Monthly Archives: September 2012

Modifying infinitives

Generally, we expect adverbs and adjectives to immediately precede the word that they modify. But what about infinitives? If you shouldn’t split an infinitive, how can you qualify infinitives? One answer is to make the adverb postpositive, as did James Cromwell, playing Zephram Cochrane: “This engine will allow us to go boldly where no man […]

Space is big

“Really big,” quoth Douglas Adams. “You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” Well, read between the lines of this, and you really get a sense of just how big the galaxy is, […]

Caution and conservatism

“The bad thing about conservatism,” says Tallis Piaget, “is that you guys refuse to fix something it it’s broken.” I think that a fair point. We hesitate to declare something broken, and we’re skeptical of radical changes. To my mind, caution and circumspection are core and distinctive conservative habits of mind; they are marks by which […]

Evangelization is a rescue mission

Some year ago, Yves Cardinal Congar, OP, supplied to us an image of the Church as a liferaft for a world that is destined to sink. The world is going to the bottom; we shall be rescued. And having been rescued, having clambered aboard the liferaft, what is the ordinary Christian life? To stay afloat, […]

The Catholic Proposition

Last week, I delivered a presentation to Catholic Adult Fellowship on authority, apostolicity, and the Church, entitled The Catholic Proposition. The written version underlying my remarks is now available here, and a podcast/MP3 version is available here.