April 15, 2014

Let’s talk about a big problem, guys. Let’s talk about Pelagianism. Pelagianism is the doctrine of salvation by works which was condemned by the Church about a thousand years before Luther was born. But while the Church never doctrinally confessed Pelagianism, if we’re honest we have to realize that in the day-to-day trenches of faith life, practical Pelagianism or pseudo-Pelagianism is a disease we never got rid of. I don’t think it’s a disease of Catholicism. I think it’s a disease… Read more

April 14, 2014

(Note: I wanted to publish this last Friday, the last Friday of Lent, but, well, I forgot. So there you go.) Sorry America, but someone has to tell you: you have a food problem. I blame Protestantism. Yes, I blame everything on Protestantism, but there’s a reason. In his excellent food book An Economist Gets Lunch, Tyler Cowen recounts how the Prohibition destroyed America’s taste buds. No good wine, no good restaurants. Prohibition caused America’s chefs to emigrate. Then the Depression,… Read more

April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday might be one of the moments of the year when that peculiar lingering bittersweetness of the Gospel is strongest, perhaps along with the feast of the Holy Innocents. All of the Easter period is a long bittersweet moment. We march–as Jesus did–towards both the searing pain of the Passion and the glory of the Resurrection. We fast and deprive ourselves, but for joy. Here is the entrance of Christ, the King of Kings, into Jerusalem. On a donkey,… Read more

April 11, 2014

When I was growing up, with the exception of some family and some priests, the people I knew who were serious about their religion were not Catholic, and the Catholics I knew were nominal Catholics. It was through arguing with non-Catholics that I discovered that people could love each other, yet disagree on fundamental points, yet talk respectfully and joyfully about the Most Important Things. One thing I like about deeply religious (non-fundamentalist) people is that disagreeing with them is,… Read more

April 10, 2014

I am writing a series of columns on Catholic social doctrine. Here’s all of them. – A possibly apocryphal story holds that, during a state visit to San Francicso, the Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev was so impressed by the abundance of goods in the city’s stores that he asked to meet the person in charge of supplying them. Today this story makes us smile, but the answer to the Communist leader’s question—no one, and it works much better that way—is actually… Read more

April 10, 2014

You can never start too early with catechism. And you can never speak too intelligently to kids. My daughter is two. I’ve begun teaching her. We listen to sacred music (not so much for catechetical reasons but that I was being driven insane by her nursery rhymes), and sometimes I catch her singing “Laudate Dominum!” or “Magnificat anima meam Dominum!” A few months back–overnight, strikingly–she started getting afraid of the dark when she had to go to bed. It was… Read more

April 9, 2014

  My friend Rod Dreher coined the Law of Merited Impossibility, which governs the discourse of elite opinion makers, and states that it’s impossible to believe that Christians should suffer from progressive cultural victories, and that when they do they’ll have it coming. In the same spirit, and thanks to Rod again, I offer the clunkily named (I welcome better suggestions) Law of the Impossible-Necessary Slope, which goes something like this: when a conservative warns that reform A will lead… Read more

April 7, 2014

Y’all know I’m a big fan of Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York, and probably the most effective communicator of orthodox Christianity in the modern world (now after Pope Francis). I want to draw your attention to a talk he gave about evangelization in the postmodern culture, which is full of good things: (At one point, he says that postmodern culture denies that any one interpretation of the Bible could be authoritative, and has made people have… Read more

April 5, 2014

  I didn’t want to write about this whole froofra (more controversy! yay!), but I’m procrastinating on writing something else more lucrative, so there you go. But first, story time! I don’t know if you remember the mid-90s. I barely do. But at some point in the mid-90s–maybe just in France–people discovered the existence of tabletop role-playing. You know, Dungeons & Dragons and the like. And people and the media started freaking out that kids were getting addicted to role-playing games, that… Read more

April 4, 2014

If you follow either religion/social issues news or tech industry news, you will have almost certainly heard about the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. His sin? (And this is the right word.) Donating money to California’s anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition 8. Many things could be said about this lamentable event. That Eich is being described in the press (here, for example, by my former colleague Jim Edwards) as “anti-gay” even though one of the things everybody involved agrees on is that… Read more

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