’t feel that they were strange. I’m not about to claim that therapy is for everyone, or that it always works out, or that [Read More…]

Confessions of a Tribal Catholic

Every Catholic feels like they’re a strange kind of Catholic, I think. No one is a “good” Catholic, anyway. We’re all just a bunch of people trying, and sometimes we’re not even trying to be good. We’re just trying, at all. I always feel a bit tribal. That is my strange way of thinking about [Read More…]

A Galaxy Haunted (by the Jedi)

Something I loved about Rogue One was how haunted by the Jedi that universe is, how the ghosts of the Jedi seem to follow the characters around. Even if the most powerful living embodiment of religion had been eradicated, still no one could quite rid themselves of its ghost. We also get to see non-Jedi [Read More…]

A Short Note on Hedgehogs

The other day, I saw a brief .gif of a little hedgehog lying on his back on a soft blanket. They’re small creatures often confused with porcupines because they’ve got spikes all along their backs that they hide underneath when they’re threatened. This little guy, though, had let himself be turned over. Everything soft and [Read More…]


We like victors. We like survivors. We like those who have endured darkness, and came out of it alive. It is important to us to brush against the deep, vertiginous underneath of the world with someone who assures us that it can be overcome. Christ goes before us in all things, including what terrifies us. It’s [Read More…]

When what is holy is used for what is not

One of the cases that broke open the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in the United States took place in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. A priest, working at a school for the deaf in the 1950s through the 1970s, abused the boys there. He later admitted that he abused them even during the Sacrament of [Read More…]

The Power of Memory (In Politics)

Much of my work in the scholarly world lately has focused on the theme of memory, especially on tradition as a kind of “remembering.” The analogy is this: tradition is not the same as history, but it draws upon it, which is like how my memory is based in my history, but is not the same as [Read More…]

Among the Hollow Men

“We are the hollow men,” writes T.S. Eliot. “We are the hollow men / Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!” His poem has been hammering through my head all morning. We are the hollow men. The stuffed men. This picture he draws emerges from Guy Fawkes Day, a strange day of celebration in [Read More…]

The Right To Die?

What I resent most deeply about the “right to die” movement is that it sounds exactly like the voice in my head always whispering that I should die. This is not, and could never be, a formal argument against the so-called right to die. But still: it sounds just like the part of my brain [Read More…]