November 1, 2017

As usual, I’d meant to have posted more on the Reformation leading up to the 500th anniversary tonight, including a series on Brad Gregory (only one post out in that so far). However, this is only the anniversary of the posting of the Theses, which is typically seen as the public beginning of the Protestant movement. So I’ll be posting more in the months–and years–to come, perhaps up to (or even beyond) the anniversary of the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.... Read more

October 22, 2017

I have been meaning for some time to write a review of Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation, which came out five years ago now and attracted a lot of attention. Reformation scholars, at least those focusing on theology, have, generally, panned the book, while Catholic apologists of course find it red meat. Personally, I greeted it with delight when I first began to read it, as the book I would have wished to write myself if I had had the... Read more

October 20, 2017

My friend David Schell has asked me (and several other prolifers he knows) to respond to the viral post describing Patrick Tomlinson’s supposedly deadly challenge to the prolife position. Several good responses have already been written, including some fine posts on David’s FB page. Here’s mine. In Tomlinson’s scenario, we have a choice between saving a five-year-old child or 1000 embryos from a fire. This is, of course, a variant of the “trolley problem,” and as in all such dilemmas,... Read more

October 8, 2017

The Episcopal priest Sarah Condon has just written a defiant blog post expressing her frustration with (male) Protestant clergy who mourn the Reformation. She gives three basic reasons (or sets of reasons) for celebrating the Reformation: 1. Women can be ordained and clergy can be married (openly and legally–she points out correctly that a large number of medieval priests lived in illicit but tacitly accepted relationships with women, and that the women involved were called “whores” and had a low... Read more

October 7, 2017

High and Low is a 1963 movie by Akira Kurosawa which I saw a few days ago. It’s a modern police procedural, with the rather cliched plot of a kidnapper who taunts the father of his victim by phone and seems to have uncanny abilities to see what his target is doing. (Actually, perhaps it wasn’t cliched in 1963.) Except that the target of the extortion demand, played by Toshiro Mifune, isn’t actually the father of the victim. The kidnapper... Read more

September 17, 2017

In a key scene from the 2006 German movie The Lives of Others, the playwright Georg Dreymann plays a piece of music called Sonata for a Good Man to his girlfriend Crista-Maria Sieland, and comments, “how can anyone listen to music like this and be a bad man?” It’s a lot of weight to hang on music (admittedly haunting and effective music) composed specifically for the film by Gabriel Yare. (The original story that the film-maker, Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, took... Read more

September 13, 2017

My wife said yesterday, “I’d like to post this on my blog, but it isn’t in any way about the theology of work.” I said, “You could put it on my blog.”–Edwin By Jennifer Woodruff Tait Yesterday, I got into a discussion about the Reforming Catholic Confession and why I, despite having been given an opportunity to do so, had not signed it. The reasons are several, but one of the most salient is that I am married to a... Read more

May 12, 2017

For many years now, the main rival to Catholicism for me has been the concept of “mere Christianity” articulated by C. S. Lewis. Lewis’ most famous explanation of the subject is, of course, in his book of that name (based on radio lectures he gave to the Royal Air Force during WWII). Lewis’ articulation of basic Christian teaching has been extremely influential, but perhaps even more influential has been the very idea that there is such a thing. Lewis may,,... Read more

April 27, 2017

One often hears people say that the labels “conservative” and “liberal” aren’t helpful and we should drop them. In particular, in Catholic circles it’s common for pious people to claim that the terms “conservative” and “liberal” don’t apply. Many of the folks who say this are what I would call very conservative Catholics who think that there is only one possible Catholic position on most controversial topics. There are no “conservatives” or “liberals” because that would imply two legitimate groups.... Read more

April 11, 2017

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook an incident in which someone berated her for “missing out on precious moments” with her child because she was checking Facebook while the child played. Now of course, in an age of social media, it is easy for parents to become absorbed with online trivialities at the expense of building a relationship with their children. But a stranger is in no position to know if a parent is doing this simply because... Read more


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