Hans Urs von Balthasar

A Nation That Can’t Forgive Is Doomed

On October 2, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murdering Botham Jean in his own home. Guyger claims she entered Jean’s apartment by accident (she lived on the floor above) and, mistaking him for a burglar, shot him dead. Jean was eating a bowl of ice cream. Following Guyger’s sentencing, Jean’s 18-year-old [...]

Hell Is Real—and It Isn’t Empty

Bishop Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and a pioneer of online evangelism, is hardly prone to controversy. Yet the telegenic prelate stirred something of a firestorm back in June that continues to spill ink today. In fact, it isn’t a new debate at all. Commenting on the Gospel reading for June 25 [...]

The Heresy of Hell as Self-Inflicted

The brouhaha that erupted last month over the latest Scalfari interview with Pope Francis concerned whether the Holy Father really believes in the existence of hell. The Vatican press office was quick to deny Scalfari’s claim. Yet the controversy overshadowed only briefly a more contentious and longstanding debate in theological circles over eternal punishment. Since Pope [...]

Beguiled by Balthasar

The light of divine glory Shines in the breast of night: Who can see it? A heart Whose eyes keep watch, e’er bright. ∼ Angelus Silesius Years ago when I was a student in Rome finishing up a dissertation at the Angelicum, I needed to schedule a formal defense of my thesis, which centered on [...]

The Call to Sacrifice Everything for God

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”  ∼ Oscar Wilde Let me tell you about my least favorite scripture passage. Perhaps it is yours, too, so I needn’t be overly shy about sharing it with you. In fact, I rather suspect we’re in this together, which means, dear reader, [...]

The Spiritual Stakes in the Marriage Debate

Judges across the country are busy rewriting state marriage laws, overturning democratically adopted measures defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and setting the table possibly for the United States Supreme Court to complete the coup by decreeing the redefinition of marriage in every state. Consequently sexual difference is being erased [...]

The Limitations of Buddhism: A Response to My Critics

“There’s little point in writing if you can’t annoy somebody.”   So wrote the late Kingsley Amis, one of the grand old curmudgeons of English letters who, over a long and highly combative literary career, managed to annoy just about everybody.  And while I do not aspire to the same heights of abrasiveness achieved by [...]

Benedict’s Intellectual Mentors and Students

Henri de Lubac famously said of Hans Urs von Balthasar that he was the most cultured man in Europe of his time (1905-1988).  Von Balthasar grew up in a family where everyone spoke at least four languages and had a high level of musical education.  His father was a Church architect, his mother was in [...]

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