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Insightful and in depth analysis of issues important to Catholics.
Updated: 36 min 19 sec ago

Human respect: Not only a sin in our time, but a theology

10/17/2017 - 10:55am

Not long ago I described the Book of Jonah as a cautionary tale against “human respect”. I did not consider at the time how confusing this term can be today. I intended “human respect” to be recognized as a grave sin, yet many assume it to be a fundamental good. I need to sort this out.

Victimhood and responsibility: Fargo’s critique of feminism

10/12/2017 - 6:03am

Fargo, Noah Hawley’s anthology series inspired by the classic 1996 Coen brothers film, has been one of television’s most acclaimed dramas since it began its run on FX in 2014. It has rightly been praised for its innovative cinematography, surprising music choices, sharp writing and superb acting, and noted for sometimes taking its stories in a riskily avant-garde and surrealistic direction.

Previewing confusion? The Pope’s new book-length interview

09/08/2017 - 9:57am

On Thursday, the French edition of a new book-length interview with Pope Francis was published and available for sale on Amazon, if you have $49.95 to spend on a paperback. Catholic News Service (the news agency of the American bishops) announced and previewed the book on September 1st, highlighting some of the hot-button issues. Our own Catholic World News service picked up the story on the same day, emphasizing the Pope’s disclosure that he had received psychoanalytic counseling for anxiety nearly forty years ago. London’s Catholic Herald republished the CNS story two days later, making it more widely known worldwide.

A thumbnail guide to new Catholic books: Choose what appeals!

08/23/2017 - 10:51am

I am going to turn a necessity into a virtue. Books have been piling up on my desk all summer. Even after giving about half of them away without a third glance, I am left with more than a dozen which are clearly worthwhile, but which I simply have not had the time to read and review individually. The virtue of this necessity is that you now have this thumbnail guide to use according to your own needs and interests.

Making sense of the Old Testament God

07/17/2017 - 2:08pm

In Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers, when I mentioned the apparently harsh measures (such as plagues) which God took to make sure the Israelites did His will, I acknowledged how “difficult it may be for us to grasp the importance of teaching the Israelites in this particular way”. Some readers responded by asking whether I could make God’s ways under the Old Covenant easier to understand. I can only do my best.

Priestly Atonement, by the Numbers

07/14/2017 - 10:01am

As I continue this excursion through the somewhat trying Biblical books of Leviticus, Numbers and eventually Deuteronomy, one of the most important concepts in Numbers that I’d like to introduce is that of atonement. The idea of atonement is absent in Genesis, makes a slight appearance in Exodus, develops in Leviticus (a priestly book) and attains its Old Testament glory in Numbers. Given that atonement lies at the very heart of the New Covenant, there are spiritual benefits to seeing how it develops in the Old.