October 15, 2019

I am writing my very first post from a new laptop! Thanks in part to my lovely Patreon sponsors, I’ve been able to save up enough over the last few months to replace my last one, which was from 2012, if that’s even a real year. This one is much faster, not filthy yet, and has all the keyboard buttons still attached. I could get used to this. + Happy (very tail end of) the memorial of St Teresa of… Read more

October 12, 2019

Part One; Part Two At an individual level, I’d be willing to bet most (1) white people in this country aren’t contemptuous of other races or ethnicities, at the very least not on a conscious level. But personal prejudice is not the only form racism takes. Systemic patterns that disadvantage people of color and profit whites are also a thing, and also deserve to be dealt with; they are also unjust and damaging (and are thus a threat to peace)…. Read more

October 9, 2019

Part One The Catholic doctrine of forgiveness is delicately balanced with her doctrine of justice, partly because the latter provides the context for the former. Injustice can be defined as any violation of the way people should treat each other; some injustices are more serious than others, some have worse consequences, some affect a greater number of people, but all are offenses against relationship. And every human person is related to every other human person, at the very least by… Read more

October 5, 2019

I’m hitting pause on my current series, to talk about the furor surrounding Brandt Jean’s stunning declaration of forgiveness for his brother Botham’s murderer, ex-cop Amber Guyger. Some of my readers may be surprised to learn that there is a furor, but it exists for some complicated reasons, and it’s pretty nuanced. Let’s start with the facts. Amber Guyger (who was a Dallas police officer at the time) shot and killed Botham Jean in his apartment; she said she mistook… Read more

September 30, 2019

Part One; Part Two Before I move to His Excellency’s next point, I’d like to linger on the issue of language just a little longer. The dispute over appropriate language—inane though the issue may seem to a lot of people—is conducted with as much heat as anything else in Christian-LGBT discourse. As Fr Martin indicated in the article from America that I linked to in my last, LGBT people are particularly sensitive to matters of language, and not only because… Read more

September 25, 2019

Part One And now, let’s pivot to my dissatisfaction with Archbishop Chaput’s column. He lays out several discrete concerns about Fr Martin’s ministry, helpfully numbered. Let’s begin at the beginning. 1. Father Martin suggests that same-sex attracted people and people with gender dysphoria should be labelled according to their attraction and dysphoria … But while the Church does teach that the body is integral to human identity, our sexual appetites do not define who we are. If we are primarily… Read more

September 23, 2019

Archbishop Charles Chaput’s recent column about Fr James Martin, and the latter’s reply, have been swirling through the online Catholisphere. Unlike their partisans, both are courteous—His Excellency goes out of his way to point out that the personal attacks many people have made against Fr Martin are not only ugly, but fundamentally unchristian, and the latter’s reply receives the former’s criticism with good grace. I had heard some infuriating things about the Archbishop’s column; for instance, I’d been told he… Read more

September 18, 2019

What a time to be a Catholic. The USCCB, with its usual cultural aplomb and sensitivity to the real concerns on the minds of American Catholics, put out this beauty as the representative image for this past week’s Catechetical Sunday, bearing the legend Stay With Us: Because who doesn’t want a “what if Lisa Frank, but less talent and no energy” picture to really drive home their soggy appeal not to be abandoned by the people who pay for their… Read more

September 14, 2019

Part One Can you perform authenticity? Can you edit your own experience without falsifying it? I think that the answer is, yes, you can. It’s not easy: the slide from personality to mere persona is a smooth one. And once a persona is built, it is extremely hard to break free of it. It can feel like letting down your fans, or your friends, or your church. Growing would break through the persona shell, and it seems easier to cramp… Read more

September 11, 2019

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. —Exodus 20.16 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. —Matthew 23.27 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. —Mark 12.31 Being a professional Catholic—in whatever capacity: priest; teacher; apologist; writer—comes with a difficulty. Professional Catholicism is governed by a paradox, what I call the paradox of the double self. It shows up on different levels. On the one hand, when you decide to serve the Church, setting a good example is kind of implied;… Read more

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