May 16, 2019

Catholicism in the last few decades has been consumed by a tension between two struggles. The first: to live according to the Gospel in a compassionate, humble, and persistent way. The second: the temptation to dive into grandiose statements and the self-righteous minimizing of others. The abortion debate has for decades been a distraction from the Gospel rather than a fulfillment of its teachings. Why? Because many of the faithful are content with the easiest possible solutions: bans, restrictions, and… Read more

February 12, 2019

I came across this article recently on a friend’s social media feed. It describes the trap many young people (and the older people helping to finance their educations) find themselves in. It is worth a read so you can fully understand what those struggling with this generational problem are going through. Education is important to Catholic culture and is at the heart of our heritage. The European university system is rooted in Catholic history and the monastic cultures of the middle ages…. Read more

February 10, 2019

Back over a decade ago when the debate over climate change was starting to heat up, a favorite talking point criticizing the Bush administration went like this: Evangelicals, of which Bush was one, would never care about climate change because they would either not believe that the pollution and degradation of the world by human hands could be God’s plan or, perhaps more chillingly, that climate change was simply a process of the “end times” bringing humanity closer to its… Read more

December 2, 2018

I really value the traditions of Advent. The preparations for Christmas are almost more exciting than the day itself, a reminder that the world is worth it after all. We are reminded in Advent that as much as the world can disappoint us, it is worth saving, worth fighting for. It is hard to know how to commemorate something as vast as the unearned salvation of humanity, but I do it by cooking. Not easy cooking either, special, extra effort,… Read more

October 14, 2018

A relative asked me recently: “When will you just decide you’re through with the Church?” He was referring to the fallout from the latest abuse crisis, a crisis still very much gripping the throat of the Church. How could anyone who claimed to care about power and abuse, someone who supported the “me too” movement and had listened to women describe years of harassment, support a church that had, in parts, preyed on the vulnerable and tried to cover it… Read more

October 5, 2018

I sometimes imagine talking to my daughters, who are quite young now, in twenty years or so about this period. I imagine telling them this was the nadir of modern American politics, a partisan and divided country so aggressive in its strategizing that the very health of the institutions around which our democracy was founded devolves into an illness and a distracting hatred. The Kavanaugh hearing was an extraordinary sight. I can recall nothing like it. Not even the Anita… Read more

September 18, 2018

It’s easy enough to be sad this Autumn. The Church is yet again in crisis and the fault lines of division in the church seem uniquely inflamed. Far Right Catholics, Viganò chief among them, have used the suffering of victims to attempt to derail a Papacy they see as too progressive. The tone of the debate is not worthy of the Church. Homophobia and bigotry are confused with morality and godliness. In a disgusting gesture, the Resurrection Parish in Chicago burned… Read more

September 5, 2018

Every year my family and I take a trip to the deep woods of Northern Michigan. I often joke it’s our trip to “the real America,” though Michigan is no realer than Connecticut or Massachusetts or New York. Still, there is something special about it and I look forward to it every year. My daughter and I were flipping through channels late one night on the satellite TV and in one of the very highly numbered channels, the Jim Bakker… Read more

August 26, 2018

American politics has embraced hyper-polarization as a way of dealing with uncomfortable truths about modern life. The country is changing. Myths we tell ourselves about what life was like back when our grandparents led happy lives in simplicity form too many of our judgments. We are not would-be space-adventurers believing in the promise of the future, rather, we are afraid of the present, bickering about the past. We sink into despair. We question if we can rebuild, reshape, reinvent. Meanwhile,… Read more

August 22, 2018

There is a small Episcopal church in my hometown and it has had an important role in my faith formation as a Catholic. Back in the early 00s, when Boston was embroiled in the clergy sex abuse scandal that would eventually result in the downfall of Cardinal Law, I looked on longingly at that small, white New England church as an escape route. If I became too angry with the church, or too distrustful of a leadership who had turned… Read more

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