June 28, 2022

I really don’t have the mental energy right now to dive deep into the cluster—, um, “mess,” that is the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that was released last Friday, June 24. For a snapshot of my mental space right now in the wake of this decision, I’ll share with you a brief post I wrote on my personal Facebook page on the day of the decision. Against a blue background and flying snow, I wrote, “For most... Read more

May 22, 2022

A friend, I’ll call him Chad,* once told me how his sister, Kayla, finally made the decision to become Catholic. Chad and his family had all chosen to convert to Catholicism over the course of a decade, starting with Chad. Kayla was a tough nut though, not willing to dive into the Tiber to swim over to Rome. Chad was frustrated. He’d been so successful in helping the rest of his family convert, but his dream of seeing his entire... Read more

April 20, 2022

Perhaps the most poignant conversion story I’ve read was that of Rabbi Israel Zolli (1881–1956), the Chief Rabbi of Rome during World War II. In his book, Before the Dawn, Rabbi Zolli (who took the name Eugenio as his baptismal name in honor of Pius XII) told of his lifelong fascination with Christianity. One of his earliest memories was of sitting beneath a crucifix with a Christian school friend as they studied together. In the mid-1930s, a full decade before... Read more

April 4, 2022

“There are no bad questions” is one of those collected pearls of wisdom that sounds good on the surface. Questions encourage thought, we’re told, and encouraging thought is always a good thing. Right? Well, perhaps we should examine the premises here. Do questions encourage thought? They certainly can do so. After all, if inventors didn’t ask questions about how a task might be done more efficiently, a lot of the conveniences we depend on today might never have been invented.... Read more

March 12, 2022

When the rapper Clifford Harris Jr. (also known as T.I.) told the world during a podcast episode aired in November 2019 that he has had his daughter’s physician check her hymen during annual exams, to assure himself his daughter hadn’t been engaging in sexual activity, I was appalled and decided to write about it in my next essay for Catholic Answers’ online magazine. My editor was skeptical about the appropriateness of the topic for a family-oriented web site, but I... Read more

March 5, 2022

“Want to go with me to confession?” My roommate routinely asks me this question, knowing that I’ll occasionally say yes. I happen to appreciate the question (some people wouldn’t), and have let her know that I want her to keep asking it. So, she does. If she didn’t, I doubt I’d get to confession at all. This time, I said yes. When we arrived at the church, where confession is still held outdoors, we were both surprised to see a... Read more

November 4, 2021

A few years ago, the Church marked the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Paul VI’s reaffirmation of the Church’s traditional teaching on artificial contraception. In honor of that milestone, Catholic Answers published a book of essays on the document. The staff was always offered hot-off-the-presses copies of new products, and I was eager to see this one. I still remember pulling off the plastic wrap and thumbing to the table of contents. My eyes widened when I saw the list... Read more

October 22, 2021

After twenty years of navigating discussions with strangers online, a dozen of those years spent as a people herder for a large online discussion forums site, it’s rare for an unkind personal remark directed my way to get under my skin. When you’ve been called a b*tch, a nutcase, and even an “overweight hyena,” you either start to let insults rolls off your back or you find a new time-wasting hobby far from the slings and arrows of the online... Read more

September 3, 2021

Catholic Answers always provided health insurance for full-time employees, but for many years I could only afford the basic plan for which my employer paid the full premium. Not much was covered. It was possible to level up to a better plan, but they were financially prohibitive. Nonetheless, I counted myself fortunate because I knew that there were plenty of employers who didn’t pay the full premium for even a basic, not-much-covered option. Then I got luckier. The insurance carrier... Read more

June 10, 2021

A couple of months ago, I examined the case of a lay moral theologian who presumed to offer advice to an elderly Catholic married couple about their sex life. I’ve noted there and elsewhere that, toward the end of my tenure at Catholic Answers, the apostolate moved away from the one-to-one apologetics I specialized in, preferring to focus strictly on theology and philosophy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Catholic Answers chose to open up its platform to “Dear... Read more

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