St. Augustine

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 [...]

Augustinian Maxims and Truths

Again on going through Augustine’s City of God with a class, I am struck by the pithiness of many of his statements. Nietzsche had over five thousand epigrams and maxims in his works. The City of God is something over 1200 pages. Sometimes every sentence seems like a paradox or maxim, when it is not [...]

Corporal punishment in Catholic schools

An interesting debate is unfolding around a Catholic school in New Orleans: St. Augustine's, a historically African-American boys' prep school, is apparently the last Catholic school in the country to use corporal punishment on students. In February, Archbishop Gregory Aymond called for an end to the practice, which he said "institutionalizes violence, runs counter to [...]

The Church and the Jews in the Middle Ages

Before examining the Catholic Church's relationship with the Jews in the Middle Ages, it would be worthwhile to state an obvious yet often overlooked fact: The Middle Ages were, well, medieval. It is a fallacy (one that historians call presentism) to judge the past by the standards of the present. In a modern, post-Enlightenment world, religious [...]

The Way of Conversion

The emblematic conversion stories have traditionally emphasized drama. As Saul approached Damascus, intending to bring any who belonged to the Way to Jerusalem for judgment by the chief priests, "suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you [...]

Original Sin

  Many people these days are utopians of some variety. We think that we can get rid of the doom that stands over us by our own efforts. We can reorganize the polity, the family, education, or the economy so that things will be fine. We cannot accept that the issue has to do with [...]

Bishop Says Catholic Schools Are Not the First Priority

Bishops are closing Catholic schools all over the country because they can no longer afford them. But this is the story of one school being closed that doesn't cost the bishops a penny. Seventy-five-year-old St. Augustine Catholic School is the only Catholic school in Ocean City, New Jersey. Supported by three local parishes, St. Augustine's [...]

Sense and Nonsense: Augustine For the Ages

Book III, Chapter 7 of St. Augustine's Confessions is entitled, marvelously: He Deplores His Wretchedness, That Having Been Born Thirty-Two Years, He Had Not Yet Found Out The Truth. In a culture whose public (oftentimes even ecclesiastical) doctrine, is theoretical "pluralism" — that is, that there is no "truth" but one's own private feelings — [...]

Serpent and the Snakepit: Some Things Are Trash

I have done it. Born an Indianapolis Hoosier forty-four years ago, I have finally been to the 500 Mile Race. Although I took in the qualifying trials two or three times, and in my brief career as a part-time reporter I met some of the drivers, never had I seen a race. But I am [...]

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