July 5, 2022

Vox Nova blogger Julia Smucker is a regular contributor to the blog of the Consistent Life Network, a pro-life, pro-peace organization dedicated to non-violence.   Here is a sample of her most recent post: Once while taking a graduate-level test in cultural anthropology, I had a revelation of sorts. In the class, we’d been discussing what’s revealed when different cultural values come into tension. The test essay question went something like, “What would the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws say about... Read more

July 2, 2022

There has not been a lot of traffic on our blog, Vox Nova, in the past couple of years.  For a while I had a weekly series on Catholic Social Teaching in papal encyclicals, driven by a pandemic based reading group, that was more for my own benefit than anything.  Writers moved on, people developed other interests, and somehow Vox Nova got moved to the back burner.  So much so that Patheos recently wrote to ask if we wanted the... Read more

June 30, 2022

I have a friend with whom I agree on most political issues. A moderate Democrat, he supports things like social welfare programs that promote equality and comprehensive immigration reform. One area where we firmly clash, however, is in our attitudes toward war. A historian of the ancient world, he believes that war has always been with us and always will be. I, meanwhile, am mostly persuaded by cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker’s arguments that, on the scale of all human history,... Read more

November 21, 2021

At the risk of getting myself in trouble with readers, I am going to say it: I struggle to believe in God. I call myself a Christian. I attend Mass and recite the Creed. I read Christian books and write for Christian publications. And yet, on a day-to-day basis, I find it difficult to pray. I rarely feel the presence of a divine being unheard and unseen. When someone asks me to pray for them, I do. But I often... Read more

September 1, 2021

On September 11, 2001, I woke up in my college dorm in the New York City suburb of Yonkers. I’d gone through orientation and now was starting my first week of classes. I can’t remember if my two roommates were in the room with me or not – I vaguely remember being alone in the room but cannot be sure. Suddenly, the phone (a landline) rang. “A plane just hit the World Trade Center!” my mother was screaming frantically. “There... Read more

July 19, 2021

Hi everyone. I am asking for some input. I am writing a book about the liberal/conservative divide in US politics through the lens of the Catholic Church. I was first inspired to do this after the 2020 US Presidential Election, when a mentor commented offhandedly to me that “someone should make a documentary about US families who aren’t on speaking terms due to politics.” I decided to run with his idea, and I wrote an article for the National Catholic... Read more

July 14, 2021

My words today are a deep lament, as well as a cry for justice and mercy. Yesterday I picked up a copy of my hometown newspaper and saw a headline I’d never imagined I’d read: Bishop Edward Grosz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY, USA, is the latest in the string of more than 150 priests to be accused of sexual abuse of a minor in the diocese. He is also the highest ranking. To top it all,... Read more

June 2, 2021

Just a note to our readers to let you know that the most recent royalty check from Patheos has been donated to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association to support their relief work in Ethiopia.   Read more

May 16, 2021

A couple weeks ago, my fellow blogger, Brett Salkeld, gave an interesting talk to a group of Catholic school teachers entitled There is no Neutral for Catholics.    There is a lot going on here and I strongly recommend reading it.  I am not in agreement with some of what he says, but Brett is a thoughtful theologian so he is worth engaging with.  And in particular, I am very interested in his project.  In this brief blog post, however, I... Read more

April 4, 2021

My Mom’s life began in a farmhouse far out on the edge of the tiny town of Arroyo Grande, California, the youngest of 5 children. Her earliest memories were formed in the crucible of the Great Depression. That event, and the ensuing deprivation and rationing of the Second World War, left in her an abiding frugality that was a commonplace of so many in her generation. Mom was a saver; she saved money, cooking implements, pretty much anything that might... Read more

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