July 18, 2018

Steny Hoyer says that Donald Trump committed treason in Helsinki. That’s an odd sentence, but, then again, the last couple of years have been full of odd sentences: “Putin Says Trump Wasn’t Important Enough for the Pee-Tape Treatment” being just one example. I have no doubt that the future will bring more strange lines. We may see “Treasonous Trump” follow on “Crooked Hillary.” This might be about the point at which I’m expected to weigh in. Did Donald Trump commit… Read more

July 8, 2018

  The following is a reflection by a dear friend of mine, Nathan Smolin, who is a PhD student in Classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I hope you will find it was beautifully written and incisive as I do. “And coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary his mother; and falling down they worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:11) A few weeks ago, I went into the Adoration Chapel, and sat down in the only… Read more

July 6, 2018

Did Trump win because of the dissatisfaction of the working class? Some say “yea”; some say “nay.” Opinions abound and it’s dizzying. In spite of this vortex of thoughts (also known as the internet), I was struck by a friend’s recent tweet, baldly asking how we (especially those of us who are Christians) can say that workers as such got Trump elected. He wanted to know how, when he knows so many wealthy or middle-class Christians who croon on about… Read more

June 18, 2018

“A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge.” – Abba Xanthias “The books of conscience are opened, and the judgment begins.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori I tend (perhaps like most people) to think of myself as a decent judge of character. I think I can sniff out those are arguing in bad faith, those who don’t want to reflect on the conversation at hand, those who will never give an inch in… Read more

June 14, 2018

In a piece entitled “Dorothy Day: The Model You Want,” a friend once wrote: I suspect that Peter, also Chase, Bishop Barron, and I, see something more in Day than just fidelity to the Church. We see goodness and heroism. We see a desire to take Jesus at His word far greater than we manage. Instructions we treat as metaphors — turn the other cheek, go the second mile, give someone your second coat — she lived out at great… Read more

May 23, 2018

  The following is an interview with a dear friend (a writer and, dare I say, polymath) who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household. It was done remotely (as he and I are both travelling). He wrote responses to questions I sent him. Over the years, I’ve spent a good deal of time talking with him about what it means to grow up in a “traditional” community, one with a sense of separation from the secular world. Given the… Read more

May 16, 2018

Bishop Tobin of Providence is in the news for a recent tweet about the Catholic Church’s stance on female presbyters, abortion, and married priests. Yes, I did just write “married priests” in the same sentence as the other two. This merits attention. In part because it caused a bit of a Twitter debacle; in part, because it reflects something Eastern Catholics know too well: the Latin Church’s penchant for forgetting its non-Roman brethren. He effectively equates things we know as… Read more

May 15, 2018

I have spent some time lately reflecting on particular words—a short phrase really. Brevity brings with it great power, condensing meaning, demanding attention with its pithiness. Perhaps this is why we like to pull quotations from writers (excerpted sometimes way out of context). It might be why poetry holds such sway over so many. Who doesn’t know what a wheelbarrow looks like? Yet who wouldn’t rather hear one described by William Carlos Williams? Which words have I been meditating on… Read more

May 14, 2018

Pope Francis has become notorious for (among other things) his comments on “rigid” Catholics. Unsurprisingly, this has invited speculation from some very happy to applaud what they see as a turn against a traditionalism wistfully nostalgic for the “good old days” before Vatican II. As one (rather-balanced) piece by Timothy Kirchoff puts it: I have been pondering this statement since I first read it. I wondered whether I was the sort of person he had in mind. Was I a… Read more

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