February 21, 2016

  No works. Faith. No good. Or so goes the conventional Catholic understanding of justification in my untrained eyes. We are justified by faith, but if we don’t respond with works, guided by grace, well, who cares? Two Catholic Epistles, will help illustrate the point: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food… Read more

February 20, 2016

“Léonce Crenier was as righteous and sincere, as forthright and generous during his youth with the anarchist utopians as he was in later years in his fervor as a monk.” – Monsignor Varin de la Brunellière, the Bishop of Martinique I only consider it half-a-good-thing, but I am undeniably a contrarian. George Grant, a little-known Canadian moral philosopher helped me to see my Christianity as something critical of the normal order; Piers Plowman and “Wulf and Eadwacer” are my two favorite poems,… Read more

February 20, 2016

Most of the time Catholics recoil when they’re called pagans. This line, popular among fundamentalist Protestants is, of course, offensive and wrong. At the same time, there is a certain sense in which I find it important to celebrate our “pagan” heritage. After all, lumping us in that camp puts us alongside Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and (why not) Odysseus. Why think about this now? Earlier today I read a relatively reasonable defense of why Catholics aren’t Christians. I call it “reasonable,”… Read more

February 18, 2016

(EDIT: A friend of mine has published a response here. I actually don’t think much separates us, but I would like to include his objections). What follows is exploratory and suggestive. I don’t consider myself an ethicist, nor do I have a wholly transparent and satisfactory resolution to the problem interrogated in this blog post. I ask you, dear reader, to please read it in that spirit. Hypocrisy is supposed to be a bad thing; Christ denounces it in the… Read more

February 17, 2016

Christianity has always been radical. That sound trite, but it is indeed true. Love your enemy? Pray for your persecutors? Give away everything and follow a 1st-century Jewish God-Man? Nothing in that is either easy or normal. Christianity not only draws the outsider in but also pushes the insider out. Just ask St. Peter, bumpkin-fisherman, and Abba Moses the Ethiopian, former bandit turned desert hermit, how they feel about the “normal.” And so, in this “post-Christian” age, we actually have… Read more

February 16, 2016

At the heart of Lent lies desire—the desire for unity with God, the desire to serve him even to the point of virtual self-abnegation. Purgation is itself a side-effect of this eros, an erosus, a corroding of ourselves so that we may fall, broken and holy, at the foot of the Cross. Though I imagine the Greek and the Latin are not actually etymologically related (and I am a medievalist, so faux- or folk-etymology really is my field), there’s a truth embedded… Read more

February 15, 2016

Painfully aware of my otherness, I sat in my weekly seminar on Being and Time, ashes smeared on my forehead, knowingly alone. The next day, Thursday, it was time for “Mysticism and Modernity,” a course exploring the intersection between Christian mystical thought and critical theory. Surely someone else bothering to read Meister Eckhart must care about the transcendent. And yet, when my professor implied that we students might know of the sermon-form from church, he was met with snickers and… Read more

February 14, 2016

Today, I’d like to take a Lenten look back at an issue that has been with us for some time: opposition to the current pope. Over the course of his pontificate, Pope Francis has become an increasingly contentious figure, a fact only underscored by his recent work with the World Bank (a projection on the Vatican to raise awareness about the need for environmental stewardship). To some, this move represented the most aggressive assault on traditional values yet, because it… Read more

February 13, 2016

Just today, my fellow Patheos Catholic blogger, Fr. Dwight Longenecker published a piece entitled “Is Health Care a Pro Life Issue?,” which contains much good; it acknowledges that the death penalty, euthanasia, and unjust war are life issues. But it blurs distinctions between different types of “Liberals” in a problematic way, and that calls for a response. Fr. Longenecker outlines his position in this way:       For this to be equivalent the Republican party should have as part… Read more

February 12, 2016

Well I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the Board of Directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I tell you something—the faculty are a bunch of employees and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw materials that don’t mean to be…have any process upon us. Don’t mean to be made into any product! Don’t mean…don’t mean to end up being bought by… Read more

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