September 11, 2021

I’ve decided that, in the interests of actually posting to my blog more than once a month, I’m going to include some of my reflections on various philosophers that I’m reading for class. In this case, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a Nishnaabeg philosopher who writes about embodied epistemologies and indigenous knowledge practices. One of the things that really strikes me, reading her work, is that postcolonial and feminist epistemologies are often treated as a marginal concern (I’ll let you guess how... Read more

August 22, 2021

I’ve been writing about why I think the Church’s teaching on sexuality — particularly homosexuality and contraception — is evil. Mostly I’ve been talking about history, and the question of how the teaching came to be what it is in the first place. I want to put that aside for the moment and talk about the present: how do these teachings cause grave and demonstrable harm to real human beings living in the world right now? I’m going to start... Read more

July 23, 2021

I was 18 years old when I converted to Catholicism. It is, I think, a common age for conversion: you’re on the cusp of adulthood, you think that you want nothing more than to be free to make your own choices and live your own life, but at the same time you don’t really have the first clue how to do that. On some level you crave structure, certainties, rules that you can follow in order to avoid making a... Read more

June 25, 2021

It’s always unsettling when the mass graves are being found in your own country. The discovery of the remains of 215 children at a Catholic-run residential school in Kamloops last month accounts for only a fraction of the children who went away to residential schools over the course of the last century and never came back. Yesterday, news outlets reported that the Cowessess First Nation has uncovered another 751 unmarked graves near a similar residential school in Saskatchewan. It’s only... Read more

June 22, 2021

A group of protestors stand at the funeral of a gay soldier, waving placards about how the deceased is burning in hell. A Bishop quietly pays off a sex-abuse survivor and shuffles the offender to a different parish. A jihadist walks into an elementary school with a bomb strapped to his chest and blows up school children in the name of Allah. Examples could be multiplied more or less infinitely: the use of religion to promote violence and exploit the... Read more

June 9, 2021

I’ve been putting off the second half of my piece on why the Church’s sexual teaching is harmful, particularly to women, largely because I got mired down in worrying that I don’t know the history well enough. There are primary documents I haven’t read — or that I read years ago. There are entire chapters of Foucault’s History of Sexuality that I haven’t finished. There’s my complete inability to read more than a few pages of Augustine without falling asleep.... Read more

March 19, 2021

It’s amazing, the ability of the Christian Right to create a problem, claim that the mainstream media is refusing to face the problem, and then blame the left for the problem. The Federalist has put out a very predictable article pointing out that the conscious motivation for the Atlanta killings wasn’t racism, but hatred of women who the killer blamed for his own sexual desires and behaviours. Apparently the left is very loathe to acknowledge violent misogyny because it somehow... Read more

March 16, 2021

The Vatican has decided to double down, yet again, on its commitment to homophobia and the exclusion of LGBTQ people. Yesterday, the Pope endorsed a statement from the CDF (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) asserting that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions. This is no surprise. It’s part and parcel of a sexual ethic that routinely prioritizes power over compassion, the Law over love. And until the Church learns that an institution which constantly calls for repentance needs... Read more

March 8, 2021

One of the most common (and frankly most offensive) responses that Christians give to atheists who have lost their faith is the smug rejoinder “You never really had faith in the first place.” Against this charge, defenses from experience are rendered void. If you say “I prayed every day, I read the Bible, I attended church every Sunday, I obeyed the commandments and submitted to the authority of church leadership” then you are told that you did not have faith,... Read more

February 28, 2021

There is a sense in which dogmatic faith renders philosophy impossible. I recall, several years ago, setting out on a project to “correct the errors of postmodernism.” I had read several articles by Catholic philosophers talking about the vacuity of deconstruction and the arrogance of Michel Foucault, and I wanted to address these dangerous ideas in a form that would be accessible to an audience with limited philosophical training. Fortunately, I had principle that I would not attempt to refute... Read more

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