Heaven

Tucker Carlson’s Catholic Mind

Lest anyone think that American politics is in any danger of receding back to pre-2016 partisan boundaries, Tucker Carlson used his Fox News segment last week to go after hedge fund manager and GOP mega-donor Paul Singer… for his free-market economics. Catholics should be thrilled by this development. Carlson condemns what he calls “vulture capitalism,” [...]

Looking to Heaven Brings Blessings to Earth

In Catholic tradition, three senses of Scripture—the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical—are built upon the foundation of the literal sense. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 117, in the anagogical sense we “view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us to our true homeland: thus the Church on [...]

Life as Preparation for Death

Shortly before taking leave of this world, Sir Winston Churchill, who had lived a very long and illustrious life, was reportedly asked about the state of his soul: “I am perfectly ready,” he said, “to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Only someone of [...]

William Morris as Inspiration for Tolkien’s Literary Art

Most of those involved in Tolkien fandom, at any rate, know that William Morris exerted a profound literary effect on the development of The Lord of the Rings.  This is most evident, in the case of The House of the Wolfings, in the way that both works are organized as prose narratives with lengthy intervals [...]

Praying the Rosary through Art: The Glorious Mysteries

Gloria, laus et honor... So goes the old Latin hymn. Sung traditionally on Palm Sunday, it foretells of the Passion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. The words bear quoting here: All glory, laud and honor To thee, Redeemer King To whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring... To thee before thy [...]

Laymen: “Resolve” to Discern God’s Will for You

In one of the scriptural passages most often quoted by Blessed Pope John Paul II during the course of his historic pontificate, a “rich young man” asks the Lord what I consider to be the only question really worth asking once one reaches the age of reason and understands the reality of death: “What must [...]

The Gospel According to Cahill

Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus Thomas Cahill, Doubleday, 1999, 333 pages, $24.95   The Book of Revelation does not prophesy a plague of shoddy Gospel scholarship, but surely one has descended on us. Some works have been simply outrageous (Norman Mailer’s The Gospel According to the Son) and some [...]

Controversy over Heaven

The Red Hook section of Brooklyn recently renamed a street “Seven in Heaven Way” to honor seven firefighters who died trying to rescue victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center. The street was given this new name because the men who died -- Joseph Gullickson, Brian Cannizzaro, Salvatore Calabro, Thomas [...]

Love Is Not Feelings

Last week, we talked a bit about the meaning of concupiscence in the Church's moral tradition. The good news about concupiscence is that it is not sin but merely the "tinder for sin," and therefore temptation is not a revelation of what a disgusting disappointment we are to God, but is in fact the field [...]

Money Matters (But Not the Way You Think)

  St. Matthew, patron saint of bankers, pray for me. This is how I open and close each day. I am a banker and in the business of buying and selling money. There is a common misconception among the faithful that having money is bad, and having a lot of money is really bad. Conversely, [...]

The Theology of Waiting Around

"Time," the man said, "is God's way of keeping everything from happening at once." Another way of looking at the same thing is Arnold Toynbee's remark that some people think "history is just one damned thing after another." As Christians, we believe that time, history, and the sequence and interplay of events in human affairs [...]

Stephen Hawking’s Fairy-Tale Heaven

  The Daily Telegraph reports that prominent English cosmologist Stephen Hawking has suggested that "heaven is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark." As I am both a lover of fairy tales and a believer in heaven, I am not sure whether this is an insult or a compliment. Although I [...]

Ding Dong, the Warlock’s Dead

The following conversation took place between two friends of mine at a Piggly-Wiggly in Pumpkin Center (just north of Baptist), Louisiana. For the longest time, whenever I'd drive down I-10 between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, I'd see the green road sign that said "Pumpkin Center" over "Baptist," which stuck in my mind as the [...]

What I Tell My Altar Servers

Boys, before we get down to particulars, I want you to know why we have altar servers at all. Do the deacons and I need you to bring the bread and the water and wine to the altar? No, we could do that ourselves. Do we need you to carry candles and the cross and [...]

How to Convert

About a week ago, I was making the case for Catholicism to a college freshman when a friend of mine set a guy on fire. He didn't mean to! But they were making a really potent alcoholic drink in a loving-cup, trying to float grain alcohol on top so they could flambé it. I've seen [...]

Herding Cats on Sola Scriptura

Truly Reformed™ Protestantism suits a particular personality type: the sort of person who likes diagrams, neat handwriting, little lists of facts, mathematical formulae, and a certain kind of precision. In its own limited sphere, Truly Reformed Christianity is handy because its love of diagrams, rigorous logic, and TRVTH tends to breed apologists who are fit [...]

Sing a New Song with Your Lives: The New Edition of the Roman Missal

The spirit of our Catholic liturgy is the spirit of music and song. To give glory and praise to the living God, human speech alone can only take us so far. Words alone can never be enough. We need to pay him homage with songs of joy and with instruments made for praise. St. Augustine [...]

In the Company of Saints and Sinners

I was a teenager when he died. We went to visit him one last time when I was about 14 years old. Nobody said it was "one last time" -- not to me, anyway. They said we would be taking some short trips to Canada -- just a few of us kids at a time [...]

Thinking, Not Imagining

Sometime back, I wrote a little piece about John Lennon's hymn to original sin (aka "Imagine"), expressing my bafflement at the fact that people (including Catholics who ought to know better) regard this as a hope-filled anthem of the Coming Great Rosy Dawn and not as what it is: Music to Accompany the Machine Gunning [...]

Red-Hot One-Piece

"Be right back!" I said to my coworker as I ran to the ladies restroom in my office. Tearing open the Target shipping box, the bright red swimsuit I had ordered online fell into my hands. I slid the strapless, ruched one-piece on and swung open the bathroom stall door to look in the mirror. [...]

The Other Inkling

We all know about the Inklings, that astounding coterie of men who met twice weekly for some years in the l940s and 1950s at Oxford to drink beer and talk about everything. J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are, of course, by far the best known of the group. But there was another [...]

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