Category Archives: Catholicism

A tentative stratification of the categories of “teaching”

Jurisdiction, several justices of the Supreme Court have bemoaned, “is a word of many, too many, meanings. This variety of meaning has insidiously tempted courts, this one included, to engage in less than meticulous, sometimes even profligate … use of the term.” In Catholic parlance, a similar difficulty bedevils the word “teaching.” What in the […]

Statute 2016/01 for the Diocese of Starling City

It is, of course, very easy to fault our bishops as weak, useless, spineless, ineffectual bumblers, the best of whom might, on a good day, rise to the dizzying height of “acceptable.” Very easy. Cf. St. John Chrysostom, Homily 3 on Acts. In response to such criticisms, I am sometimes asked to say just what […]

What reform looks like

I am sometimes asked whether the reforms that I would implement if placed in charge of a parish’s liturgy are really practical; “is it not true,” they might ask, “that many Catholics can’t sing chant?” I have an answer to that, but first I want to  provide some context. The seminal moment in my thinking […]

The strands of Catholic Thought

I have a long-form essay, The Strands of Catholic Thought, now available here.  It responds to (among other things) an analogy proposed by the Remnant last year (subsequently taken up, for the hat-trick, by Marquette’s Daniel Maguire and Fr. Dwight Longenecker). The Remnant‘s notion was that a “rough parallel” for our current divisions (in which […]

Primer and thoughts on the Kim Davis saga so far

We consider the plight of Kim Davis, a county clerk jailed (and subsequently released) for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I. Background. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts thrust the issue of same-sex marriage (“SSM”) into the limelight of American politics in November 2003, when it held that the state’s constitution […]

Clinging, perhaps bitterly

Do orthodox Catholics “cling to tradition”? You bet. In a storm, one clings on to whatever is attached firmly to the ship, because the alternative is to be washed overboard. You can’t navigate in a storm; can’t fish, can’t philosophize; all you can do is cling on for dear life and have faith that God […]

A thought on novelty

Alfredo Card. Ottaviani’s episcopal motto was “Semper idem”: Always the same. Ottaviani had the right idea. There’s a quote from his successor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Card. Ratzinger, that I find difficult to understand: “Today, Christianity is seen as an old tradition, weighed down by old Commandments, something we […]

In re Laudato si

Sometimes the day’s gospel reading is so apropos that you’d think it planned. Today, we hear from St. Mark, where we find disciples fearful of the weather. They cry out in terror; perhaps one of them composed a short encyclical about the storm, I don’t know. What does our Savior say to them? “Why are […]

Reflections on the soteriology of the Epistle to the Hebrews

We consider the soteriology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, traditionally attributed to St. Paul. (This is probably the last-but-one of this semester’s assignments to be published here.) We shall look briefly at the arguments that Hebrews gives for the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice, the effect in an individual’s life of this doctrine, and why […]

Iesus, imago Patri

When Christians talk about God, we are apt to focus on His love. We must “keep []ourselves in God’s love,”, and St. Paul assures us that nothing will be able to separate us from that love. Yet there is more: God is love; so St. John tells us in 1st John 4:8. “These words,” said […]