What’s the Difference between Forgiveness and Self-Deception?

repairing vase

An atheist friend of mine recently posted the following question to Facebook (and gave me permission to reprint it here):I don't think I grok forgiveness in the absence of Catholicism. I keep trying to imagine what I might mean if I asked someone to forgive me. I certainly wouldn't ask anybody that they purposefully have poorly calibrated beliefs about me, or that they have emotions poorly calibrated to their beliefs. The best I've got at the moment is "please keep in mind that decision … [Read more...]

Need Draws Out Grace


The miracle of the loaves and fishes is one of the ones that I'd heard before I ever considered becoming Catholic.  But I'd always heard about it in isolation, as just one in a series of extraordinary (but interchangeable) events.  This past Sunday, the story came up in the Gospel reading, but, this time, the story started a little earlier than I expected, which gave me some additional context: When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by h … [Read more...]

The Ethicist Endorses Omertà


The NYT's Ethicist has taken a very strange approach to wrongdoing in this weekend's column.  A student wrote in to say that ze saw a friend take someone's car keys and throw them into a lake.  The friend offered the letterwriter $50 as an implicit bribe in order to stay quiet.  The bribe worked.  Later, someone came by looking for his keys, and the letterwriter kept mum.  But ze felt queasy about zer choice, and asked the Ethicist for his advice.  Here's an excerpt from his reply:It was wron … [Read more...]

Receiving Children and the Kingdom [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In his chapter on the city of Sardis, which kept up a pretense of their faith, Pope Francis turns to parental and grandparental relationships which, in his opinion, best reveal how we are handling spiritual tumult. It is easy to foo … [Read more...]

A Countervailing Saint for My Comfortable Month


This time, when I went to Jen Fulwiler's Saint Generator, the man I pulled turned out to be a veritable Jean Valjean.  Here's what happened in the life of Saint Conrad of Piacenza. One day while hunting, Conrad ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. A strong wind carried the flames to nearby fields, forests, towns and villages, and Conrad fled in panic. An innocent peasant was imprisoned, tortured into a confession and condemned to death for the fire. R … [Read more...]

7QT: Necromancy, Vaccination, Love, and other high stakes games


--- 1 --- In the course of promoting his new book, Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone recently did an AMA on reddit, in which someone asked him why he decided to write his necromancers as lawyerly types.  His reply: [N]ecromancy and bankruptcy law in specific have a lot in common: take something that's dead, surround it with a circle of protection, carve it up, argue with other people about what parts of the dead thing work and what don't, remove the stuff that doesn't, wire together the stuff t … [Read more...]

Must We Reclaim Lydia Bennett?

Come with me if you want to live... autonomously

Greta Christina thinks Lydia Bennett has been given short shrift.  Although Lizzie Bennett has a certain amount of fire and spunk within the constraints of her life in Pride and Prejudice, Greta admires Lydia for daring to transgress completely and act autonomously, come what may.She is a woman who thinks of her body, and her life, as hers. She’s a woman who — in defiance of the powerful social pressures of 19th century England — decides that who she marries, and when, and when they do or do … [Read more...]