The Mystery of Eternal Love

One of the most common charges leveled against Christians in the early church was that they were atheists. They did not worship the gods of Rome and Greece, nor did they follow the mystery religions of the East. Indeed, they claimed to worship the one true God of Israel, the Creator of all that is, . . . . Continue Reading »

We've Been Warned

After a papal visit that provided a welcome rest from the cynicism of our hyper-political culture, coverage of the Pope has devolved into the familiar stories of spin and political speculation. It’s a let-down, all this anxious squabbling over whom the Pope truly represents, but it probably gives . . . . Continue Reading »

Instrumentum Laboris

Last fall, in preparation for this fall’s Synod on the Family, an extraordinary synod met in Rome. Between that meeting and this year’s, a Vatican-­appointed committee produced a document. It’s called the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document to guide deliberation. Reading it is a ­depressing experience. It reminds me of how weak Catholicism’s ­intellectual culture has become, at least in some official circles.

Letter Number Five

We continue today the series of “model Synod interventions”—model speeches to the Synod’s plenary assemblies, addressing the “issues beneath the issues” at Synod 2015—prepared at the request of LETTERS TO THE SYNOD by various Catholic thinkers. The themes in these “model interventions” could also be usefully brought into the discussions of the Synod’s language-based discussion group: the circuli minores, in Synod-speak. In any event, the hope here is that these brief disquisitions will shed light on the deeper issues of Synod 2015 for all concerned with its deliberations. 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 »

Letter Number Four

As has been noted previously in this space, there are “issues beneath the issues” at Synod 2015. Many of those underlying issues touch on central themes of Christian faith: sin and grace; creation and redemption; the nature of divine Revelation and its role in the ongoing life of the Church; the relationship between objective moral norms (or their very existence) and the exercise of conscience; the unique character of the Church and the way authority is (and is not) exercised within the Church. 
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Letter Number Three

Robert Royal’s daily reports from Synod 2014, posted on The Catholic Thing (of which he is editor-in-chief), were required reading for anyone trying to understand the dynamics of that Synod amidst the reportorial and analytic fog: which fog, it now seems abundantly clear, was not always generated by the media. Continue Reading »

Waiting for Superwoman

Carly Fiorina's fierce and passionate attack on Planned Parenthood's fetal organ harvesting operation has gotten praise from conservatives and bitter attacks from liberals. In the process, it has demonstrated all too well conservatism's weak position in popular culture. Given present circumstances, . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis and the Bishops

A Catholic bishop recently became the first member of the hierarchy known to have met with Kim Davis. According to her account, the bishop thanked her for her courage, told her to “stay strong,” assured her of prayers, requested hers in return, and gave her and her husband rosaries. A few days . . . . Continue Reading »