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Sin and Control

One cannot encounter Orthodoxy without also encountering food aplenty. People customarily do not eat their first meal until after receiving the Eucharist, so eating together comes to define the community. Along with the times of feasting, four fasting seasons collectively span sixteen to twenty-two weeks each calendar year, giving rise to popular Orthodox cookbooks featuring extensive “Lenten” sections with fast-friendly recipes. Continue Reading »

Check Your Speaker List

The Telos Group works to offer a voice that is “genuinely pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-American, and pro-peace, all at the same time.” These are admirable goals, and it is the Telos Group’s self-defined mission to strengthen the capacity of American Evangelicals “to help positively transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” To this end, Telos provides many services, such as all-expenses paid pilgrimages to Israel, where they select speakers to address tour participants. Continue Reading »

The Future of Catholicism

I know it rankles, but I’m afraid it’s a fact, one we need to acknowledge if we’re to think clearly about our ecumenical commitments. Protestantism doesn’t figure in the way Catholics think about the future of Catholicism. Continue Reading »

The Devil on the Charles

Memorial Hall is the ugliest building on the campus of Harvard University, in my view. Built in the 1870s, this Victorian monstrosity is situated between the stately columns of Harvard Yard on the one hand and the Science Center with its modern design on the other. Students frequently gather in the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub in the basement of Memorial Hall. It was here, on Monday evening, May 12, that the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club had planned to reenact a “black mass.” A black mass is a grotesque, sacrilegious ceremony in which the most sacred rite of the Catholic Church is deliberately mocked. Satan and his pomp are invoked, often in Latin, and a consecrated Eucharistic host is desecrated, often in vulgar, revolting ways. That Harvard would host such a bigoted event was a surprise to many. Continue Reading »

True Detective and the Problem of Personal Significance

It has been several months since I saw HBO’s first season of True Detective, but something about the series has stuck with me. Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart investigate a series of bizarre ritualistic killings, but to be honest, I didn’t care much about that. What stuck with me was Rust’s pain and, even more, Marty’s domestic failures. Each man tries to explain and explain away his actions, but neither man is able to live according to his professed philosophy. Both men talk about and talk around the burden of living as beings that matter in a world of other beings that matter. Continue Reading »

An Archbishop of Destiny

When we first met in April 2011, what initially impressed me about Sviatoslav Shevchuk was his almost preternatural calm: which was striking, in that, less than a month before and still a few weeks shy of his 41st birthday, Shevchuk had been elected Major-Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych and head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church—the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Byzantine in liturgy and governance while in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Continue Reading »

Allow Abortion—Or You’re Guilty of Torture

U.N. experts in Geneva were at it again last week telling the Holy See that Catholic teaching on abortion is a human rights abuse, revealing a chasm between the Church’s understanding of its mission and how U.N. officials perceive it. The episode is reminiscent of a time in history when secular leaders did not accept a separation of Church and State. Continue Reading »

We Need More First Amendment Freedom, Not Less

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously wrote that the answer to objectionable speech “is more speech, not enforced silence.” This seems a most reasonable proposition. If you are offended by someone’s position, you can counter it with your own arguments and expose their error for the world to see and reject. It is a concept that has served our Republic well in the fight for liberty and freedom. Continue Reading »

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