Category Archives: Catholicism

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 […]

Reflection on Philemon

St. Paul’s Epistle to Philemon presents a study in the Christian use of power. Philemon has civil power over Onesimus, and Paul has (or claims) ecclesiastical power over Philemon; Paul wants Philemon to abjure his power over Onesimus, and so chooses a rhetorical strategy that abjures his own power over his suffragan: “Though I might […]

Re the joint editorial on the death penalty

Like Professor Garnett, I am skeptical of the “joint editorial” of various Catholic publications that purports to call for an end to the death penalty. The authors are not coy about the context that prompts their comments: Later this term, the Supreme Court will hear Glossip v. Gross, in which recent lethal-injection protocols are challenged. I dissent because […]

Reflections on Jesus’ mission

We are asked how we would describe Jesus’ mission and message, and whether it has changed since His time. Since Eusebius of Caesaria’s fourth-century Historia Ecclesiae, it has been commonplace to conceive of Jesus as fulfilling three roles or missions, those of high priest, prophet, and king. No less often, we see an approach focused […]

What does the Church REALLY teach about vaccines?

An outbreak of the measles virus has focused attention on a small but growing number of American parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, citing a variety of medical and ethical concerns. This post is agnostic on the merits of that question. I want to focus on a different and precise point: Whether Church teaching requires […]

Reflections on miracles

Editor’s note: This semester, as last, I am taking a theology class, and to the extent that my written submissions are thought canonical, excerpts will appear here under the TH225 tag after submission and grading. For last semester, see the TH200 tag. “To [the apostles] He showed himself alive after His passion by many infallible […]

Reflections on the Eucharistic dialogue of John 6

Editor’s note: This semester, as last, I am taking a theology class, and to the extent that my written submissions are thought canonical, excerpts will appear here under the TH225 tag after submission and grading. For last semester, see the TH200 tag. In this assignment, we are asked to discuss the single story from the […]

Cardinalatial appointments

In a conclave to be held next month, Francis will give fifteen bishops red hats, and Father Dwight Longenecker draws attention to the fact that neither Blase Cupich, the newly-minted Archbishop of Chicago, nor Jose Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles since 2011, are among them. There are several problems with Longenecker’s piece, but I […]