St. Augustine

Gay Lobby Silences Critics

The New Black List

Not long ago I lectured to a class of seniors at Catholic University of America on the topic of the UN and the development of international law and human rights. Among the new efforts to develop human rights, I discussed “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI), the hottest of topics anywhere. During the discussion, as [...]

Apologizing for Love … of Country

The stone and marble arches that dot Yale’s landscape can sometimes transport you back in time. Athens. Rome. Or even Jerusalem. Etched on the arched gates of the many residential colleges read the words, “For God, For Country, and For Yale.” It is surprising that the inscriptions still stand today. Over the past six months [...]

Re-turning to the Lord: A Call for Ad Orientem Worship

Lent is a season of conversion. During this time, it’s common to encounter readings, orations, and teachings from the saints in the Mass and the Breviary that direct us to “turn away” from sin and error and “turn to” God. An example is Joel 2:12-14, which happens to be the First Reading of the Mass [...]

Punk Rock and the Millennial Search for Meaning

Six years ago my bandmates and I sat stranded in a broken down van on the Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel. Though we were nearly 2,500 miles away from our home in Northern Nevada, we naturally assumed that this was just another small bump we would have to endure on our way to rock [...]

What is Wrong with Us? How Should Christians Respond?

It’s interesting to reflect sometimes on how humanity might remember the United States of America, centuries or millennia hence. Sometimes I think it will be remembered as a light to the nations, the proverbial City on a Hill. At other times, it seems to me that it will be remembered as a cautionary tale, proving [...]

How Christianity Civilized Mankind

Anyone who knows anything about the Judeo-Christian tradition (an increasingly small group, I know) is aware that the Hebrew law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was intended to limit the bloodthirsty drive for vengeance. As Saint Augustine observed, “For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a [...]

The One Whom Tradition Calls The Theologian

No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him (Jn 1:17-18). In class the other day, sensing that the attention span of my students was about to snap, I took immediate action, and suggested a Composition of Place to try and jump-start whatever lay hidden [...]

Why Do People Do Such Barbarous Things?

Hardly a day passes when some barbarous act does not jump to the headlines. Barbarous—there is no other word to describe these vile deeds. Thus, whether it be the sadistic torturing, terrorist beheadings, mass shootings or truck ramming murder sprees (not to mention genocide and war), these acts are becoming ever more common. There is something [...]

When the Perfect Becomes the Enemy of the Good

A friend shared a story with me about shopping for a birthday present for his wife. He wasn’t sure what to buy for her. She dropped some subtle hints a few weeks before her birthday that failed to bring much clarity. Then she dropped some not so subtle hints and he ended up getting her [...]

The Sacking of the West

If you’re looking for a good reason to vote Clinton this November, let me point you in the direction of this video. Movie director Joss Whedon has set up an organization dramatically labeled Save the Day, and is making some short videos staring an assortment of celebrities, mostly from his Avengers movies, with a few [...]

On Allowing the Unworthy Reception of the Eucharist

Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor accused Christ of insufficiently loving the “weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man.” Christ, he declared, cared only for those “great and strong” souls who would freely obey him for the sake of the bread of Heaven. So the Grand Inquisitor would “care for the weak too”—the “millions” who are too [...]

St. Augustine: Why People Really Seek Assisted Suicide

Over the summer the Canadian Senate was reluctant to pass the Liberal-majority government’s euthanasia bill. The senators did not think the bill went far enough in allowing euthanasia and wanted to remove the requirement that a person’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable.” As Senator Andre Pratt put it, "I am convinced the government is making a serious and cruel mistake [...]

Fanatical Ideas and Reasonable Convictions

A fanatic is a person obsessed with one idea, a monomaniac ruled by one dominant compulsion that governs all his thoughts and actions. He is enslaved by one predominant passion that dictates all his motives and decisions. Ruled by revenge, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is determined to hunt and kill the white whale that [...]

How Progressives Stole Christian History

The Greeks invented philosophy. They gave us Herodotus, the father of history, too. Their philosophy of history was cyclical, meaning they believed history had highs and lows, but lacked purpose. The Christian intellectual tradition first proposed that history moves in a linear fashion, corresponds with progress, and culminates with a utopian end point. Modern day [...]

Pursuing True Happiness in a World Without Truth

“[T]he direct and pure experience of reality in its ultimate root is man’s deepest need.” ∼ Thomas Merton Among the many confusions in our modern-secular culture is the fundamentally incoherent idea—which is also a promise, a hope, and a dream—that true happiness is possible without truth, but instead can be had with more freedom and [...]

Is Sexual Desire Holy?

At a recent conference, I had the privilege of listening to an excellent presentation on the topic of charity by a very well known Catholic apologist, who will remain nameless. At some point, his talk on Christian love shifted from a discussion of caritas to eros, and the presenter moved into the subject of sexual [...]

St. Augustine’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount

Saint Augustine once observed that the “New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.” In his early years as a Manichean, St. Augustine had trouble interpreting the Bible.  Subsequently, he would acknowledge the role of his intellectual pride complicit in his prior difficulty with Scripture. After his [...]

St. Ambrose of Milan

Every saint of the Church personifies the holiness of Christ in a manner that responds to the needs of the age. St. Paul exhibited met the needs of the apostolic Church as it gradually left its Jewish moorings and became increasingly enmeshed in pagan society. The Church had to incorporate the nations while at the [...]

The Literacy Crisis in American Public Schools

The bumper sticker that reads "If you can read this, thank a teacher,"  implies several bold propositions: If you can read this, then you are literate. If you are literate, then the efficient cause of your literacy is a teacher. Therefore, since you are literate because of a teacher, you ought to thank a teacher. [...]

What St. Paul Really Meant by Female “Subordination”

The Second Reading for Sunday, August 26, is from St. Paul (Ephesians 5:21-32), in which Paul offers the instruction in 5:22, “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands, as to the Lord.” Following this Epistle, an optional alternative “shorter” epistle is offered; actually it is only a few lines shorter.  This optional substitute reading is [...]

St. Augustine: The Restless Flame

In 430, as the Vandals laid siege to his city and to his people, Augustine lay dying. “In his last illness, he himself acted in this way. He had the penitential psalms of David written down and fixed to the wall, so that though in bed sick he could see and read them, while weeping [...]

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