April 9, 2017

The rich diversity of rites has always been a hallmark of Christianity since long before Constantine. Constantine is frequently accused of homogenizing Christianity, but a book I translated, Socrates and Other Saints, proves the opposite is true. Constantine’s approach to Christianity helped to secure the rich diversity of his adopted religion. Constantine’s influence upon Christianity is also not as monolithic as we are frequently told. After all, there were plenty of other Christianities before Constantine. They still survive. The Egyptian Copts... Read more

April 7, 2017

Americans bombing Syria. Wow, that escalated quickly. It all started earlier in the week with Trump scapegoating Obama for the chemical attacks in Syria: President Trump on Tuesday blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons in an attack that left dozens, including women and children, dead this week. In a written statement, Trump called the attack “heinous” but blamed it on the Obama administration’s failure to impose consequences on Assad for his past use... Read more

March 29, 2017

Prayer, modern people think it’s about God. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Praying is difficult to understand, because we are accustomed to using the wrong frames of mind to understand it. This is why critiques of modernity are so important in helping us gain access to realities, such as prayer, that have their roots in the premodern. Otherwise, what we do, and how we understand it, ends up looking like somebody trying to play American football using the rules of soccer (what the rest... Read more

March 27, 2017

  It’s been a very long and anxious couple of weeks. I thought I’d give you a running report of what’s going on here. Right now I’m trying to find insurance that is actually affordable, but that doesn’t seem possible under Obamacare. I’ve spent about three weeks looking through the alternative to figure out what would be most cost effective for Type-1 Diabetes. I haven’t gotten any answers, because transparency was never something the insurance companies strove for. That didn’t change under their... Read more

March 17, 2017

Secularization theory attempted to expose religion as a myth, but the tables have turned. Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud–collectively called the Masters of Suspicion–supposedly wreaked havoc on Christian belief during the early and mid-20th century. This left theologians such as Hans Kung (the man who only writes books with question marks in the title) scrambling to appropriate their supposedly secular insights about metaphysics (Nietzsche), collective life (Marx), and the individual (Freud) in books such as Does God Exist?. The notion that Christian belief is... Read more

March 15, 2017

Exposing the secret religious lives of famous personalities such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Alfred Hitchcock, Luce Irigaray, and Martin Heidegger–frequently perceived as atheists–used to be a favorite pastime of mine. I’d like to get back into this habit a little bit. I think it’s important to document these lives, because it is one of the things that undermines the secularization thesis. This post also picks up on the thread I started while discussing the difference Catholic sexuality makes and... Read more

March 14, 2017

Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he’s dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said. Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning. –Stevie Smith, “Not... Read more

March 13, 2017

The following is an exchange I facilitated between Villanova theologian Kevin Hughes and Notre Dame liturgist Timothy O’Malley (I’ll resist the urge to say “Go Zags!”). Their exchange grew out of a discussion I started with the statement, “Bad liturgy is a form of penance.” Kevin Hughes: You’ve written so beautifully about the relationship between liturgy and life, and I have learned so much. You’re following in a great tradition of writers like Romano Guardini, Alexander Schmemann, Joseph Ratzinger, and David Fagerberg.  When... Read more

March 12, 2017

They’re all, in one way or another, connected with Catholicism. That’s how they’re related. These also happen to be the topics covered in the TOP10 trending posts on this blog this week. And why shouldn’t they? Dappled Things argues Flannery O’Connor apparently never said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd,” but she was right anyway: The reader of today… has forgotten the cost of truth, even in fiction. I don’t believe that you can impose... Read more

March 10, 2017

Our religious beliefs are not private, because they shape our experiences of fundamental realities such as sex and reproduction, which, in turn, influence what happens in the public square. In other words, even those things we tend to do in private with our privates have public consequences. This has implications for our understanding of secularization. I’ve argued in Who Knew Sex Helps You to Experience God’s Presence in the World? that what we usually call “secularization” is better labeled as “Protestantization.”... Read more

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