January 4, 2017

A piece online today at the Washington Post links “liberal” theology to declines in church membership while observing the opposite trend in “conservative” congregations. In it, the author, David Millard Haskell, presents his research as overturning older theories that “getting with the times” might revivify religious life in the 21st century: For example, we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real… Read more

January 3, 2017

Silence might be the most Catholic thing I have ever seen. To truly justify that, I’d need to spoil the film. I won’t, but I’ll say what I can, try to express its impact on me without reflecting the content of the images I saw. I have not read Endo’s novel, though I’ve heard about it many times along my journey to the Faith. The decision of the (at minimum culturally) Catholic Martin Scorsese to direct its film version excited… Read more

December 30, 2016

Although here at Patheos Catholic we have a few different Eastern bloggers (Henry Karlson and Justin Tse to name the two besides me), I recently realized that no one has devoted time to a post explaining the exact terminology that properly describes Eastern Catholicism. Recently, I’ve met quite a few Latin Catholics, who, though confused, were interested in learning more, and so thought I’d produce a very basic primer on appropriate terms and descriptors, so as to avoid the faux… Read more

December 28, 2016

Self-Interest gets spoken about quite a bit these days, whether in its economic or political form. And even when it’s not being invoked in the name of Adam Smith’s economic theories or Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, it sits behind much of what we discuss. Can people consent to have themselves killed by a physician? Must everyone vaccinate their children, if they believe not doing so to be right? Or, put most generally: should a person be able to do whatever he… Read more

December 27, 2016

I’ve been pushing a line on 2016. Last week I wrote about the nasty blend of internet cynicism, real-world nihilism, and rampant desire for structures of meaning that has made 2016 so utterly terrible. There, however, I did not attend to something with enough precision: the internet. Its role should not be underestimated. What if 2016 is merely the logical conclusion of the cultural influences our increased digital connection has made possible? What if the internet is not just a… Read more

December 26, 2016

A[c] as I biheeld into the eest an heigh to the sonne, I seigh a tour on a toft trieliche ymaked, A deep dale bynethe, a dongeon therinne, With depe diches and derke and dredfulle of sighte. A fair feeld ful of folk fond I ther bitwene— Of alle manere of men, the meene and the riche, Werchynge and wandrynge as the world asketh. (Piers Plowman, B Text, Prologue, ll. 13-19) These words come from the beginning of one of… Read more

December 21, 2016

Because, frankly, I haven’t seen one. At liturgy, I have yet to come across the ruins of East Aleppo re-constructed (or recently destructed) before the Iconostasis; every week we manage to avoid stealing the priest’s hand-cross in a bid for clerical authority. The Ultramontanists and Conciliarists have yet to come to open blows. But perhaps that’s because that church is Byzantine. And yet, at daily Mass I have seen little hand-wringing, even as our two priests—one, a kind and pious… Read more

December 20, 2016

2016 has been cursed again and again as a year of unbelievable travail, a year so overladen with trauma and difficulty all the way up from the personal to the national and global that many cannot wait to fade into the annals of history. Somehow the four digits themselves have taken on a sort of shamanic energy; some people seem to hope superstitiously that if the numbers just pass by, if the six ticks away and emerges anew as a… Read more

November 30, 2016

I have been meaning to tell this story for a while, but the beginning of Latin Advent seems as good a time as any. In the quiet darkness of the November-December cold—the time of prayer for the dead and hopeful expectation of the Nativity of God—some light is always needed: an Advent candle, a prayer, in this case, a story. It was a few weeks ago, maybe a month or two at this point, when I heard the following from… Read more

November 29, 2016

“Hate” might be too strong a word. Say “dislike,” “display skepticism towards,” even “avoid.” Think of the pacifist faced with St. Joan of Arc, or, by contrast, the crusade-minded Christian who has to reckon with Abba Moses the Ethiopian or St. Martin of Tours. This is, often, even true of our political commitments: the Right-leaning American wrestles with Blessed Óscar Romero while the Left-leaning one contends with, say St. Junipero Serra. But typically our resistances to specific saints are not… Read more

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