May 3, 2017

 “Tragedy typically leaves questions painfully open, . . .  [but] the challenge is not only how we speak without false consolation in a world like this but how we keep our culture alive to the fact that it is ‘a world like this.’” –Rowan Williams, The Tragic Imagination I did not expect to live in such an unusual moment. When the God of thunders and of rocky heights, The Lord of hosts, Kyrios Sabaoth, Would humble people to the quick, Allowing... Read more

April 27, 2017

  I read this recent New York Times interview with people who have witnessed an act of capital punishment in the United States. Whatever your view of the death penalty, hearing those with actual experience of the act humanizes that opinion. Those who enter the observation room bitter don’t often forgive, even after death. Staff are traumatized by it. Many just leave numb and knowing they witnessed something terrible, although not always certain how to even explain it. If this sounds... Read more

April 26, 2017

There goes Pope Francis again, speaking off the record about news events off-the-cuff. He’s compared the refugee crisis to the Holocaust. Yet another group is asking him to apologize for offending them. Why can’t we keep religion out of current events and politics?  Why can’t he just keep quiet? Why doesn’t he stick to silent prayer, instead of talking? This time, as usual, it’s because he appears to be right. When I said in my previous post that the Holocaust politics of history are alive and well,... Read more

April 24, 2017

The great German philosopher is usually only known for the statement, made in Prisms, that the culture which produced Auschwitz lives on in postwar poetry (meant as a synecdoche for all art), which means we cannot write poetry. It’s even more complex than that, but you should read it in full context, rather than only the lines: To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today. Later on, Adorno, took a further... Read more

April 22, 2017

The March for Science movement is a losing strategy, because of two reasons: 1. too little faith (de-legitimation) and 2. no confession of sins. In other words, the March for Science needs a confession of sins and an articulate profession of faith. I’ll try to squeeze these two things out by making explicit what is implicit in the March for Science documents. Let’s start, in correct theological order, with the confession of sins. Here is the first part of the official mission statement of the March for Science taken... Read more

April 21, 2017

Tomorrow, 22 April 2017, is Earth Day. Earth Day is a day when we stop and especially remember God’s gift of the Earth to us, and remember what our stewardship for it entails. Social Justice Warriors, or SJW’s as they are called for short, are using this day for getting their message out. There is no shortage of SJW’s among Catholics, and to the chagrin of some, Pope Francis can be called an SJW. However, by most standards, the same can be said... Read more

April 19, 2017

Easter is over, but there are plenty reasons to reason out the resurrections relation to reason. The standard question is, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem–reason with revelation?” Lev Shestov’s (friend of Edith Stein’s teacher Husserl) Athens and Jerusalem is the most forceful presentation of the view that there’s nothing uniting the two. But not even the Ante-Nicene Father Tertullian, held this position, even though it is frequently attributed to him. If you want to be completely disabused of the commonplace that Tertullian... Read more

April 16, 2017

Remember when Easter sermons used to demand discipline of us? Yeah, me neither. Pope Francis has encouraged preachers of the Church to be merciful above all as if there wasn’t anything more to Christianity. Many say he’s taken it overboard. Where is the clarity and discipline of a Benedict XVI and John Paul II? Will the Catholic Church go the way of mainline Protestantism as so many professional prognosticators are prophetically predicting? When I read sermons like the one below from... Read more

April 15, 2017

The blood shed on Good Friday today coagulates into the passivity of Holy Saturday. Western Civilization’s fascination with blood goes down deep. We are surrounded by blood metaphors even behind our bloodless laptops, because the metaphor touches the source of our lives. For example, take Good Friday’s Office of Readings from St. John Chrysostom: Now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent,... Read more

April 14, 2017

The specter of death haunts Western civilization at its roots like any other civilization. Greek and Roman popular religions saw death as ultimately defining what it means to be human. Mortality was so essential to being human for the ancients that Odysseus rejected the rare offer of immortality (essentially, to stop being human) by leaving Calypso’s island to return to Penelope in Ithaca. This gesture is incomprehensible to us, because posthumanist aspirations to overcome death define our post-Christian epoch. There was even a presidential candidate in the last election, Zoltan Istvan,... Read more

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