Bonhoeffer in Advent

The year was 1943, and another Advent had dawned for Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer loved Advent and had often preached sermons on this holy season of waiting and hope as a metaphor for the entire Christian life. Just one year earlier, during the Advent of 1942, Bonhoeffer had written a circular letter to some of his friends and former students. Continue Reading »

A Witness, in Life and Letters

Born in Britain in 1923, and educated at Eton and Oxford, Philip Trower is a Catholic writer of notable achievement. This alone merits attention—as there is much talk about the relative dearth of Catholic authors today—but Trower’s life and work offer something more, as they speak to questions that are being asked within the Church today. Continue Reading »

Torture and Witness to Life

I am a very proud alumnus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I earned a bachelor’s degree there, I earned a master’s degree there, I met my wife there, and I was formed, intellectually, spiritually, and personally, there. Scott Hahn has called Franciscan a “greenhouse for holiness.” The lives of alumni engaged in missionary and charitable apostolates across the globe are evidence for that claim. Continue Reading »

Protesting for Disruption’s Sake

Disruption can be an effective protest tactic if limited and carefully targeted. But disruption seems to have been the ultimate purpose of the recent “Ferguson” eruptions—and I am referring not to the rioters but to the nonviolent marchers who closed down bridges, stopped trains, and blocked traffic. We all know why the protesters are upset. Grand juries refused to indict police officers in the deaths of African-Americans Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Their anger and disappointment are understandable. Continue Reading »

Gnosticism 2.0

Humans typically situate their divinities at the border of the cosmos. The Israelites and Babylonians understood the solid sky to represent the edge of the created order and placed gods there accordingly. Whether YHWH or Marduk, deities reside at the farthest limit of the world. Modern science has expanded the cosmos so far beyond the ancient imagination that not only do we now find the idea of divinities living in the sky absurd, but we cannot even place new gods at the edge. There is neither absolute space nor privileged location in the new, constantly expanding universe. Continue Reading »

A Broken Immigration Debate

In 2010, 54 percent of Americans thought our immigration system was broken. Today, that number is 74 percent. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post contends that this means “immigration reform” is winning.This seems a strange comment, because public fears about our defunct immigration system don’t guarantee better policy. We could, by a seeming lack of options, simply exacerbate all that is worst in our current immigration system. Alternatively, critics of the current system could begin the process of creating a broad-based reform coalition. Continue Reading »

Kowtowing to Moscow = Bad Ecumenism

In his tireless work for Christian unity, St. John Paul II often expressed the hope that Christianity in its third millennium might “breathe again” with its “two lungs”: West and East, Latin and Byzantine. It was a noble aspiration. And when he first visited Orthodoxy’s ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople in 1979, perhaps the successor of Peter imagined that his heartfelt desire to concelebrate the Eucharist with the successor of Andrew would be realized in his lifetime. Continue Reading »