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Category Archives: Religion

Venerdi Dantesco.


Today is Good Friday, and an unusual one: it’s also March 25th, the day of the Annunciation, traditionally New Year’s Day by the Catholic calendar.  It was believed to be the day God created the world, and hence the day He began it again with the Incarnation; the day of the Passover as well (in […]



This probably says a bit too much too quickly for those who don’t speak this language, but the following set of paragraphs impressed me as deeply true: In his book, Myths, Gods, Heroes, and Saviors, Leonard Baillas writes, “The supreme achievement of the self is to find an insight that connects together the events, dreams, […]

Racism, Wimbledon, Sexuality


I read this morning the New York Times’ piece on women’s body image which has stirred up some controversy – how Serena Williams physique is excellent for tennis, but certain professional tennis players or their coaches were quoted saying they didn’t want such a body, because it made them seem or feel less feminine and […]

Ian Caldwell and the Catholic Church.


Despite the clickbait title about the Pope’s bedroom, this is a fine, thoughtful essay about Ian Caldwell’s research into the intellectual life of the Catholic Church and in particular the lives of married priests.  Caldwell researched the topic with his customary thoroughness for his new novel, The Fifth Gospel. I did the Latin for the book. […]

Why Young People Don’t Go To Church.


A very nice piece from the National Catholic Reporter, in which a priest simply records all the reasons he is given for young people’s dissatisfaction with the Church, in an evening devoted to the topic.  Every single reason is a good one.  Almost every single problem the Church has in bringing the Good News does […]

Christian Teaching on Insult, Blasphemy, Etc.


The Pope has weighed in on the Charlie Hebdo killings, and he falls into the “Well, I don’t like murder normally, but…” camp: The Holy Father spoke to journalists in a broad interview on the papal flight to the Philippines about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the controversy about the magazine’s new cover this week. […]

The Silent Majority Against Justice.


The term “right wing” comes from the Estates-General of France: the king would sit in the middle of parliament, with the nobles and bishops on his right, while the representatives of the people would sit on the king’s left. As a Christian I still scratch my head about this: “What were the bishops doing over […]

On the Feast of Stephen.


My bike trip this past spring brought me through Nauvoo, Illinois, a Mormon town. It is a tourist town, and a pleasant place, with the prosperity and wholesomeness once thought proper to all rural America but now almost the exclusive property of the Mormons. The lawns are crisply mowed, families walk blithely down the streets […]

On Love and Marriage.


A brilliant sermon on love, marriage, and monogamy, by Jonathan Sacks, given at the Vatican.  This is well worth the time to read.  Whenever you see good sermonizing it is amazing how bad the normal stuff is.  This is a defense of monogamy which actually works: not by demonizing alternatives but by showing the virtue […]

The Devil Is In The Details.


“Opinions,” said T.E. Lawrence in one of his more clear-sighted, depressive moods, “are arguable, but convictions need shooting to be cured.”  Reason is not one of the more obvious human capacities, and as we know well, a certain amount of unreason lends tenor and piquancy to belief.  But as a plantsman I found the screenshot […]