Practicing the Virtue of Hope

This will not be about voting. It is, however, about lying awake imagining all the possible quasi-apocalyptic outcomes and after-effects of the impending election.  I am truly hard-pressed to think of any realistically possible good outcome – of the election itself, of the probable backlash, or of the one or the other set of scandals and indiscretions that [Read More…]

A Disturbing Calm: a quote for Advent

From Jennifer Worth’s memoir, Call the Midwife (the basis for the BBC/PBS TV series of the same name, which I was alerted to by this review in America), recounting her experiences as a young nurse-midwife in the 1950s, working with an order of nuns in London’s East End: For the first time in my life I [Read More…]

When We Crucify Our Lord

Two years ago the community choir I sing with in Toronto put on a concert devoted entirely to music by African-American and African-Canadian choral composers. We performed a lot of great music in that concert, much of it drawing on the tradition of African-American spirituals. For me, the most powerful piece was “Crucifixion” by Adolphus [Read More…]

Book Review: The Cross as our Banner and Our Joy

Open Mind, Faithful Heart By Pope Francis Translated by Joseph V. Owens, SJ Crossroad Publishing Company, 2013 There’s a hymn that is popular in Latin America. It’s called “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long Live Christ the King). The first time I heard it while living and working in Nicaragua eight years ago, I was taken aback [Read More…]

Faithfulness and Loyalty

I ran across a lovely column by Fr. William Grimm, a MaryKnoll Missioner in Japan, on the difference between faithfulness and loyalty.  This is something I have struggled with myself, and he has really captured something important.  Here are the highlights: Looking at dogs and their fidelity, I realize that this virtue — whether in [Read More…]

Archbishop Javier Martinez: Beyond Secular Reason

I recently stumbled across this gem over at Stratford Caldecott’s Second Spring website, a place that many Catholics who do not feel at home in an American political context will find refreshing. Archbishop Javier Martinzer of Granada deconstructs “secular reason” and the unwitting Christian capitulation to it. You can read the whole piece here. Here [Read More…]

Believing in One Holy Church and living in a sinful one

Julia’s recent post calling for an ecclesiology which can account for fallibility engendered much discussion and raised some important questions. Since I am both on vacation and preparing for comprehensives, I didn’t see the post until it was too late to fruitfully comment. I hope now to offer a few brief remarks which might suggest [Read More…]

As the Church Has Always Taught (Except When it Hasn’t)

Here is an ecclesiological proposition with far-reaching pastoral implications: we need an ecclesiology that accounts for fallibility.  Let me explain. When the Church has recognized the need to confess its own sins, the language of its confessions has been constrained by a sense of doctrinal timelessness, which is tied to a well-established view of the Church’s credibility [Read More…]

A question on natural reason

As part of diaconate formation, we are embarking on a close reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  I imagine that as we go through it, a variety of interesting questions will come up. Here is the first:  the CCC starts with a discussion of the knowledge of God.  While avoiding the trap of [Read More…]

A Study Of “On The Character of Men And the Virtuous Life”: Part XXXIX.

Introduction and Part II “The Son is in the Father, and the Spirit is in the Son, and the Father is in both. Through faith man knows all the invisible and intelligible realities. Faith involves a voluntary assent of the soul.”[1] [Read more…]