How to Strengthen Catholic Community

As the Synod on the Family continues, a number of Catholic writers are questioning whether it’s really nice to exclude the divorced and remarried from Communion. The people on the margins of the church, the people oppressed by sin and circumstance are the ones who can least weather being pushed . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology Through Friendship

In over two decades of friendship, Richard John Neuhaus and Wolfhart Pannenberg conspired together to bring religion back to the forefront of the public square. Their correspondence speaks of many things—the joys of intellectual conversation, the driving, dogged hope for ecumenical unity, and the intimacy of genuine friendship. Some letters focus on the mundane—logistics and inquiries about health—others rise to questions of the divine, and still others slide fluently from the mundane to the divine and back again. This ease of conversation is rare, and both Neuhaus and Pannenberg knew it. Their friendship was a private manifestation of their public commitments, and their public collaboration spoke of their deep friendship. Continue Reading »

Against Obsessive Sexuality

For the March issue of First Things, I wrote an essay called “Against Heterosexuality.” In brief, my argument was that the concept of sexual orientation is not historically inevitable, not empirically accurate, and not morally useful. The heterosexual-homosexual dichotomy is counterproductive to encouraging the virtue of chastity, so we Christians should do our best to eliminate “gay” and “straight”—especially “straight,” actually—from the way we think and talk about sex, always with prudence directing us as to the particulars. Continue Reading »

Adoption, Image, and God’s Love

As a child of adoption I have lived most of my life around those with whom I share no physical characteristics. This was never really an issue for me: My adoptive parents—both of whom are around a foot shorter—gave me all the love any child requires. I have always had a profound sense of . . . . Continue Reading »

Friendship in the Classical World

Among the “first things” of life in the classical world of Greece and Rome was friendship. As an intimate, affectionate, and loyal bond between two (or a few) persons, a bond unlike those of kin or tribe in that it is not simply given with birth, friendship will always have about it something a . . . . Continue Reading »