Accepting Limits

The Prophet of Cuernavaca: Ivan Illich and the Crisis of the West by todd hartch oxford, 256 pages, $29.95 W ho now remembers Ivan Illich? A Catholic priest, his seminars in Cuernavaca were a magnet for scholars, including John Rawls, Peter Berger, and Gustavo Gutiérrez. His early books were . . . . Continue Reading »


africaJohn Azumah, author of “Through African Eyes” (October), has been my colleague and friend at Columbia Theological Seminary since he arrived here in 2011. We have agreed on some matters, disagreed on others, and maintained a clear and sincere sense of collegiality regardless of our . . . . Continue Reading »

Rites and Rights, in Two Churches

When directly asked by Mormon friends and family members (yep, I’ve got LDS folks in my family), I have been privately critical of the LDS church’s support of the Utah legislature’s “compromise” on “discrimination” and religious freedom last spring. I think the church, from a position . . . . Continue Reading »

What Comes After the Synod

Whatever Pope Francis does in the wake of the Synod on the Family, we have a new Humanae Vitae moment on our hands. Decades of relentless infighting over what exactly the Church teaches is on the horizon and will negatively affect the priesthood, religious life, religious institutions, parishes, . . . . Continue Reading »

Of Marriage and Orthodox Priests

If anyone had asked me what I thought about Eastern Orthodoxy before I converted, I would have said it was basically a popeless Catholic Church, except that its priests can marry. My presumption was mostly wrong. While there are certainly important similarities between the theologies of world’s . . . . Continue Reading »

An Epistolary Romp through Catholicism

In 2003, Elizabeth Maguire, publisher of Basic Books, made a proposal: I should write Letters to a Young Catholic as part of a series she was doing that included volumes like Letters to a Young Contrarian, Letters to a Young Chef, Letters to a Young Golfer, Letters to a Young Lawyer, and so forth. . . . . Continue Reading »