June 11, 2016

There was a time when I considered becoming Eastern Orthodox. The richness of the theology, its emphasis on mystery, the centrality of theosis—and a passion for Westerners like Eckhart and Eriugena—made “conversion” appealing, though only ever in my heart. Factors stopped me—nationalism, ethnocentrism, quibbling—hardly the antidotes to the hyper-rationalism, Americanism, and pretension I found in American Catholicism. A talk with a priest here and a little research there quickly revealed a sad reality stirring in Orthodoxy, a self-obsession, the words… Read more

June 2, 2016

My last two posts (available here and here) have attempted defenses of the current pontiff. Predictably enough, they’ve elicited some negative responses, accusing me of uncritical papal apology. Nowhere have I stated that Pope Francis can do no wrong. Like any man he is wrong—a lot. My issue, however, has always been with cramming his every decision into a pre-formed narrative. It’s deeply saddening—so many Catholics have created the framework for a self-fulfilling prophecy. In truth, I tire of seeing… Read more

May 31, 2016

History is repetition; all that happens has happened and will happen. So says Qoheleth: All things are wearisome, too wearisome for words. The eye is not satisfied by seeing nor has the ear enough of hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun! Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us. There is no remembrance… Read more

May 30, 2016

Pope Francis—pontifex maximus of cheap grace and haphazard forgiveness, the kind of bishop who would’ve asked the deacons to hand over the holy books during a Roman persecution, or really would do whatever the authorities demand—in short, he’s bowed to the world, remitting sins like some Galilean lunatic or something. Or so the story goes. Cheap grace commanded and dispensed through Amoris Laetitia and the Jubilee Year of Mercy are not, however, the hallmarks of the Franciscan pontificate. No. Justice… Read more

May 24, 2016

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at… Read more

May 23, 2016

In good Christian fashion, I’ve often tried to take my cue from Nietzsche and philosophize with a hammer. Even if the idols do not shatter, a chink in a previously-solid veneer means a hard-won skirmish. Though, the very work of such destruction always leaves one vulnerable to idolatry in another form. Some traditionalists smash the dreams of “Modernists,” but fall into a web of pseudo-history. And many a “liberal” sees history so clearly as to turn ressourcement into license for… Read more

May 19, 2016

As readers of my blog may know, I am a person prone to anxiety, even depression—not for any fault of mind or character, but from depth of feeling. Perhaps it’s a congenital condition, half-curse and half-blessing, some of us can’t help but find aching within. Perhaps it’s a product of life and experiences—early deaths, illnesses, and a concomitant stirring, an inability to be comfortable with a happy middle-class life. Most likely it’s a bit of both. Regardless, this capacity to… Read more

May 13, 2016

In a recent piece in Crux, Fordham professor Charles Camosy quotes Harvard Law professor Mark Tushnet on the Culture Wars: The culture wars are over; they lost, we won […] For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that… Read more

April 25, 2016

Just yesterday a post appeared on another Patheos blog called “A plea for a measure of incoherence” (call me old fashioned, but I go in for capitalizing my titles. I do like e.e. cummings though). The piece is a wonderful exploration of not only the inevitability of ambiguity but also of its desirability (a topic on which I have commented before). Here’s an especially nice tidbit: [It’s] true that there were those in these controversies that fought boldly, even defying… Read more

April 24, 2016

It was a few years ago, when I was just beginning to come to the Church. I’d go with my roommate to Sunday Mass, not really knowing exactly what I was doing, but familiar with the basics thanks to my years of Catholic schooling. Sitting, standing, kneeling, all of these came easily enough (though the new responses took time), but the finer points of discipline completely eluded me. At this point in my life during one Mass, I saw something… Read more

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