Fatima

My first sustained interfaith dialogue was with Mary Jane, when we were both in eighth grade in a public school in a town near Albany, New York. I had a mild crush on Mary Jane, a very smart Italian Catholic. Our romance—in so far as it was carried on outside of school activities—consisted of . . . . Continue Reading »

Spotlight on Francis

When Spotlight, the critically acclaimed film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, won best picture at this year’s Oscars, producer Michael Sugar accepted the award with a message:This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope . . . . Continue Reading »

Dignity v. Freedom

Justice Kennedy concluded his majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges with this summary: Gay couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” “Dignity” appears several other times in the opinion. Prior to the twentieth century, Kennedy . . . . Continue Reading »

Embodying Mysticism

Jonathan Robinson has written a book that interlaces a biography of St. Philip Neri with classical teachings of Catholic spiritual life. What emerges is a well-informed history of sixteenth century Florence and Rome, a lucid theological biography of Neri, and a study of mysticism in its Catholic context. Continue Reading »

Social Sins in Lent

The season of Lent is a time of meditation and self-denial, as Christians join with Jesus in his journey toward the cross. Most often, the penitential disciplines of Lent focus on personal sins of greed and indulgence, with an emphasis on abstaining from some private luxuries and exercising a . . . . Continue Reading »

What the Church Does Not Believe

This Lent has me digging through the Apostle’s Creed. Viewed in a certain direction, it not only says what we believe; it lets us in on what we do not believe. The first article of the Creed, my last column, says Christians believe in one God and this one God is the Father who made both heaven and . . . . Continue Reading »

Resisting the Demagogue

You’ve got to have a good memory for mid-Sixties pop music to remember the Seekers, an Aussie quartet that once vied for the top of the British charts with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (and did quite well here in the U.S., too). But this isn’t a pop culture quiz; it’s a reflection on our . . . . Continue Reading »

A Monastic Vice for the Internet Age

The Italian author Umberto Eco belonged to a rare breed—a medievalist of encyclopedic erudition, a creative philosopher and a talented novelist. Prompted by his recent death, Eco’s first novel, The Name of the Rose, has resurfaced in bookstands everywhere. The novel is a murder mystery set in an . . . . Continue Reading »

Trump and the Lukewarm

Despite the pleas of conservative Christian leaders, large numbers of self-identified evangelicals continue to vote for Trump. This is baffling for any number of reasons, the most damning of which is Trump’s admission that he never seeks God’s forgiveness. Recent data from the Wall Street . . . . Continue Reading »

What Trump Teaches Us

We’re in a clarifying moment. Since Super Tuesday and Trump’s successes in a number of states, the Republican Party establishment is mounting an all-out effort to discredit him and to prevent him from becoming the GOP nominee. If these efforts succeed, something like the standard politics of the . . . . Continue Reading »