McManaman, Douglas
411 Articles at

Douglas McManaman was born in Toronto and grew up in Montreal. He studied philosophy at the University of St. Jerome's College (Waterloo) and theology at the University of Montreal. He is a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Toronto and ministers to those with mental Illness. He taught Religion, Philosophy and the Theory of Knowledge for 32 years in Southern Ontario, and he is the current chaplain of the Toronto Chapter of the Catholic Teachers Guild. His recent books include Why Be Afraid? (Justin Press, 2014) and The Logic of Anger (Justin Press, 2015), and Christ Lives! (Justin Press, 2017), as well as The Morally Beautiful (, Introduction to Philosophy for Young People (, Readings in the Theory of Knowledge, Basic Catholicism, and A Treatise on the Four Cardinal Virtues. He has two podcast channels: Podcasts for the Religious, and Podcasts for Young Philosophers. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Ontario, Canada.



Motherhood and Fatherhood in God

The mission of the father in the family is to be a channel of the love of God the Father, to dispose our children to receive that love of the Father. And the task of the children of those earthly fathers is to forgive the sins of their fathers and to honor them, even while acknowledging their flaws and imperfections.

Date posted: 2024-05-26

Thoughts on Time and Dogma

Our own individual self-understanding is always, for the most part, imperfect, vague and lacking precision, more or less correct, and it is in time that our self-understanding becomes more explicit and truer to what we are at our most fundamental level. This growth in self-understanding often involves discarding elements of that self-understanding that are inconsistent with our fundamental orientation - I eventually come to the realization that "this is not me", at least not entirely so. Similarly, the Church is a living organism, and living organisms are self-correcting.

Date posted: 2024-04-29

Shepherds Good and Bad

Not every shepherd in the history of the Church was willing to put his life on the line for the good of the sheep; we need not be scandalized by this. I am reminded of the Office of Readings, specifically the readings from the 24th and 25th week in Ordinary time, which typically occurs in the fall. Every day for two weeks straight, the second reading is taken from St. Augustine's Sermon 46, entitled On Pastors. For two weeks straight, Augustine goes after those shepherds who are primarily out for themselves, who are indifferent to the poor and the suffering and who tailor their preaching so as not to upset the wealthy - and in this way fail in their prophetic mission.

Date posted: 2024-04-19

A Reflection on Marriage as a Work of Beauty

A marriage can very much be compared to the production of a work of art. A marriage is a process, not a finished product. The product can only be judged at the end, as Aristotle would say of a good life: "for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy" (NE, 1098a18). If one were asked to judge the quality of a marriage at any given time, like the work of art in progress, one might very well say that it is nothing extraordinary, that it is rough and unrefined, certainly not very pretty.

Date posted: 2024-04-02

Christ's Redemption: An Explanation for Teachers

We are redeemed by the Incarnation of the Son of God, by his entire life, which of course includes his death. God sees each one of us when he beholds his Son, and so the Son's entire life and his offering of himself in the end redeems us, buys us back from darkness to light, from alienation from God to proximity to God in him, in Christ.

Date posted: 2024-03-22

Some Important Points about Matrimony for Couples Married Outside the Church

It is very common today for couples who were not married in the Church to bring their children to the Church for baptism. Having those children baptized is typically not an issue, but many priests find themselves trying to persuade such couples to have their marriages validated, and many couples are somewhat dismayed by their efforts. What follows are some important points about the nature of matrimony that might help couples in this predicament to better understand the importance of having a sacramental marriage, and thus the importance of having their marriages validated by the Church.

Date posted: 2024-03-20

Christ's Redemption: An Explanation for Teachers

We are redeemed by the Incarnation of the Son of God, by his entire life, which of course includes his death. God sees each one of us when he beholds his Son, and so the Son's entire life and his offering of himself in the end redeems us, buys us back from darkness to light, from alienation from God to proximity to God in him, in Christ.

Date posted: 2024-03-15

The Mystery of Grace

We can refuse to cooperate with sufficient grace, and if we do so, that is our doing. But the mysterious side of this is that if we do cooperate with divine grace, that is itself a grace. Our cooperation is a grace, and the credit goes to God, not us.

Date posted: 2024-03-09

The Consecration of Married Life and the Authority of Christ

Authority comes from within; it has to do with the kind of person that you are, and it comes from a spirit of charity, holiness, humility, and perfect love casts out all fear, so it involves a spirit of fearlessness, which is very different from a spirit of audacity or boldness. The holier a person is, the greater is their authority, and it is an authority that others recognize.

Date posted: 2024-02-01

The Silence of Mary Theotokos

For those who do not have an interior life, who have not cultivated the habit of prayer throughout their lives, old age will slowly and inevitably become a very unpleasant ordeal. For those who have a rich interior life, those who pray and who know the joy of the Bridegroom's voice, who know the rich and subtle joy of hearing that eternal silence of the Word, growing old only creates the conditions for this joy to increase.

Date posted: 2024-01-09

Demands for Certainty Are Not Always Reasonable

We have a great deal of clarity in the Church when it comes to certain theological and moral questions, but pastoral questions bearing upon individual persons are full of ambiguity, unlike general moral questions like abortion or euthanasia.

Date posted: 2024-01-04

To Pray Without Ceasing

There are two types of people in this world: those who believe that this life is a preparation for eternal life, and those who believe that this life is all there is and that everything we do is only a preparation for life in this world. For those who do not have an interior life, who have not cultivated the habit of prayer throughout their lives, their final years and months are often very painful, very unpleasant, which is why euthanasia is becoming more popular. But those who have a rich interior life, those who have used the time in their lives to prepare for eternal life by learning to pray without ceasing, their final months or years, perhaps in a hospital bed, are not unbearable, and visiting these people is often a joy, because there is a deeper peace within them, and they are thankful. And the wonderful thing about them is that they are not asking to be euthanized. Instead of making their final act an act of rebellion and murder, their death becomes their final prayer, a final offering, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for all they've received throughout their lives.

Date posted: 2023-12-19

The Gift of Growing Old

You who have the gift of years have a rich world of experience that is unique, a unique source of knowledge, and our vocation is to spend time reflecting, in the presence of God, in silence, on that rich experience and allowing the Lord to bring to the surface insights that those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even 50s do not possess. They can't possibly possess them. They don't have the information, the data, they haven't lived long enough and they haven't spent enough time thinking about the experience they already have.

Date posted: 2023-12-16

A Concise Catechesis on Divine Grace for Teachers

One of the most important concepts in Catholic theology, without which the Catholic faith will make very little sense to our students, is divine grace. Although the religion curriculums I worked with over the years certainly covered many important topics, I did not think they covered the subject of grace adequately, which to a certain degree would keep students from seeing the faith as a coherent and interrelated whole. What follows is a concise treatment of the fundamental idea of divine grace.

Date posted: 2023-12-14

The Virtue of Prudence

The virtue of prudence is a very complex virtue, because it includes both the universal and the concrete. One needs rectitude of appetite in order to have prudence, but how does one know what constitutes right appetite without prudence? The bottom line is that one may be brilliant and learned without being morally good - because one does not have a good will, or one has disordered appetites - , but it is not possible to be prudent and not morally good.

Date posted: 2023-12-01

Dawkins, Simplicity, and Complexity

God is entirely, completely, and utterly simple. Every being other than God has a degree of complexity. But understanding this depends on an understanding of the real distinction between essence and existence.

Date posted: 2023-11-29

Catholic Education and Doctrinal Vacuums

Catholic education must begin at the roots, not at the surface, that is, not with issues that are on trend, and which happen in some way to dovetail with certain elements of the Catholic faith. It must begin with the mystery of Christ as the permanent and inexhaustible reservoir out of which our understanding of the world, its history, and the nature of man arise. It must ever more deeply penetrate the mysteries of the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Paschal mystery, the Eucharist, and the supernatural life of divine grace, and from this foundation draw out the moral and spiritual implications of living one's life as a new creation in the Person of Christ, for example, the requirements to a greater prudence, discernment, honesty, affability, purity, modesty, humility, courage, perseverance, magnanimity, natural piety, devotion to the common good and above all a single minded devotion to the kingdom of God.

Date posted: 2023-09-12

The Transfiguration and the Son of Man

We don't have divine glory by nature, but human beings seek it for themselves. They desire it, usurp it, and the kings and queens of history were glorified with an earthly glory that feigns divine glory, and yet there was nothing in any of these kings, queens, or princes that would demand such extraordinary treatment and worship. With Christ, we have the very opposite.

Date posted: 2023-08-07

Joy in the Wilderness

The more you give your lives over to God, the more interesting your life will become. You will no longer know the meaning of the word boredom. Give yourself to God and He'll take you on a journey that will be full of surprises.

Date posted: 2023-05-20

To Be Rooted in Christ

How does a person get to that point where he can become more shrewd, less gullible, not so easily taken in by popular trends that sound good on the surface, but on closer inspection reveal a dangerous rot? The answer is to become more rooted in the truth. But, what does it mean to be rooted in the truth? Whose truth? "What is truth?" as Pontius Pilate famously asked Jesus. In our gospel today, Christ provides the answer: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Date posted: 2023-05-04

The Image of the Shepherd

Many of us who practice faithfully tend to worry about those in our families who are lost, who have strayed, who are no longer part of the sheepfold, for whatever reason. But what I have noticed over the years is that some of these faithful Catholics who worry about their loved ones who have strayed some distance seem to have forgotten this image of Christ the good shepherd. This is not the image of one who stays inside, like a king Herod or a prince in his palace who feasts on the finest foods and who loves having everyone fawn all over him, who has others serve his every whim. Rather, this is the image of a shepherd, whose life is hard and who stays outside, who must have a fearless courage to confront wolves, thieves and robbers, who has a single-minded devotion to his sheep, each one of whom he knows by name.

Date posted: 2023-04-27

Indigenous Religion and the Sacrifice of the Mass

All that the indigenous dreamt of, believed in and articulated is affirmed by God and is brought to reality. We (Catholics) worship a murdered God, a crucified God, and from his body come the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands, the bread of life and the cup of salvation. To partake of this thanksgiving sacrifice is to enter into him, to live in him. Had we in the west paid more attention to the deeper significance of indigenous myth and allowed indigenous knowledge to open our eyes to what has always been present but hidden in our own theology, we would have become more fully cognizant of the deeper brotherhood that unites us all.

Date posted: 2023-04-24

From Tragedy to Glory

Christ's death and resurrection has reduced tragedy from the absolute to the relative. The crucifix, once a symbol of horror, has become a symbol of power, victory, and glory.

Date posted: 2023-03-25

The Necessity of Battle

The Christian is not called to a life of peace, rest, and tranquility. Peace and tranquility are only moments of reprieve in a long war; they are gifts from God, and although we would like that state of affairs to endure perpetually, as did Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Lord assures us we don't know what we are talking about and directs us to come down from that mountain to continue the struggle.

Date posted: 2023-03-15

Catholic Education and the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is an invisible kingdom that is here, within the confines of space and time, developing like a plant. The kingdom of God is the redemptive presence of God through the power of the reconciling Spirit. The specific task assigned to us is to bring the light of the gospel, the commands of Christ, and the message of Christ's forgiveness of sins to the students entrusted to us. We labor for the next 30 years or so, but in the end, the Lord will take our labors, all our works of charity, as a builder takes wood, glass, and steel, and he will make the final product.

Date posted: 2023-03-03

Postmodernism and Catholic Education

The role of the Catholic educator is in many ways to counter this postmodern culture because postmodernism is simply incompatible with the fundamental principles of the gospel, the basic principles of the Catholic faith, not to mention Judaism and Islam, even Sikhism and all the major world religions.

Date posted: 2023-02-25

The Sense of Sin and the Sense of the Divine

Synopsis: it is not possible to know God's mercy without a profound awareness of sin. If I have no sin, I am not in need of God's mercy. If I am aware of my sins and am aware of how undeserving I am of God's gifts, and if I am aware that I am addicted to certain sins and cannot free myself, and then suddenly I am told that I am forgiven of everything, that God has separated my sin from himself as far as the east is from the west (which means they will never meet), only then will I experience tremendous joy and relief.

Date posted: 2023-02-20

The Heart of a Shepherd

And if you know anything of the life of Don Bosco, you know that he too had the heart of a shepherd, the heart of Christ. Don Bosco was no "sanctuary priest". Rather, he went out in search of the lost, out into the streets to meet with the young and unemployed, to interact with them, to pay attention to them, to really know them.

Date posted: 2023-01-31

How does one deal with transgendered students?

In dealing with transgendered or transitioning Catholic students, there are two extremes Catholic teachers must avoid. The best approach is the middle way of loving those students, teaching them the faith in which they were baptized, and delighting in their gifts.

Date posted: 2023-01-27

God Seeks the Lowest Places

God, who is all powerful, is like water, which is why the new life of grace that is given in baptism is symbolized by water. God is always found in the lowest places, and the truly humble occupy the lowest places.

Date posted: 2023-01-27

Some Thoughts on Teaching Catholic Sexual Ethics

Sexual morality has become a rather difficult area to approach at both the high school and university levels. It is not easy to find the most effective approach that will allow students to begin to question popular sexual mores and at least begin to appreciate, to some degree, the beauty and wisdom of Catholic sexual ethics. The study of morality requires a tremendous amount of honesty with oneself and a genuine openness to personal moral reform, but these are moral virtues, and so the serious study of morality presupposes a degree of morally noble character; without it, a person will simply be indifferent to the science of ethics.

Date posted: 2022-12-02

Our Identity in the Kingship of Christ

Christ did not redeem us from sin and death through his Sermon on the Mount, nor did he redeem us through the miracles he worked, or the parables he taught. He redeemed us by his suffering and death, by the offering of himself on Good Friday. His kingship is the secret to our identity, who we really are and who we are meant to be.

Date posted: 2022-11-24

Safe Spaces and Safe Classrooms

The woke language of "safe spaces", "harmful" and "unsafe" classrooms simply has no place in Catholic elementary schools, high schools and universities. It is a language that has its roots in the absurd and self-refuting principles of postmodernism, completely incompatible and contrary to the fundamentals of a Judaic and Christian worldview.

Date posted: 2022-11-06

Necessary Conditions for Joy and Healing

We only really come to understand the Lord as a result of choosing to live that faith, to follow him first, to obey him in the dark, so to speak. There is no such thing as coming to understand first, and then acting on it after, after we are assured and have full understanding. Those who insist on that order always fall away, because they are left without understanding, without light.

Date posted: 2022-10-08

Looking Up and Looking Down

Just as a proud person is his own worst enemy, creating the conditions for endless problems and difficulties, the more you grow in humility, the more peaceful your life becomes. The problem is that pride blinds the mind, and so proud people do not notice their lack of humility; they are not embarrassed by it.

Date posted: 2022-08-26

I do not know where you come from

It's one thing to have Jesus in the head, but it is quite another thing to allow the light to enter into the heart, because the light chases the darkness, and some people are comfortable in the dark. I'm referring particularly to the darkness of anger, envy, pride, bitterness, hypercriticism, etc, and these vices, for many religious people, are like an old leather coat that is very comfortable to wear and so they won't part with it.

Date posted: 2022-08-23

Contemplatives in Action

A contemplative life without action would soon dry up and become lifeless, but an active life without contemplation is without ultimate purpose and quickly becomes neurotic and fanatical.

Date posted: 2022-07-23

Proclaiming the Kingdom

If the sick - and this includes the emotionally sick, those who are not well psychologically, as well as physically - , are in your presence and you have become Christ to a significant degree, you will bring healing to their souls, their emotional lives, and that can heal the body as well. And if you are full of light, you will drive out the darkness, because light chases the darkness, not the other way around. And so those who live in darkness, whose lives are entangled in the diabolical, will feel the difference in your presence, and they will either reject you in favor of darkness, or they will begin to escape the clutches of the evil that oppresses them.

Date posted: 2022-06-30

The New Eve

The First Eve brought death into the world through her own disobedience, infecting every member of the human race, the Second Eve brought life and light into the world through her own obedience and humility, affecting every member of the human race.

Date posted: 2022-06-09

Humanity: God's "Other Self"

At Christmas, God the Son descends and joins his divinity to our humanity. But today, on this solemn feast of the Ascension, God the Son takes that humanity and ascends to the right hand of the Father. At Christmas, divinity is humanized; today, that divinized humanity is raised and glorified.

Date posted: 2022-06-01

A Mountain of Treasure

When I speak about the rich heritage that is ours in the Church, I often think of the movie The Hobbit, the scene where Bilbo finds himself in this massive cave of treasure, walking on a mountain of jewels, gold and silver coins, diamonds, and precious stones, etc.; the camera moves to a panoramic angle, and you see how tiny he is in this massive cave. The Catholic heritage that you were born into is like that cave, but so much more, and our hope is that you explore that limitless cave for the rest of your lives.

Date posted: 2022-05-28

Some Thoughts on Same-Sex Love, Catholicism, and Catholic Education

For me personally, I find those who have same sex attraction and who are faithful Catholics committed to chastity are the best people to listen to and learn from; for they are humble enough to assent to the faith of the Church, and they speak from a rich reservoir of lived experience; their writing is concrete and down to earth, and profoundly spiritual.

Date posted: 2022-03-19

He Did Not Know What He Was Saying

The transfiguration was only a foretaste of the joy of heaven; there is much work to be done, much of it difficult, and so they descend the mountain. The way to the kingdom of God is always a way of the cross. And each one of us has our own unique way of the cross, our own unique vocation that comes with moments of great joy, and moments of sorrow, trials and difficulties.

Date posted: 2022-03-10

A Joyful Paradox

All these people experienced something extraordinary, much larger than their own lives; they encountered the divine holiness, and it was against this background that they felt their own profound unworthiness. It was a negative experience, but it was a necessary condition that made possible the magnificent and awe-inspiring experience of the divine.

Date posted: 2022-02-02

The Lord Delights in You

We tend to see ourselves as members of a larger group, and of course we are, but the problem is that the group can and often does overshadow the concrete person; for the person does not exist for the group, rather, the group exists for the person. The group as a whole is not a person, but you are a person. Christ, who is the Second Person of the Trinity of Persons, came to redeem the human person, and if you were the only person who needed to be redeemed, Christ would have come for you and you alone.

Date posted: 2022-01-14

Thoughts on Systems, Being, and the Superconscious

There are many avenues one may take to demonstrate the existence of God. As our starting point for this discussion, let's consider systems. There are all sorts of systems in the world: complex and non-complex-it does not matter what particular system we consider. A system is a multiplicity of some kind, and so it is made up of parts. If the system, whatever system we are talking about, depends upon its smaller units, which may in turn be systems, we can determine with certainty that there cannot be an infinite number of smaller units upon which a larger system depends.

Date posted: 2022-01-12

Objectification and Abortion

I've often wondered what it is that happens to some of these girls, as they go off to university, either to medical school or to university nursing programs, that changes them from their earlier pro-life position to their current pro-choice stance. There is no doubt in my mind that much of it has to do with peer pressure. But there is an irony in this.

Date posted: 2022-01-06

A Few Thoughts for the Feast of the Holy Family

If it is true that we only really know ourselves in community, especially and above all in the first and smaller community of the family, then we really do come to a deeper understanding of ourselves when we come to know the lives of the saints, because we come to a deeper understanding of our own larger family, our own siblings.

Date posted: 2021-12-26

Looking Forward

Just as Christmas looks towards the victory of Easter, at the same time we today look towards the victory of Christ’s Second Coming, when time will come to an end and he will usher in the fullness of the kingdom of God. It’s precisely that end that gives meaning to human history.

Date posted: 2021-11-26

Adele and some fundamentals about love

When love was identified with eros in the period of the late 60s and 70s, marriage went on the decline, and rapidly so. Adele says she's been on a journey to find her true happiness, but hopefully the majority of those ten million viewers understand that we only really find our true happiness when we no longer search for it, but forget about it, and focus on willing, despite our feelings, the true good of others, first and foremost our own spouse.

Date posted: 2021-11-24

Christ's Reign (homily: Christ the King 2021)

If this world is not heaven on earth, it means the kingdom that Christ established is still developing and expanding throughout history. That in turn means that Christ does not reign completely over the hearts of everyone. And if Christ does not reign over my heart completely, but only partially, then I am responsible for the effects that this incomplete dominion brings about in the world.

Date posted: 2021-11-11

The Faith of Bartimaeus

We would see many more miracles in our lives if we had the faith of Bartimaeus. Most people today do not see miracles, because they don't ask for them, and they don't ask for them because they don't really believe that God pays too much attention to them, that God really wants to permeate their lives with His joy, and so they don't believe He would answer their prayer if they turned to Him. But all we have to do is believe that he has the power and will to heal our lives, and have the humility to ask Him, to beg for His mercy, like Bartimaeus.

Date posted: 2021-10-22

What Would a Change in Catholic Moral Teaching Imply?

Those who advocate for a change in Church teaching on certain moral issues, such as contraception, or sexual expression between two people of the same sex, or even the ordination of women, etc., must seriously consider the implications of the idea. There are a number of angles from which to explore this. I would like to consider what the implications of a change in Church teaching (i.e., in matters of sexual ethics and some basic life issues) would imply with respect to the Church's moral authority, but I would like to do so from a mathematical point of view. I will attempt to show that a simple Bayesian probability calculus might be all we need to demonstrate that the Church would lose almost all of her moral authority if she were to proceed in this direction, a direction the German synodal path seems to be taking.

Date posted: 2021-10-21

Do Not Seek Heaven on Earth

A real irony about this life is that we really can't enjoy the things of this world unless we are indifferent to them.

Date posted: 2021-10-06

Natural Law for Catholic Educators. Part IV

Some actions have two effects simultaneously, a good effect and an evil effect. Such actions are genuine dilemmas. For example, if the police officer shoots, he will free the hostage, but he will also likely kill the perpetrator; if the doctor removes the cancerous uterus, he will save the woman's life, but removing the uterus will also kill the child. What does a person do in such a scenario? Good is to be done, and evil is to be avoided, but in these scenarios, it is not possible to avoid evil when good is to be done.

Date posted: 2021-09-28

Natural Law for Catholic Educators. Part III

Rights are not first moral principles. A right is nothing other than a corresponding obligation. Rights are derived from obligations which in turn are grounded in the precepts of natural law. In fact, the precepts of natural law are really just basic modes of responsibility.

Date posted: 2021-09-27

Natural Law for Catholic Educators. Part II

Unlike brute animals, the human person is a moral agent. The reason is that the human person has a will, and only those who possess the faculties of intellect and will are held responsible for the choices that they make. We don't hold cats and dogs responsible for the choices that they make, because we know they are governed by their sense appetites and instincts - they have no real choice in the matter. The human being, on the other hand, does have a choice to rise above his sense appetites and make reasoned choices.

Date posted: 2021-09-26

Natural Law for Catholic Educators. Part I

Morality is the study of right and wrong in human action. What are good human acts? What are evil acts and what is it that renders them evil? As such, morality is the study of "the good" in human action. That is why the study of morality must begin with an understanding of "the good".

Date posted: 2021-09-22

Disordered Passion (25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021)

This world we live in is very complex. In fact, it is inexhaustibly complex, and knowledge is very difficult to achieve precisely because of that complexity. But at the risk of oversimplifying reality, I will say that at the root of almost all our social problems today-and I emphasize almost-is really the inability or refusal to control passion, that is, to submit passion to the governance of reason.

Date posted: 2021-09-17


When a person is converted, his or her life takes on a new direction. What happens in conversion is that we discover how much we are loved by God. We are given a certain interior light that allows us to see in a way we never did before, that we really are known and loved by God. Such an experience changes us; it gives our life a new direction, a new center.

Date posted: 2021-09-04

All Glory and Honor are His (Homily: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Disillusionment can be a very difficult and dark experience that causes tremendous anxiety, but it is a very important experience, because the fact of the matter is we really can't do much on our own resources. But if, at that point, we turn to the Lord in a spirit of genuine humility and faith and hand everything we have over to him, then we will begin to see miracles.

Date posted: 2021-07-23

Inclusivity: What it Is and What it Isn't.

The word 'inclusivity' has come to mean many things, some of which is very different from - often contrary to - what it means in a genuinely Catholic context. The Church has always distinguished between a person's chosen course of action and the person herself (or himself). Persons are always included, because Christ died for all human persons, for he came to reconcile humanity to God. But for many people, inclusivity has come to mean accepting both the person and the person's lifestyle choice, whatever that turns out to be.

Date posted: 2021-07-17

The Privilege and Eminence of Teaching (Revised in 2021)

Because teaching is holy, the identity of the teacher can best be understood in the context of the threefold division of Christ's identity, namely that of priest, prophet, and king; for the revelation of this threefold identity is the revelation of our identity, that is, the revelation of the fundamental truth about humanity.

Date posted: 2021-07-14

Teaching Open Level Religion

Teaching open level can be a frightening prospect for many teachers, especially for young teachers recently graduated. But teaching open level can be a very rewarding experience, and the students who take these courses, we have found, often have a certain charm all their own. This article is an outline of some very general and practical principles to keep in mind if and when one is called upon to teach them. Education is communication, and no strategies, activities, or methods can replace real communication.

Date posted: 2021-07-13

Meaning and Eternity

It is the present that gives meaning to the past. If there is an eternal present, then it is not the case that all meaning eventually comes to naught, and if there is something in you that will never die, a sort of consciousness, then it is possible that the meaning of your own existence will endure forever.

Date posted: 2021-07-03

Theology of Apology

Since I am a living part of that living Mystical Body that came to be on Good Friday as blood and water flowed from his side, I can apologize on behalf of my brother or sister who has since died and who grieves for the damage his or her sins have caused others. I may be innocent of his sin, but I am deeply connected to him nevertheless.

Date posted: 2021-06-21

Ideological Thinking and Catholic Education

Catholic education must begin at the roots, not at the surface, that is, not with issues that are on trend, and which happen in some way to dovetail with certain elements of the Catholic faith. It must begin with the mystery of Christ as the permanent and inexhaustible reservoir out of which our understanding of the world, its history, and the nature of man arise.

Date posted: 2021-06-12

The Simplicity and Complexities of Love

The pastoral approach to ministering to a person requires a great deal of experience and a reasonably moderate degree of empathy. However, empathy can be inordinate, and inordinate empathy, like disordered passion, blinds the mind. I can become so empathetic and sensitive to how my words might affect individual students or members of a congregation that I begin to teach or preach at a level that is so general that my message becomes obvious, completely innocuous, and unchallenging, leaving the faithful/students as a whole entirely ignorant of the basic demands of the moral law, both natural and divine.

Date posted: 2021-06-08

Matrimony and the Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Mystery reveals the true significance of the mystery of marriage. It is not that marriage is primarily something natural and only later is given an added and secondary sacramental significance. Rather, just as it is the final Adam who fully reveals "man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear" (GS, 22), so too does matrimony, as an aspect of the Paschal Mystery, disclose the ultimate meaning of marriage.

Date posted: 2021-05-29

When God Betrays Us

How does someone pray to God when they feel let down or betrayed by God? The problem here is that this thinking is distorted; it is entirely wrong. God is not capable of betraying. God is perfect; God is Truth Itself, Goodness Itself, and Beauty Itself, or as the First Letter of John indicates, God is Love (4, 8). God does not let anyone down; for He is absolute Mercy.

Date posted: 2021-05-19

Adapting Curriculum: Making It Catholic

The key to adapting curriculum to a Catholic education lies in the faith of the teacher. The fundamental purpose of a Catholic education is to teach the faith. What makes a Catholic school a genuine Catholic institution is that each teacher, from his or her own unique vantage point, sees and interprets the world through a mind illuminated by the theological virtue of faith.

Date posted: 2021-05-13

Gender and the Divine Icon

Male and female are not human constructs but have a profoundly religious meaning, an iconographic significance. The liquidation of this duality, the attempt to splinter it into a multiplicity of pieces is a modern form of iconoclasm; it is an obscuring of the significance of this icon, if not an attempt to destroy it.

Date posted: 2021-05-08

A Closer Look at the Expression "Gospel Values"

One’s understanding of the expression “gospel values” will be as profound as one’s understanding of the gospel. Unfortunately, many do not take the time to read and study Scripture, and so their understanding of the gospel is rather vague, general, very selective, and sentimental. The gospels are sober, often challenging, not easy to embrace, divisive and rather offensive to unbelievers. It is best not to rest content in one’s current understanding of Christ’s proclamation, but to study it more fully, to pray the Scriptures and penetrate more deeply into their meaning.

Date posted: 2021-05-05

The Benevolence Behind the Moral Law

Very few people see the natural moral law, not to mention divine law, as anything other than unjust impositions that unnecessarily limit our freedom to do what we think will make us happy. That's why so many get angry when they hear that certain choices and courses of action are immoral and forbidden by natural or divine law. But the intention behind the natural moral law is the good, that is, integral human flourishing or well-being. Behind that law is a law giver who is benevolent, namely God Himself.

Date posted: 2021-05-03

The Teacher as Living Temple

The temple of Christ's body becomes ours through the Eucharist. We become his "father's house", his dwelling place. And that's what we bring into the classroom every day. That's how we evangelize. All we have to do is be that temple, the temple of his body. This is the great dignity that is ours, called by Christ to be teachers of youth. We are given the inconceivably unique and noble privilege of being a living temple for our students. Without the kids knowing it necessarily, they are brought into the vicinity of the new temple precincts - if we have become that temple, that body of Christ, by our devotion, our prayer life, and our frequent reception of the Eucharist.

Date posted: 2021-03-27

Sex, Marriage, and LGBTQ: A Response to Questions by Prospective Teachers

We all have our own struggles. Whatever road the Lord calls us to walk, there will be sacrifices we will have to make, battles against ourselves and our own unique proclivities that we will have to engage in, but our eternal happiness is precisely at the end of that road. When people come to chart out their own unique battlefield and specific road that the Lord is calling them to, with all the sacrifices they will be required to make, they begin to experience a joy that they didn't think was possible.

Date posted: 2021-03-23

Points of Clarification on Consuming the Flesh and Blood of Christ

The word "flesh" (Hb basar) refers to the whole living man, that is, the total person. In the context of the gospel of John, it designates "the physical reality of the body", that is, the total person as a physical reality. To receive the Eucharist is to consume the entire physical reality of Christ.

Date posted: 2021-01-27

A Concise Moral Catechesis

Most people see morality is restrictive: can't do this, can't do that, etc. But it is really about becoming more fully the person God intends for us to become. When God sees us, he looks at us through rose colored glasses. Yes, he sees us in all our warts and defects, but He sees us as He intends us to be; He sees us in all the perfection and splendor that is ours as He intends us to be in the Person of Christ. The moral life is about achieving that image, becoming a unique Christ, that Christ which He can be only in you individually.

Date posted: 2021-01-15

Tubal Ligation and Achondroplasia

Tubal Ligation involving a woman with Achondroplasia is not necessarily contraceptive. In cutting and tying the fallopian tubes, the surgeon is performing an act that is part of a series of acts that has as its proximate end the preservation of the life of the mother, or the prevention of a state of affairs that includes a dangerous delivery. Although it may appear to be a contraceptive action, a case of projecting a possible baby and preventing that possible baby from becoming an actual baby, it is not necessarily so.

Date posted: 2021-01-09

A Thought for Anyone Disturbed by Conspiracy Theories and Messages of Doom

When we consider Isaiah 55, 9 in light of the possible plots, schemes and conspiracies that the wicked are alleged to be engaged in, we should know that God's ways are inconceivably higher and his thoughts inconceivably above theirs.

Date posted: 2020-12-12

The Greatest Evil

If slavery, genocide, environmental destruction, poverty, hunger, and involuntary organ transplantation are evils, then abortion is clearly and unambiguously the greatest evil of this and the last century. That most people can't see this is arguably the next greatest evil - a blind spot spawned by an inability to make moral distinctions and arrive at moral conclusions on the basis of reason, instead of sentiment, group think, or a disordered love of one's livelihood.

Date posted: 2020-12-05

Dying on the Battlefield (Homily)

Think of the company that we are destined to keep in heaven: not only our relatives, our grandparents and great grandparents and theirs, but all who have gone before us, the great saints, the great popes, the great martyrs who fought valiantly and who underwent tremendous suffering for Christ and whose lives were far more difficult than ours are today, and who faced far more ominous threats. We have to live our lives in such a way that in their mighty company, and in the company of Christ the King, we shall not be ashamed.

Date posted: 2020-11-18

Marked with the Seal of the Living God

The world will always hate those marked with the seal of the living God. The reason is that those who belong to Christ are radically different; the fundamental orientation of their lives is different, their thinking is different because their hearts are different, and the Beatitudes in today's gospel are the basic contours of the heart of one who is a new creation in Christ, marked with his seal.

Date posted: 2020-11-16

Glory to God in the Highest

When our efforts in this life are entirely directed to His glory first and foremost, only then will there be peace in the world, peace in our nation, peace in our cities, and peace in our homes.

Date posted: 2020-10-23

Praying the Rosary and Praying in the Spirit

The rosary is indeed an instance of praying in the Spirit, not essentially different from praying in tongues. Charismatic spirituality is not everyone's cup of tea, but the rosary has a much wider appeal and is a more fundamental aspect of Catholic spirituality.

Date posted: 2020-10-20

Some Thoughts on Knowledge and the Logic of Conspiracy

Fundamentalism tends to dispose a person to conspiratorial thinking. A conspiratorial disposition has its roots in a statistical fallacy, among many other factors. I am referring to a common inductive error, an error in conditional and probabilistic reasoning, in particular, the fallacy of the transposed conditional.

Date posted: 2020-10-09

Finding the Eternal in the Present Moment

The meaning contained in the present moment overflows or exceeds what the limited present can contain, and memory gives us a glimpse of it, a glimpse of something we knew and experienced at the time but were not fully and consciously able to articulate. It was an unconscious or preconscious possession, because in joining himself to a human nature, the Son as it were joined himself to every man.

Date posted: 2020-10-03

We Know Not What We Do

We sin knowingly and freely, so we are responsible before God, but Christ said it nevertheless: "They know not what they do". In other words, for the most part, we are not aware of the full implications of our behavior. For some people, that might not matter - they will choose evil anyways, because they love evil. But for those who try to love God, understanding the full implications of our choices would indeed matter, and we would be filled with regret. And so the Lord is merciful and gives us opportunities throughout our lives to grow and to better see the damage our sins have done, and to repent.

Date posted: 2020-09-09

Taking Seriously the Prophetic Office (Homily)

The pressure we feel today is not to teach these commandments. But we have to decide on our own who we are going to follow: the world that pressures us to shut up and will actually reward us for our silence, or Christ, who will hold us responsible for our silence, but reward us eternally for choosing to exercise our prophetic office.

Date posted: 2020-09-01

Some Thoughts on the Recent Negative Commentary on Vatican II

History is exceedingly complex; for there are innumerable factors and combinations of factors that account for what we have witnessed in the post conciliar years. Understanding history is not like watching a single passenger train go by; rather, it is more like being inside one train among countless others, assigned to one seat and looking out the window. No matter how much we study history, in the end we are only left with one or more relatively thin fibers of a narrative.

Date posted: 2020-08-27

The Church has only Christ to Give

The Church has only one thing to give the world, and that is Christ. That's it. The specific answers to the many questions we have asked and will ask will either go unanswered for the most part, or they are slowly answered as the world makes its way through history. And, of course, the Church is not a welfare system. The Church can give only one thing: and that is Christ.

Date posted: 2020-08-08

Desiring Wisdom

If you really want to know who a person really is, there is no need to look to his academic achievements, for example, or the honors and awards he has received throughout his life. All you need to know is what this person ultimately wants; for you are what you will.

Date posted: 2020-07-31

True and False Wheat

What Christ is calling attention to in this parable is a very important point about man's fundamental epistemic situation. We think we know people, that we can "read them" well, but for the most part we don't and we can't. We very often rush to judgment, believing that this person is "the greatest thing since sliced bread", only to discover years later that they had us completely hoodwinked. And the opposite is true: we infer that a particular person will amount to very little in the end, and yet they turn out to be a great success.

Date posted: 2020-07-25

The Heart of Evil

God is not helpless in the face of evil. The hearts of everyone, including the most evil among us, are under the providential hand of God. We don't have to fear the evil that is in the world, evil that springs from one of these three descriptions of the human heart, but we do have to pray that God is shaping our hearts to be the rich soil, disposed to receive his word, to listen to it and to cooperate with it, to accept our tiny place in this very long and complex history so that He may do with us what He wills, to achieve His purpose.

Date posted: 2020-07-11

Sex and the Sacred

Consider how rape crisis centers describe the trauma women experience as a result of rape. The trauma is shattering; rape victims are shamed, they feel alone, they are plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, and their perception of the world is radically altered - the world no longer appears as a safe place. Their ability to trust others has been seriously compromised; some victims no longer even trust themselves. The violation that rape is reaches to the deepest region of the person. What this points to indirectly is that sex concerns the deepest regions of the human person.

Date posted: 2020-06-12

Contraception and the Conjugal Significance of the Sexual Act

Catholic teaching on contraception is difficult for many couples to appreciate at this period in history, as it was for me in my early days in university. Yet, that difficulty was precisely why the issue interested me at the time - the teaching against contraception was as convincing to me as the Mormon precept against drinking coffee. What could possibly be wrong with using contraception in the context of a committed married relationship, especially one already open to children?

Date posted: 2020-05-25

What Makes a Good Marriage?

What makes a good marriage? Most people would think it somewhat similar to the question: "What makes a good vacation?" The criterion for the latter is, of course, enjoyment. Did we enjoy ourselves? Did we get to see and experience lots? Was it exciting? Would you go again? What makes a "good marriage" would have to be congruent with that which "makes a marriage" in the first place, and what "makes" a marriage is the conjugal intention of the couple.

Date posted: 2020-05-23


This life is not about passing all your exams, it's not about getting a job, getting married, having kids, etc. This life is about learning how to pray. It is about learning to depend upon God. This life is about preparing for eternity. And the first step to preparing for eternity is prayer. Communication with God.

Date posted: 2020-04-29

The Relativization of Tragedy

For those who have suffered great tragedy in life, their entire identity no longer has to be defined by that tragedy. It has been made relative. Tragedy no longer has the final word over your life, over my life, over any human life. The answer to that tragedy is the resurrection of Christ.

Date posted: 2020-04-29

Divine Mercy Sunday

The divine justice has been revealed as divine mercy. We see that mercy in the image of the cross, but the work we have yet to do is to allow that image of his incomprehensible mercy to move from the outside to the inside, from an object that we contemplate on the outside, to a light and love that we know from within ourselves. To achieve that completely takes a lifetime, but the day we begin to make our way down that road is the day we begin to live.

Date posted: 2020-04-18

COV-19 and the Poor Logic of Chastisement

It is difficult to believe that some Catholics have begun to talk about the COVID-19 as a divine chastisement. This is a very Old Testament mindset, and it is a dangerous posture, but one that is very attractive to those of a fundamentalist bent.

Date posted: 2020-04-15

Knowledge: Forbidden and Unforbidden

There is a knowledge that is the fruit of the self-expansion of love, and this knowledge is non-conceptual; it is much richer than conceptual knowing, for it is an offspring of genuine love; it is the knowledge of an expanded being. The knowledge that results from this self-expansion is the fruit of humility, obedience to divine and natural law, the fruit of charitable service that is genuinely self-sacrificial. There is, however, a knowledge that is forbidden because it is the fruit of an action that is not self-expansive, but self-diminishing.

Date posted: 2020-03-28

Some Thoughts on Sanity, Theology, and Change

There is a sense that being out of touch with "reality" is a matter of degree. I contend that the more we come to understand the inductive nature of knowledge acquisition and its implications, we should begin to see that we are always, to some degree at least, out of touch with reality.

Date posted: 2020-03-11

You are the Salt of the Earth: A Reflection on Christ's One-Track Mind

What does it mean to become useless in the eyes of Christ? People are useful when they serve a purpose. And there are countless goals that people have in life, so many that virtually everyone can be put to use in some way. But Christ has a purpose, and his purpose is not the same as anyone else's in this world, and it is more important than any other in this world.

Date posted: 2020-02-12

Allowing Oneself to Be Influenced

Mary sees the world with a mind and heart into which the darkness of sin has never entered, and so she enjoys a light that is inaccessible to anyone who has ever tasted sin. And yet she listens to the Shepherds with amazement, and what they tell her she treasures, she values, protects, holds on to, and ponders. She is learning from them because she has listened to them. The first century rabbis would have found it inconceivable to listen much less learn from shepherds.

Date posted: 2020-01-02

A Message of Salvation

One does not need "faith" to believe that God exists; to believe that God saves, however, does require the gift of faith. Human reason cannot demonstrate that God saves. That has been revealed in this reading from Isaiah: "Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you."

Date posted: 2019-12-17

Thoughts on the Immaculate Conception

As the knowledge and taste of sin increases, our capacity to know this world from the angle of innocence, in all its richness, is dulled. The first Eve was tempted to enjoy the pseudo sophistication of being her own god, and that is what she chose - her husband, who was with her, also made the same choice. Mary, on the contrary, had no knowledge of this sort. And because she was without this knowledge, she possessed another kind of knowledge, one that is outside our capacity to acquire.

Date posted: 2019-12-09


Two themes emerge from these readings today, and these are warfare, and persistence in prayer. Persistence is very relevant today, because anyone who is a teacher or who works with young people, knows that fewer and fewer students there are today who are able to persist at a difficult task unless there is some kind of reward that is almost immediate and that accompanies the task.

Date posted: 2019-11-10

The Lottery Paradox and Reasonable Hope

The lottery paradox is a probability problem that is resolved mathematically, but the theological paradox of having a reasonable hope that everyone is saved against the backdrop of the biblical assertions about hell is not resolved mathematically. Rather, it is a paradox that remains; for it is a lived paradox, and a hopeful one.

Date posted: 2019-10-24

Advice for Newly Married Couples

If I were asked to offer some advice to couples marrying in the Church today, I think I would first advise them to be skeptical of the current cultural understanding of marriage. I think most people don't really understand what marriage is anymore. What is it that couples want when they say they want to be married - as opposed to simply living together? Most people have a very difficult time with that question.

Date posted: 2019-08-22

Genuine and False Prophets

It does not follow that because someone is divisive, he is not from God. And of course, it does not follow that because someone is divisive, he or she is a genuine prophet; there are lots of false prophets who are divisive. It's not divisiveness that qualifies or disqualifies them. It is Christ that is the distinguishing factor, and Christ tends to divide. Those who do not belong to God hate the truth that Christ is; they love pleasure more than they love the truth. Truth is larger than us, we have to conform to it, not the other way around. Those who are ready and willing to conform to something larger, like Truth, are not uncomfortable when they hear the truth proclaimed

Date posted: 2019-08-22

The Ladder of Prayer

When we've been immersed in a life of prayer for so long, prayer of adoration becomes a real possibility, just as when we have a long and tested friendship, it's enough to be in one another's presence; lots of words are not necessary. But the first step on this ladder is the persistent prayer of petition, which leads to the prayer of thanksgiving, which leads to the prayer of intercession, which in turn leads to a deeper prayer of thanksgiving, which gives way to the prayer of praise and then silent adoration.

Date posted: 2019-08-01

Some Thoughts on Father James Martin's Building a Bridge

The very idea of such a book is timely, and it is an essential work of ministry; in fact, you could say that building bridges is an essential part of the Church's mission. Father Martin rightly laments what he sees as a great divide that exists between the "LGBTQ community" and "the Church", an "us and them" mentality. It seems, however, that to embrace that very label - "LGBTQ community" - only perpetuates and crystallizes that divide.

Date posted: 2019-07-07

Rigidity, Pope Francis, and the Difficulties of Achieving Knowledge

"Only when we get a firm grasp of the central and highly sensitive role that information plays in the process of plausible reasoning will we come to appreciate the importance of dialogue, something Pope John XXIII understood very well. After two good popes who have been very clear and definitive about some of the fundamentals of ethics and doctrine, I believe it is fitting and complementary that we now have a Pope who challenges those who speak with a rhetoric of absolute confidence and who fail to appreciate the evolutionary nature of knowledge acquisition, especially theological knowledge.

Date posted: 2019-06-29

Pentecost and the Priesthood of the Faithful

We are all priests--assuming that we have been baptized and anointed; we participate in the royal priesthood of Christ (1 Pt 2, 9), and the ministerial priesthood exists precisely to serve this larger priesthood of the faithful. If we don't recognize our priesthood and mistakenly believe that the Church is to be identified with the clergy, then we will fail to see how our work, our gifts, our natural talents, fit into the overall life and work of the Church.

Date posted: 2019-06-14

This is how all will know

If we love what Christ loves, if we identify with those whom he loves, others will know that we are different, unusual, that we belong to someone else.

Date posted: 2019-05-22

The Various Kinds of Prayer: A Treatise for Young People

A life without prayer is in many ways death, for this life is about learning how to pray. There are various kinds of prayer, and these types of prayer form a kind of hierarchy, from the lowest to the highest. To know something about these kinds of prayer and their order in relation to one another is to know something about the very structure of human and spiritual development.

Date posted: 2019-05-11

A Point by Point Commentary on Brandan Robertson's "Rethink Sex"

The only problem is who is going to decide precisely where the sexual guardrails are to be installed? Who is going to provide the standard of moderation, restraint, and respect when it comes to sexual matters? Why should anyone restrain themselves according to Brandan's criterion? Perhaps moving the guardrails do not go far enough. Perhaps they should be removed altogether, especially if one's personal experience suggests as much. Whose boundaries should we look to? The boundaries Christ drew or the boundaries that Brandan now draws? Brandan expects others who are reasonable to go along with him (Brandan), while Christ expects us to go along with him (Christ). Into which basket are you going to put your eggs?

Date posted: 2019-04-08

The Residual Fallacy

The residual fallacy is a pervasive statistical fallacy that involves assuming that all unexamined factors that might contribute to an explanation of a particular phenomenon are equal, such that all remaining differences in outcome can be attributed to discrimination.

Date posted: 2019-03-30

Thoughts on White Privilege

The concept "white privilege" is just that, a concept, an abstraction. It is a general category, and it is a concept rooted in Marxism, which is a paradigm, a conceptual framework, a narrative in which certain pieces of data are filtered in order to provide a coherent worldview. A paradigm is a model of reality. The problem with models, as any scientist knows, is that reality always seems to exceed the model, as new data eventually shows. In other words, models are simplifications, but reality is highly complex.

Date posted: 2019-03-26

Some Thoughts on Human Life, War, and the Possibility of Peace

The world has not achieved peace because the nations of the world insist on doing things their way, not God's way - and God's way is laid out in these readings today.

Date posted: 2019-01-06

The God of Surprise

Everything about our faith is a surprise. Although the Messiah was expected, it was not expected that God would join a human nature to himself and dwell among us. That the Messiah was to be a warrior like David was expected, but the surprise is that Christ came to defeat not the Roman Empire, but sin and death through his death. That Jesus would die on a cross was entirely unexpected, even after the disciples were told three times that it will happen. That Jesus rose from the dead was the final surprise. The beginning, middle, and end of his life was one monumental surprise.

Date posted: 2018-12-29

Knowledge and Religious Unity

The Son of God, the Word, is present to every man, because he has united himself in a certain way to each man, and a person does not have to be a member of the visible Catholic Church to respond to that presence, which is a "redemptive presence" within the deepest nature of the human person.

Date posted: 2018-10-29

A Short Message to Catholic Principals

The decisions that administrators are required to make on a daily basis typically exceed the natural prudence of an individual person; there are too many contingencies and not enough experience to handle, in accordance with the will of God, the many problems and dilemmas with which administrators are daily confronted. A principal needs to be open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit; but these gifts remain useless if a person does not pray.

Date posted: 2018-10-15

Some Thoughts on the Nature of the State

Many young people today are easily lured by socialism. There are a number of factors that might explain this, but this article focuses on one factor in particular: a very real intellectual habit that has deep roots in the history of classical thought, namely the tendency to reify an abstraction, that is, to regard what is only a general idea inside the mind as a real "thing" outside the mind.

Date posted: 2018-09-22

Opportunism and Power

Evil has no power, only the power that you give to it. Evil exists in high places because individual persons permit it, they go along with it, all because they love their short lives more than they love the good.

Date posted: 2018-08-25

A word on St. John the Baptist

At the beginning of John's life is a message about the sanctuary of the womb, and at the end of his life is a message about the sacredness of marriage. Between these two points, John's life is a message about this life as a preparation for eternal life, and we prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his path in our own life not by indulging in the pleasures of this world, but by prayer and penance and faithfully carrying out the mission that was given to us from God before he formed us in the womb.

Date posted: 2018-07-09

Burley's Principle and Moral Integration

The human person is a single entity, but a morally complex whole. The human person is a moral system, so to speak. Just as a contrary-to-fact assumption has far reaching implications, that is, as new information inconsistent with our current set of data requires us to readjust that set in order to restore consistency and establish maximal plausibility, so too something similar takes place within the fabric of a person's complex moral nature; certain actions are inconsistent with the overall demands of right reason, and making peace with such actions has far reaching implications.

Date posted: 2018-06-08

Thoughts on Collective Responsibility and Identity Politics

Identity politics involves, among other things, a categorical error; it confuses moral categories with categories that are entirely outside the moral domain. A nation is a moral agent as is an individual person, but "Caucasian" is not, nor is female, male, Hispanic, etc. To even feel one has to pay a black teenager double the price one would pay a white teenager for mowing one's lawn, in order to do one's part in making restitution for the sufferings of black people in the past, is to experience a false sense of responsibility.

Date posted: 2018-06-02

Leibniz's Modal Proof of God's Existence

If the Necessary Being is possible, then the Necessary Being exists. Why? Because the Necessary Being necessarily exists, otherwise it is not the Necessary Being. Hence, the Necessary Being necessarily exists.

Date posted: 2018-05-22

Fundamental Points on the Relationship between Rights and Obligations

Rights are not first principles; rather, obligations are first principles. Rights are derived from fundamental human obligations towards human goods. Wherever there is a genuine right, there is a prior or more fundamental obligation. If there is no obligation, then there is no genuine right.

Date posted: 2018-05-19

Attempting to Define Art

If the expression of the beautiful is part of the very essence of what it means to be a work of art, then Fountain is certainly not a work of art; if a work need only say something that possibly even needs to be said, and said within an artistic milieu, then it would seem that Fountain is a work of art.

Date posted: 2018-04-29

The Resurrection and Fear

If we have the gift of faith, it means we have the ability to believe that Christ was raised, and that means we have the ability to rise above our fear of death, and if we can rise above our fear of death, then we can rise above any other fear that enters our lives.

Date posted: 2018-04-16

Cultural Marxism and Some Logical Basics

Cultural Marxism is very popular on college and university campuses because many professors are cultural Marxists, and young students do not know enough of the fundamentals of logic to see through its fundamental inversion, which consists of starting with a grand idea and interpreting the evidence accordingly. The logic of the scientific method, however, demands just the opposite.

Date posted: 2018-02-22

Some Thoughts on Consciousness and Neurochemistry

Since the reductionist identifies my perception and awareness of you with neurochemical processes in my brain, and since he is aware of those neurochemical processes of which I am not aware, then it would seem to follow that if he is right, he should be aware of my awareness of you.

Date posted: 2018-02-12

A Brief Response to Michael Pakaluk's "the Case against the Case"

Although I am not a "New Natural Lawyer", I don't believe these philosophers are the dim-witted amateurs that they would have to be if Pakaluk's objections had never occurred to them, and I believe I can defend this valuable and useful school of thought from what I believe are his inadequate objections.

Date posted: 2018-02-05

Some Points on Plausible Reasoning

Today, it is typical for people to assert their opinions with an inordinate degree of confidence. The increasing erosion of the right to free speech is grounded in this very confidence; one may not hold views contrary to the cultural orthodoxy, because that orthodoxy describes a set of propositions, theses, contentions, etc., whose truth values are thought to be settled matters. Of course, they rarely are.

Date posted: 2018-02-05


Without the regular reception of the sacrament of confession, we are just living an exterior religious life. There's simply no way we can live every day without committing venial sins, which very slowly and gradually tarnish the interior of the soul. In the depths of that interior is a mirror that reflects the divine light to our unconscious mind, and we begin to see ourselves in that mirror.

Date posted: 2018-01-23

Thoughts on Anatta, Individuality and Religion

I will argue that the Hindu, Buddhist, and Judeo-Christian anthropology need not be irreconcilable; they are different articulations resulting from the emphasis of different aspects of the human person.

Date posted: 2017-12-05

Christ Lives!

But if I become Christ, by increasingly decreasing, as John the Baptist would say, and if my students like what they see - especially the more I decrease and he increases -, then these kids are becoming familiar with Christ without necessarily knowing it. If we have truly been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us, and our Muslim or Hindu or Sikh or Jewish neighbors like what they see in us and are drawn to what they see in us, that is, if they embrace us, they embrace Christ.

Date posted: 2017-11-19

The Mountain of the Lord

Many were invited to the wedding, and many refused the invitation; they took it lightly, for they had other business to attend to. And this is typical, even today. Many people will come to this banquet, the Mass - which is a real wedding banquet in which we feast on the bread of life and in which we become joined to the bridegroom in a one flesh union - when they have time, if there is nothing more important to do, as if there is something in this world that is more important than preparing for eternal life.

Date posted: 2017-10-30

These Students are not as Smart as Last Year's!

One cannot measure the quality of a mind on the basis of its ability to grasp one aspect of reality (i.e., the focus of a particular science). To do so is to commit the fallacy of reductionism, which involves reducing the real to one aspect - usually the one aspect that the reductionist is interested in (i.e., physics).

Date posted: 2017-10-30

A Strange Dialogue between X and Y

Desire always follows upon knowledge. If you and I desire a happiness that is complete, sufficient unto itself, and enduring, then at some level I must know that which gives rise to such desire.

Date posted: 2017-09-30

Modes of Religious Expression

There is a distinction between the linguistic mode of expression (i.e., signs and symbols) and the invisible meanings expressed through that particular communicative system; similarly, the God who is worshipped is distinct from the particular religious expression and doctrinal articulation of a specific religion (what that religion teaches)

Date posted: 2017-09-26

Some Thoughts on the Religious Sense

The experience of our own contingency is something all of us have, and this sense of our own contingency is especially heightened when we are young. This experience is fundamentally a profound realization that my existence is not necessary (i.e., contingent), that I need not be here; my existence is not necessary. This experience is one of radical dependency. I am not sufficient unto myself, I depend radically on someone or something. With further experience I come to the realization that this dependency is multi aspectual. It is this experience that is the source of a naturally religious sense.

Date posted: 2017-08-03

Thoughts on the Trastevere

There is so much about the history of that piazza that I am unaware of and will always be unaware of; there is a veritable cognitive inexhaustibility about that little place that I am familiar with. I could spend more time there and if I did so, my understanding of it would gradually increase, especially if I had access to a historian, a geologist, an architect, and a carpenter perhaps. After a time, I would very likely not look at that piazza the same way again, just as we do not look at anything we come to know more fully the same way as we did initially

Date posted: 2017-06-01

Thoughts on Fundamentalism and Dogmatism

Reality is always much richer than we currently realize, which is why science continues to develop. Very few good scientists are "dogmatists"; they know that eggs placed in today's "scientific basket" will likely be overturned tomorrow, and thus they have a greater appreciation for the tentativeness of truth. Fundamentalists do not for a minute believe that truth is tentative.

Date posted: 2017-05-20

A Muslim and a Christian on the Road to Emmaus

Study is important, but through study we come to know about God, in prayer we come to know God. Discussion and debate are one thing, and they have their place, but they don't take us into the heart of God. Only the heart can reach the heart of God, and it is in the heart of God that we discover who our neighbor is.

Date posted: 2017-05-04

The Logic of Ideological Narratives

Ideological political narratives have always been attractive because they "make sense" out of a reality that is highly complex. But that is part of the problem; reality is too complex to be adequately explained by a simple narrative. Political narratives, however, remain an attractive alternative, especially for young people, because the ambiguity of a complex world is not as emotionally satisfying as the clarity of a simple worldview provided by the narrative.

Date posted: 2017-04-09

Pope Francis and the Dogmatism of Youth

As a young man, if I couldn't see the danger, it simply didn't exist. In other words, the world was as large and complex as my conceptual framework through which I interpret it. What the young person is unaware of is that his conceptual framework is not very large at all, much less is it complex. Hence, the solutions to the world's problems are really quite simple, and almost every young person has them, precisely because the world is no larger than his epistemic frame of mind. Hence, the dogmatism of youth

Date posted: 2017-01-03

Yahweh is Salvation

If God will restore everything that we freely give up for love of Him, if we really believe that he will restore us because he loves us, then the moral life ceases to be a burden. In fact, a life in pursuit of moral integrity, a life involving sacrifice and service to others becomes our joy, not a painful and heavy burden to carry. If a person does not have this supernatural faith, Catholicism can only appear to be a collection of burdensome rules and moral restrictions, and that's what it is for a great many people in this world - which is perhaps why they have issues with Catholicism.

Date posted: 2016-11-09

Searching for Wisdom

Wisdom goes out looking for anyone who desires her; she anticipates those who look for her, and this means that if a person is not wise, if a person lacks the wisdom of God, it is because they don't desire to find her, for if they did, wisdom would have found them immediately.

Date posted: 2016-10-24

Human Constraints and Knowing the Will of God

"How in the world am I to know what God wants me to do? How do I know what the will of God is?" Perhaps what needs to be done. And it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to want to do what needs to be done, and with an effectiveness that is beyond our natural ability.

Date posted: 2016-05-17

Various Thoughts on the Limitations of Human Knowing

The limitations that matter and sense perception impose on us affect every level of human awareness and cognition. If we fail to appreciate the role that subjective epistemic conditions play in the genesis of our knowledge, we may end up believing that the epistemic model or conceptual framework through which we see and interpret the real is far more comprehensive than it actually is.

Date posted: 2016-05-13

Recognizing the Voice of the Shepherd

If someone is a true prophet, that is, a genuine mouthpiece of God, you will recognize it immediately, but only if you know Christ's voice from within you first, and you will know his voice from within you only if you have allowed him into you.

Date posted: 2016-04-18

Some Thoughts on Vincible and Invincible Ignorance

The history of science is a history of errors, a history of failed hypotheses and inadequate models. It is, in short, the history of failure. And yet consider how much better our lives are as a result of the progress of science. Our own individual lives are very much like the history of science; a series of failures, and for the vast majority of the time we have been walking in the dark; but that series of failures remains the very means of success.

Date posted: 2016-03-26

The Divine Exchange

Each one of us has our own personal battle, but our battle can now be won; for Christ was victorious over Satan in the desert. To win our own battle, he only asks us to give him our humanity. In return, he will give us his divinity: "You give me your humanity, and I will give you my divinity. With my divinity, you will rise above sin, and ultimately, you will enter into the unimaginable joy of eternal life". This gospel shows us just what is involved in that exchange.

Date posted: 2016-02-27

Some Thoughts on Utilitarianism and the Good as Such

A young student of mine recently expressed his inability to see the sense in the absolute precept that "one must not do evil to achieve good". Returning to the scenario of a man who is given the option to push a button, which will release carbon monoxide into the home of a family of five, killing all five in the middle of the night, or not push the button, in which case thousands would be summarily executed by a brutal tyrant in retaliation for not killing those five, he could not for the life of him understand how the decision not to push the button would constitute a morally responsible choice.

Date posted: 2016-01-18

Creating Domestic Anchors

There are all sorts of anchors that influence us in ways we are not explicitly aware of. There are cultural anchors, and many of them are moral anchors, which are culturally accepted standards, and today the moral anchors of contemporary popular culture are very low, but so few are aware of it. The only way to move civilization forward is through the creation of domestic anchors--the moral anchors that are established in the context of the family.

Date posted: 2016-01-02

Why God Became Man

The great lesson human beings have to learn is that our glory is humility, not intelligence. Wisdom is the result of having a great deal of experience in being wrong, and only those with memory can benefit from such experience; everyone is wrong most of the time, but so few there are who remember it, who do not suppress the experience and who will instead reflect upon it.

Date posted: 2016-01-02

You Are What You Will

Our choices determine our moral identity, and in heaven, we will wear our identity like clothing. In this world, our clothing conceals us, in heaven, our clothing reveals our deepest moral identity, who we are. It will be either beautiful clothing that reveals a beautiful moral identity, or it will be not so beautiful clothing, in which case we will flee from the gaze of God and the communion of saints in shame.

Date posted: 2015-12-04

You Know the Commandments

Where you are headed is just as much defined by "where not to go" as it is by "where to go". We live in a broken world; fetal body parts are for sale, men are leaving their wives and children for the younger looking woman at the office, countless men are addicted to Internet pornography, people are selling their souls for financial security, but so many are smitten by Pope Francis' message of love because many of them really believe that because he speaks generally and does not get down to specifics that the specifics don't matter.

Date posted: 2015-10-12

The Touch of Christ Heals

Only when the deaf man was alone with Christ did healing take place. It's not enough to be in a crowd of believers, standing on the coat tails of their faith, so to speak. You have to go off to be alone with Christ; you have to come to know him and know yourself through his eyes.

Date posted: 2015-09-12

Costly Grace

The world prefers cheap grace; in fact, it prefers everything cheap, at the lowest cost possible. For some things, such as food, clothing, and housing, this is reasonable; resources are scarce. For other things, however, we best keep in mind that "you get what you pay for", as the saying goes.

Date posted: 2015-05-30

A Recurring Drama

Just as the Mass is the actual Sacrifice of the Cross mystically made present in the here and now every time Mass is said, in a similar way this drama is the story of man; it is the story of man's contempt for the truth, played out in every age.

Date posted: 2015-04-02

What is negative is positive, when talking about sin

Many people of the 70s generation were deceived by a false understanding of sin. It was thought that talk of sin was negative. A whole generation was brought up on that deficient Catechesis, one that left sin almost entirely out of the picture.

Date posted: 2015-02-23

Exercising one's priesthood in dying

Death is our final act; it becomes a holy act, a final and definitive prayer in fact, when we join our suffering and our death to the suffering and death of Christ. At death, we get to exercise our office of priesthood in the act of dying, by offering ourselves and our entire life to God.

Date posted: 2015-02-19

How to become the most popular teacher

Becoming the most popular teacher is simply a matter of personality, not character; it is so easy in fact that it is a wonder that no one has thought of it before. Say 'yes' to your students, always, in every circumstance, till the very end of the semester.

Date posted: 2015-02-08

Orders of Ignorance

There is only a very tiny sphere in which what is made available to an individual is sufficient to make valid inferences. One of the most important conditions most conducive to mutual understanding and human progress is the awareness of the profound limitations that matter and sense perception impose on human knowing.

Date posted: 2015-02-02

Stupid Contentment

Unless we see our own condition in another light, rather than in the light of our own minds, we remain blind to our real condition. We are like those slaves, but those whom the grace of God begins to enlighten are like Frederick Douglass. Perhaps we can say that Christ did not come for those who live in "stupid contentment", but for the truly poor in spirit, those who know they are enslaved, prisoners, in other words, those who recognize their utter need for God.

Date posted: 2014-12-16

Thoughts on Perception

I do not see color, nor do I feel texture, or taste flavor, etc. Rather, I see an apple, or more specifically, I see a red apple, and I taste a sweet apple. In other words, I sense the substance. The reason I say this is because nothing is in the intellect that is not first in the senses.

Date posted: 2014-12-11

The Bread of Adversity

Friendships are always based on common qualities: we are drawn to those of like character. That's why Christ feeds us with the bread of adversity, so that we can become more like him, so that we will have a greater and more intense friendship with him in eternity. He delights when we call out to him in a spirit of poverty and faith. What he sees is the development of a friend that he will have for all eternity.

Date posted: 2014-12-11

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing

There is a mode of knowing that is "other than" reasoning per se. Pascal seems to refer to this mode of knowing as "heart knowledge". There are certain natural behaviors that are beyond the capacity of "the reasoning intellect" considered in itself, behaviors that almost everyone understands because they understand with more than their "reason" considered in itself.

Date posted: 2014-12-04

When We Say: "I Just Can't See It"

"I don't see what's wrong with..." is an expression we often hear among the young because they simply do not have enough experience in being wrong to have become more acutely aware of their own limitations. But the expression and the rather dogmatic attitude behind it are found all too frequently in adults--who should know better.

Date posted: 2014-12-04

A Concise Treatise on the Trinity for Young People

God is pre-eminently personal; He is not isolated, not lonely, not needy, and not incomplete. In Himself, however, there is that which answers to his personal (communal) nature, all within Him. He is a community of Persons; He speaks his own interior Word, which is Himself, and He loves what He speaks, and what He speaks loves the speaker. That love as well is Himself. Thus, God is a plurality and a unity; He is a unity of being, and a plurality of Persons.

Date posted: 2014-10-30

On Dialogue

For dialogue to be authentic, both require a rare ability to listen, an ability to achieve an exit-of-self, and both have to be at that point in their lives where they have begun to adopt an attitude of healthy skepticism towards their current way of seeing things, that is, a practical openness to the fact that reality is always much larger than what my own limited model would suggest.

Date posted: 2014-10-13

Is all our knowledge a construct?

A question we might wish to ask is whether knowledge is a construction, a production, either in part or in whole. I will argue that knowledge cannot be entirely a construct or production, only partially so. I will argue that it is more fitting to speak of the "genesis" of knowledge than the "production" of knowledge.

Date posted: 2014-10-07

Models and their constituent parts

I believe one of the most important objectives for a young student of the Theory of Knowledge is to come to some understanding of where necessity applies and where it does not apply. Certitude is the result of seeing the necessity of a proposition (it cannot not be true); if necessity is outside our grasp, we experience uncertainty, a degree of probability (either high, low, or around 0.5). In other words, it is very important that we come to some appreciation of the scope of certainty and probability.

Date posted: 2014-09-12

Some Thoughts on Knowing Others and Being Known

We see human beings around us all the time and for the most part they are "nonentities", insignificant, just a number among a myriad of other human "nonentities". Their relative insignificance corresponds to the degree to which we lack knowledge of their personal history; they are insignificant to us because we don't know all that led up and went in to constituting the human being who stands before us in line for a coffee, or to make a withdrawal, etc. All we see is the current moment at the end of this person's long history, which is a rich narrative we know virtually nothing about.

Date posted: 2014-09-09

Some Thoughts on Epistemic Models

Models obviously have a likeness to the original of which they are models. There is, however, a great deal about the model that falls short of the original. Some models are more detailed than others, have more content, and thus are richer representations of the original. The totality of what is in the mind is a model. It is that through which we interpret the real.

Date posted: 2014-08-28

A Thought on Epistemic Conditions

What is an epistemic condition? Prior knowledge in all its diversity acquired through experience, which makes possible a specific intellectual posture, along with specific interests, questions, and problems to solve. Some of that knowledge will be certain, some will be a knowledge of uncertainties, a knowledge of probabilities that we once thought were certainties, a knowledge of limits, errors, failures, etc. I cannot make sense out of specific ideas or insights unless I come into the knowledge of other things first and am disposed in a particular way. There are experiences we will never have, and thus there are epistemic conditions that will never be, and that means there will be so much that will always be outside the purview of our understanding.

Date posted: 2014-08-28

The Church needs teachers and healers, not defenders

There is a distinction between love of the Church and the love of a specific cultural expression of the faith. It has been my experience that traditionalists do not seem to grasp this. We can study these cultural expressions from the past and certainly we ought to revere them as heirlooms, but any attempt to "conserve" a cultural expression or to resurrect and perpetuate one within the 21st century, is simply childish.

Date posted: 2014-08-25

When "I'm Right" is Your Default Position

Many people lack an awareness of the role that epistemological conditions play in the development of knowledge, and as long as they do, they cannot escape from the default position that "I'm right", for they are not aware of the limitations of the intellectual universe in which they think. Inevitably, the result is that those who argue against such a person are evidently wrong and are summarily dismissed.

Date posted: 2014-08-03

The Desert Silence of the Heart

An important point about this gospel is that the crowd came looking for Jesus, who was in a deserted place. It was because of that hunger and thirst that he was moved with pity. That's how you and I can win the heart of God; to go searching for him and be willing to go to a deserted place to find him.

Date posted: 2014-08-03

Theological Uncertainty

This is the one text in the New Testament I am aware of in which Jesus clearly counsels us not to trust too readily in the way things appear to us. There is so much about people that is always outside a comfortable range of certainty. We cannot be certain whether the darnel in our hand is really darnel; it might turn out to be wheat because they look very much alike. The converse is also true: we cannot be certain that what appears to be wheat is actually so; it might turn out to be darnel, which is poisonous at the roots.

Date posted: 2014-07-26

The Beatitudes: A Concise Summary

Synopsis: The beatitudes are the basic outline, the interior contours of a new spirit. Jesus, the new Moses, writes these not on tablets of stone, but on the human heart changed and elevated by grace.

Date posted: 2014-06-09

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments in the Torah (Exodus 20) are a formulation of the basic precepts (moral principles) of morality. Jews and Christians believe they were revealed by God to Moses, but to understand the content of those precepts does not require the supernatural virtue of faith as such, but are understandable through the natural light of human reaso

Date posted: 2014-05-27

Character determines one's ability to understand

Character affects a person's ability to judge, that is, to see what is a fitting means to an end. It also affects our ability to evaluate other human beings; for we see others in relation to ourselves, and if we have made ourselves our own norm, then those who are different are regarded as falling short of the rule in some way (i.e., too small or too large).

Date posted: 2014-05-11

Some Thoughts on Modesty

The purpose of clothing is to express one's character, that is, who you are. Our fundamental moral obligation is to cultivate morally beautiful character (the kalon). Thus, one should dress "beautifully", that is, in a way that expresses "beautiful character".

Date posted: 2014-05-11

The Logic of Induction and the Book of Job

Synopsis: The speeches of Job's three friends are the narrative fallacy all dressed up in theological garb. There are some great truths in their words; it's the total package, put together as an explanation of Job's predicament that is radically false. They shed light on his suffering, but it was a false light; it misses the mark completely. It manifests a profound desire to explain, to make sense out of what is beyond our comprehension, to simplify what is utterly complex and concerns another realm altogether.

Date posted: 2014-04-06

Love and the Levels of Happiness

Synopsis: We often hear people say: "I wish this moment could last forever". It is a wish that can come true, because eternity is an eternal moment that will never recede into the distant past. To those who have never loved, that moment will be an eternal torment and shame; to those who are committed to self-expansion through love, it will be an eternal and inconceivable joy.

Date posted: 2014-02-26

A Few Thoughts on Narcissism in the Priesthood

The priesthood is the last place we would expect to find a narcissist, that is, a person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and it certainly ought to be the last place where we should actually find one.

Date posted: 2014-02-22

On the Importance of Induction for Good Leadership

A student recently asked me: "Sir, where do you think the world is headed?" It was a very interesting question, but I had to respond by telling him that I have no idea. There is just too much to know to be able to answer a question like that, and all I know at this point is what has been made available to me within the past 52 years, which is really not that much. All of us are subject to an availability heuristic, but few of us seem to be aware of it.

Date posted: 2014-02-21

Reflections on My Years of Dialogue with a Relativist

It is always interesting to explore other areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, that is, to discover someone who has spent his life within a certain area of thought and attempt to become familiar with it. It takes a long time; one quick read of his works is rarely enough. You have to go back and read and re-examine the world in light of what he was saying, and then re-read it again and perhaps a third time, and after a long while it begins to penetrate. That takes time and labor, and most people are too lazy minded or busy to commit to that.

Date posted: 2014-02-20

A Sign of Contradiction

The only thing the Church can do to minimize opposition is to shut up and remain silent. The less effective the Church's proclamation becomes, the happier the world is going to be with her. In other words, the farther the Church moves away from Christ, the less opposition she will experience.

Date posted: 2014-02-19

A Thought on Paradox and Purpose

When we hear the piece being played, we don't pay attention to the individual notes, but each note, when played in tune and situated in its proper place, surrenders itself to a kind of "invisibility". It does what it is supposed to do, and in doing so allows us to forget it, or fail to notice it as an individual note. The life of the individual person is supposed to be lived like that.

Date posted: 2014-02-18

Moral Relativism and the Beautiful

Synopsis: Pleasure is relative. It is not universal, it is not stable; for it constantly changes. To impose stability or permanency on pleasure is cruel. The relativist sees the non-relativist as wanting to impose stability and permanency where none should be imposed, because life is about the greatest pleasure for the greatest number.

Date posted: 2014-01-17

Becoming an Epiphany

What the Magi found was not a collection of eternal truths, but a Person, an eternal Person who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Eternal truths are the food of the intellect, but the human heart longs for a Person, the Person of Christ. When we give everything over to Christ and lay everything at his feet, we become different in the eyes of others. We become an Epiphany.

Date posted: 2014-01-06

Who Shall Climb the Mountain of the Lord?

For us who are up there in age, it's really about climbing that mountain of the Lord and strengthening our brothers and sisters who are climbing with us. While we grab on to the arm of another who is ahead of us, we have to reach down and pull up those who are a few steps behind us who are having a difficult time in a difficult spot where we were just a moment ago or a few years ago.

Date posted: 2013-12-02

The Divine Fire

The Lord is a blazing furnace of infinite love, and that light and love is painful for those who love the darkness, but it is joy to those who have spent their lives trying to conform to it.

Date posted: 2013-12-01

Remaining Silent on Moral Matters

Remaining Silent on Moral Matters Synopsis: If a person is upset upon hearing, for example, that reading pornography is morally wrong, or that one has an obligation not to vote for a political candidate that supports the destruction of the unborn child in the womb, etc., that reaction is not an indicator that these issues should be avoided, but a symptom that indicates what needs to be treated.

Date posted: 2013-11-10

Persisting in prayer through times of darkness

Moses foreshadows the figure of Christ crucified, whose death on the cross is an eternal prayer, the one prayer that resounds throughout history and defeats the power of the evil one.

Date posted: 2013-11-10

The Way to a More Just World

We live in a profoundly unjust world, and everyone seems to have a solution to the world's problems, whether that's raising taxes, lowering taxes, more socialism or a more libertarian society, more education, or greater quality of education, more technology, a central world government, etc. But none of these are the answer. What will transform people is right here in this story, and it all begins with a desire that is conceived in the heart of Zacchaeus.

Date posted: 2013-11-10

Sex, Memory, and Misleading Headline

Synopsis: The media, it seems, can wonder about nothing other than whether or not the incoming Pope will change Church teaching on issues of sexual morality, as if Catholic teaching originates in the minds of the Popes. 'All that these journalists obsess about' eventually became 'all the Church ever talks about'.

Date posted: 2013-09-28

Thoughts on Faith as Our Default Position

The scientist who prides himself on being a man of "science", that is, a man of "knowledge", of reason, certitude and proof, etc., as opposed one of faith, simply does not understand the fundamentals of epistemology. He may understand his science, but he does not understand what it means to understand and the method by which we arrive at scientific understanding. To oppose science and faith is to fail to appreciate the scientific method and the ambiguity and uncertainty that permeate it.

Date posted: 2013-09-14

The Divine Need

God is perfect, and He has no need of anyone or anything to complete him. But I think we can speak of a divine need that is consistent with the divine perfection, and that is the need that love brings about. If I freely choose to love another, I freely choose to create a need within myself for that person. That's the nature of love. God loves you and me so much that He has freely chosen to need us.

Date posted: 2013-09-14

Finding one’s neighbour in the heart of God

If a person—whether a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, or perhaps even an atheist—truly loves his neighbor and is willing to risk so much for his neighbor’s well-being, that person loves Christ, without necessarily even knowing it or being explicitly aware of it, and he will recognize Christ in the end as the familiar face he loved in loving his neighbor, whose origin and identity is found in the Person of Christ.

Date posted: 2013-07-17

Activism and the Eucharist

I think one of the most significant points in this gospel is that the miracle was worked only after the Apostles realized that what Jesus was asking them to do was simply beyond their capacity. How do we feed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish?

Date posted: 2013-06-13

Leadership in the Church

Synopsis: If good leadership, in very general terms, is about taking a "back seat" and allowing an order that is larger than the individual leader to emerge on its own, it is counterintuitive that Church government is monarchial in nature. How do we resolve the paradox that the Church, the best institution, adopts the worst form of government?

Date posted: 2013-04-18

Looking at Us Through Rose Colored Glasses

Synopsis: When God sees us, He sees a likeness of His Son, and he delights in us as a result of that. There's a sense in which God the Father looks at us through rose colored glasses.

Date posted: 2013-04-18

Leadership and the Limitations of Knowing

Behind the ideological conflicts that characterize today's political discourse are, roughly speaking, two different visions of human intelligence. The one sees a clear and distinct separation between intelligence and sense perception, a vision that has its roots in Descartes, the other maintains that human intelligence participates in the limitations of sense perception. Effective leadership is not authoritarian, for authoritarianism is rooted in the former view of human knowing, and this view is not true to the facts. The human person is a psychosomatic unity; human intelligence participates in the limitations of sense perception.

Date posted: 2013-04-06

Pope Francis and the New Clericalism

The liturgy is the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection, which is why it is such an irony when we have not appropriated Christ in his suffering love, but nonetheless have "good" and "reverent" liturgy. What is the point of good liturgy if we don't live and love the cross? What is the point of theology if it does not serve mercy? We have to be in touch with human suffering, and we have to bring the good news of the risen Christ, who is in the depths of that suffering, to those who suffer.

Date posted: 2013-04-06

Interpreting Scripture

All relationships have a starting point, and they develop. It is only gradually that we come to understand the one with whom we are in relationship, and we grow in our understanding of that person, in time and through our relationship with him, that is, not merely by what he says, but in what he does. So too with God's relationship with Israel; He reveals Himself precisely in His fidelity to His covenanted people.

Date posted: 2013-03-31

Divine Anger and Divine Mercy

Many people suppose that there is a dichotomy between the God revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures and the God revealed in the New--even among Catholics. The God of the Old Testament is regarded as a God of anger, vengeance, and judgment, whereas the God of the New Testament is said to be a God of mercy, forgiveness, and love. I have wondered about the source of this supposed opposition, and I continue to do so. Whatever the source, it is certainly not the Scriptures.

Date posted: 2013-03-19

On Darkness

Christ changed water used for purification into the finest wine, and this wine symbolizes the complete joy of the heavenly banquet. It is a joy comparable to being drunk on the best wine. But before that can happen, we will all need to be purified.

Date posted: 2013-01-21

All things lead to Christ

Eternal truths are the food of the intellect, but the human heart longs for a Person, to join to a Person, and not just any person, but the Person of Christ, who is God in the flesh. He is everything that the human heart longs for, and he has given himself to us as the Bread of Life.

Date posted: 2013-01-06

Passionate Views

People are very passionate about their views, but that is the last thing in the world we should be passionate about. We ought to have, on the contrary, a passion for truth, a passion for learning, but not a passion for our views.

Date posted: 2012-12-20

"Everything we say is biased"

"Bias is really the only way to objective truth. An unbiased observer would make a lousy judge of music, or art, or gymnastics, and a person lacking the virtues (which are inclinations or biases), such as a criminal, would make a lousy judge of moral character. It is not bias that blinds the intellect, but the wrong bias that impedes right judgment."

Date posted: 2012-12-13

Pax and Peacemaking

The Greek term 'peacemaker' is derived from eiro, which means to join or tie together into a whole. Our immune system is a peacemaker, for it preserves the integrity, the unity or pax of the organism. The state of peace as absence of conflict is the result of the work of the immune system, which is a work of conflict, a battle. Without that biochemical army, there is no peace, whether that is taken to mean integrity (unity), or whether it is taken as a state characterized by an absence of conflict.

Date posted: 2012-11-27

The splendor of holiness and the horror of evil

Those who love evil are absolute egoists who feed off of the adulation and praise of others, so they carefully fabricate a façade, a false self that is very likeable. But if we were to get a glimpse of what is underneath, we’d be horrified. But the wise shall shine brightly, because they are completely unstained, like crystal, pure and emptied of self-love, and so the divine light can penetrate right through them.

Date posted: 2012-11-26

Politics and Principles

It is wonderful to see more and more people watching presidential debates, but one has to wonder about the use of it all when so few are able to evaluate a debate on the basis of truth and the issues, when most people today score a debate as they would a boxing match (i.e., which one was more aggressive, who threw the most zingers, who was more condescending, etc). We do not live in a culture that fosters a spirit of genuine debate, because debate is no longer about truth, but power.

Date posted: 2012-11-17

Reverence for one's opponents in debate

Our opponents in debate do us a tremendous service. Only those, however, who love and pursue truth can acknowledge that. Nonetheless, it takes a long time for students to begin to trust that I will not deduct marks for argument, for opposing me in class, for questioning, expressing doubt, raising objections, and forcing me to explain myself more thoroughly; for they were brought up in an educational environment that confuses an argument with a quarrel and in a culture that believes education is about power, not truth.

Date posted: 2012-11-16

Inclination to God and the Moral Sense

Every human being, whether he realizes it or not, possesses a natural knowledge of God; it is a confused and general knowledge, and it is this knowledge that is the source of our natural awareness of a moral order that includes a host of duties. This moral sense can be dulled or enhanced, depending upon how we choose to respond to its command in the deepest recesses of our conscience.

Date posted: 2012-11-06

Dying for Us

Hitchens argues that the doctrine of vicarious atonement is an immoral and highly dangerous one; to take a guilty man's place of punishment, for example, to go to prison in his stead or to submit to execution on his behalf, is repugnant to the very idea of justice; for the criminal alone can pay his debt, not the innocent man. But that is not an analogous case that accurately illustrates the doctrine of Christ's redemption.

Date posted: 2012-11-01

Truth, Obedience, and Humility

A humble soul that loves truth more than he loves himself will readily see it and possess it, for wisdom "anticipates those who desire her by making herself known first". But the person who loves himself more than wisdom will not find her sitting at his door, because she anticipates only those who desire her, for our desires are to God what the voice is to our fellow men.

Date posted: 2012-11-01

Why the Universe does not come from nothing

To understand anything at all is to understand the way in which it "depends upon" something else. But it is impossible for something that does not contain its own sufficient reason to depend upon "nothing". To depend upon nothing is not to depend. So, that which depends upon nothing is independent. What is independent does not depend upon anything other than itself in order "to be" and to be understood; thus, it is sufficient unto itself. To know it is not to seek to understand it, but to understand it already.

Date posted: 2012-10-27

Some Thoughts on Character, Homosexuality and Happiness

The homosexual orientation, like the heterosexual orientation, is neither a personality trait nor a character trait; it is, rather, an inclination, a propensity, that is, an appetite. Now, happiness is not a matter of appetite, for anyone (heterosexual and homosexual). Rather, happiness is a matter of character.

Date posted: 2012-10-27

Insecurity Begets Ambition

If we don't see ourselves through His eyes, our life and everything we do will be characterized by a fundamental insecurity, and insecurity begets envy. But when someone is finally possessed by the divine love and knows that love from within, he is capable of the profoundest humility; and that's the humility we see in the saints.

Date posted: 2012-10-10

The Radiance of Personhood and the Splendor of Chastity

Synopsis: A person is essentially a 'for another', and so to exist without a sense of importance is a kind of 'death'; like a sun that has ceased to radiate, or a sun that radiates without anything there to receive its illumination. And so the human person has a fundamental need to know he "exists for", which means he knows he is important for someone or others and is thus loved, and he has a need to "exist for", which means he has a need to love (to illuminate in some way).

Date posted: 2012-10-05

The Science of Ethics and Connatural Knowledge

Synopsis: There is no science of particulars, but ethics is about how to make good choices - particular choices - in particular situations. Thus, a knowledge of universal precepts is not enough. A prudent man does not merely know the good, rather, he knows the good because he is good. But how does this work?

Date posted: 2012-09-19

Disordered Passion and Obedience

What is interesting is that the Second Reading locates the source of the social disorder not in the structure of government or in political mechanisms, but in the disordered passions of individual persons. One of the most wonderful characteristics of the child is “openness”. A child is open to learn and obey. It is only later on, in adulthood, that some people will make the decision to close themselves, because they have decided that they want to “feel” a certain way, that pleasure is more important than truth, that feeling emotionally comfortable is more important than the continual improvement of one’s character.

Date posted: 2012-09-19

Behold, the Lamb of God

Those who stop going to Mass because they don't like the priest are like followers of John the Baptist who didn't hear what he said, and who fell away after he was beheaded; those who attend Mass because they are drawn to the priest's personality are like brute animals that don't understand the significance of a pointing finger. And priests that fail to lead the faithful to the Lamb of God point to themselves and are unwilling to decrease.

Date posted: 2012-08-16

Nine day novena in honour of St. Anne

The following are homilies delivered during the nine day novena in honour of St. Anne, at St. Anne's Church, Hamilton, Ontario. This is the longest standing novena in North America.

Date posted: 2012-08-08

Called from the Womb

Abortion is not simply the destruction of a developing human life. It is the destruction of a vocation, a unique and unrepeatable call; it is the willful opposition to a divine summons addressed to the unborn child.

Date posted: 2012-06-25

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!

Suffering tends to snap us back to reality. Unless we are ridiculously stubborn, suffering typically brings us in touch with our own poverty of spirit, and then we go looking for God. And that’s the one thing God cannot resist: a contrite heart that knows its neediness, and which stands before Him helpless and seeking His help.

Date posted: 2012-06-19

I will lift high the lowly tree

The only way to reach the lofty heights of infused mystical contemplation is to become a tender shoot. Most people aspire to be the towering cedar tree, and so they are never planted by the Lord on the high and lofty mountain of infused contemplation.

Date posted: 2012-06-18

Some Thoughts on the Value of Silence

Synopsis: The human person has two interiors: a spatial interior, and a supra-sensible interior. The latter is the deepest and most intimate part of you. You only share your deepest sentiments and intentions with the one you trust the most, for this realm is your most intimate sanctuary. If a person is uncomfortable in silence and when alone, then that person is uncomfortable with his or her deepest self.

Date posted: 2012-06-05


95% of the things we do every day are based on faith—not supernatural faith, but natural faith, which is “trusting in what somebody tells you because you have evidence that the speaker is well informed about the subject and is honest.” For example, we have faith in our family doctor that the prescription he writes for us is not going to kill us. Christian faith is a grace that gives us the power to believe what God has revealed about Himself and which exceeds the grasp of human reason. But if a person is given that grace, he or she has to choose to cooperate with it. But some people find that very difficult and even refuse, yet they have no problem trusting the media, their colleagues, their bosses, their friends, etc.

Date posted: 2012-04-12

On the seven capital sins and what can be done about them

We all have our own particular battle ground, that is, our own unique struggles. What I have found over the years is that the seven capital sins are a continuum that marks a range on which each person can begin to outline, in general terms, his own particular battle ground.

Date posted: 2012-04-02

Is a developmentally disabled child inferior to a non-disabled child?

The increasingly popular viewpoint that the lives of disabled children are of less value (the quality of life mentality) than the lives of healthy children is rooted in a failure to distinguish between first and second act. You are not your activity. You are not living (first act) because you are breathing (second act or activity); rather, you are breathing (second act or activity) because you are alive (first act). In the same way, you are not a person because you are thinking; rather, you are thinking (second act) because you are a person (first act).

Date posted: 2012-04-02

The Divine Anger and Human Free-Wil

The divine anger is something we rarely hear about these days, probably because people are in a kind of denial, including many clergy. But God's anger is real; it is really the flip side of His absolute love. For anyone who truly loves others will experience real anger at the sight of injustice. Only those indifferent to others feel no anger at the sight or news of injustice.

Date posted: 2012-03-20

The Sacraments: Signs and Channels of Grace

Synopsis: The spiritual life, if it is a human spirituality congruent with man's bodily nature, is intimately bound up with matter. Supernatural grace, which is invisible in itself, is communicated to us through material signs, or sacramental signs. For the Catholic, grace is ordinarily (not exclusively) communicated sacramentally, through the instrumentality of matter, that is, through matter that is both visible and tangible, such as water, oil, or bread and wine.

Date posted: 2012-03-11

Marriage and the Touch of Christ

Every marriage needs healing, and the touch of Christ alone heals. It’s up to the couple to approach the Lord with the very same faith as the leper in the gospel: “If you choose, you can make me clean. You can heal us Lord”. If he sees that faith in a couple struggling to love one another as Christ loves his Bride, he will be moved with pity, stretch out his hand and touch them, saying: “I do choose. Be made clean.”

Date posted: 2012-02-07

Sexual Activity in Perspective

The problem with the current cultural understanding of the sexual act is that it is the result of trying to understand it in isolation from the entire human context. A part can only be understood in relation to the whole, and sexual activity is not a whole unto itself, but only a part of a larger meaning, namely marriage, which in turn is part of a larger meaning. The vehement pleasure associated with sex has diverted our gaze much like the misdirection of a good magician, diverting the audience's attention away from what is really taking place before them.

Date posted: 2012-02-01


The more we decrease, the more beautiful we become, because the more room we make in ourselves for Christ, and he is supremely beautiful. It's really about becoming Theotokos, treasuring the right things in the heart, the Person of the Son, and keeping watch over our own tendency to distraction during prayer, not allowing any thought that gives rise to disordered passion

Date posted: 2012-01-01

Delightful Unworthiness

The experience John had of his own unworthiness was a thoroughly delightful experience; it is a heavenly experience, not the hellish experience of being in the presence of the arrogant and self-important, who are not extraordinarily good, but who desire to be regarded as such, which is why they will employ very subtle tactics to make the other feel of less worth than they.

Date posted: 2011-12-06

Gratitude and the Incarnation

The word “ecstasy” comes from the Greek word ekstasis, which means to “stand outside of”, or to be beside oneself. The more we look outside ourselves in a spirit of thanksgiving, the more joy filled or ecstatic our life becomes. Learning this gratitude is so important, because Christ’s coming in the flesh was ultimately for the sake of restoring gratitude to God.

Date posted: 2011-11-28

Vessels of Christ

The great gift of the poor is that they are the vessels that contain this hidden pearl, and many of them don’t know it. But it’s a great thing to be called to help reveal that to them by our attention and service to them.

Date posted: 2011-11-22

Preparing for Eternal Life

If we look at the various stages of human development, we see that every stage is a preparation for the subsequent stage, which in turn is a preparation for the stage that comes after, and so on. When we look at these stages from a bird’s eye view, we see that there is a gradual transition from self-centeredness to greater selflessness, a gradual emancipation from the self. Human development moves from the most self-centered existence to a gradual turning outside the self to focusing one’s life around another or others.

Date posted: 2011-11-14

Priestly Zeal for Christ

Priests have the power to do tremendous damage to the kingdom of darkness, so they are subject to temptations that many of us will never know. We have to pray for our priests and bishops, above all our Holy Father. And pray especially for our newly ordained priests, that they remain faithful, that they don’t despair, that they are given greater strength in this battle against this increasingly anti-religious culture, that they don’t fall into a kind of neo-clericalism and repeat the mistakes of a previous era.

Date posted: 2011-11-02

Land of the Giants

In heaven, we will be among giants, the heroic souls of the centuries, the great martyrs, like St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Thomas More and St. John Fischer, St. Lawrence, St. Stephen. Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. St. Paul and St. Peter, and so many more. There’s no doubt that we’ll be tiny in their presence, but the more we learn to love in this life, the more comfortable we are going to be in their presence.

Date posted: 2011-10-24

The Wedding Banquet

I believe that one of the reasons that so many people think heaven is practically guaranteed is that they imagine it to be an eternal Club Med vacation. Conversely, many people regard Hell as the ultimate prison sentence, and so they conclude that since they have done nothing in this life to deserve the penultimate prison sentence-they haven’t broken the law in any serious matter-, it would be unthinkable that they could deserve the ultimate prison sentence.

Date posted: 2011-10-05

Anger against God

God owes us nothing, not an extra day, nor does He owe anyone in my family more time. How do I accuse God of doing an injustice? It’s as if I were a billionaire and I decided that I was going to deposit $100,000 to your bank account every month, for no reason, I just want to, I want to see you flourish. But I do let you know that it will, at some point, come to an end. If after 4 or 5 years the money flow stops, there’s no way you can accuse me of injustice.

Date posted: 2011-09-25

The Red Wine of the Gospel

When the Lord calls, He calls us for one purpose, which is to labor in his vineyard. And what is the purpose of working in a vineyard? It is to make wine. The Lord calls us to devote ourselves to producing the red wine of the gospel. He calls us to become inebriated, to get drunk on the red wine of His word.

Date posted: 2011-09-22

The Basic Figure of Love

Without even realizing it, we often love others for what they do for us. But the commandments are really the boundaries that clearly outline the basic figure of love of others. Without that outline, love will mean whatever we want it to mean, and it will no longer be possible to distinguish love from selfishness, which is the situation we find ourselves in today with respect to popular culture.

Date posted: 2011-09-05

Human Limitations and the Need for a Papacy

The problem with human beings is that for most of our lives we fail to see our own limitations. In fact, it takes years to appreciate our own limitations. We have this tendency to assume that the way we see things is the way things really are. That’s the arrogance of youth. The establishment of a Church that is guided by the Holy Spirit to preserve the deposit of faith makes so much sense in the light of human limitations.

Date posted: 2011-08-28

The Gift of Faith

To live without faith (the hope of eternal life) is to live solely for this world. It is to live with a subtle and chronic fear of death, and when we live with that fear of loss, we become focused principally on ourselves, and our lives are then governed by a neurotic anxiety to preserve all we have for as long as possible. We are no longer free to love, and it is only through love of others that we find our freedom.

Date posted: 2011-08-15

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!

Suffering tends to snap us back to reality. Unless we are ridiculously stubborn, suffering typically brings us in touch with our own poverty of spirit, and then we go looking for God. And that's the one thing God cannot resist: a contrite heart that knows its neediness, and which stands before Him helpless and seeking His help.

Date posted: 2011-08-02

You Always Get What You Want

You are not what you think; and you are not what you feel. Rather, you are what you will, and the Lord always gives you what you want in the end. Solomon wanted wisdom. That’s who he is, and that’s why the name of Solomon has been associated, throughout history, with wisdom.

Date posted: 2011-07-25

Whoever believes in me

To believe in the name of Christ is to believe in the Person of Christ. To believe in the Person of Christ is to freely choose to live in Him. Who is He? He is the divine life, the life of grace. He is the Truth. To believe in him is to live in the Truth that Christ is. It is to live in his grace.

Date posted: 2011-06-16

The Joy of Self-Expansion

The inner life of the Trinity is an eternal life of knowledge and love. Heaven is nothing but an eternal life within the very heart of the life of the Trinity, within the heart of this knowledge of God and this mutual love between the Father and the Son.

Date posted: 2011-06-08

The Eyes of the Heart

The heart loves, and those who love God will know God in a way that is inaccessible to the intellect by itself. It is love of God that begets a certain intellectual light, namely wisdom.

Date posted: 2011-06-04

The Search for Eden

The history of religion is man’s search for God. But how does God respond to man’s search for Him? God chose to come searching for man. But he does not want to ruin the game, because that will ruin the fun, so he continues to hide, but under a disguise. We believe that God came out of hiding and disguised himself, so that He could be found—but we’d still have to search diligently for him and find him on our own.

Date posted: 2011-05-21

My sheep hear my voice

It is Church teaching that there are people outside the visible Church who are invisibly part of that Church; for there are many non-Christians who recognize the voice of the shepherd, and so who belong to the one flock. Their recognition of the shepherd’s voice is not a conscious recognition, but an unconscious one.

Date posted: 2011-05-12

The Weight of Suffering

God the Son became man and, in a mysterious way that I couldn’t even begin to explain, he took upon himself the sins of the entire human race. In his Passion, he knew and tasted the entire weight of the world’s sin, past present, and future. He knew it all at once, as only a divine Person of the Trinity could know it. That was the greatest suffering Christ experienced.

Date posted: 2011-04-23

Go Ahead, Make My Day

Our God is a God of mercy and inexhaustible goodness, but He is a God of Justice, and so He looks for one reason to pour out his blessings upon us. All we have to do is give him that reason, a minimal requirement of justice, and the floodgates of divine grace will open, but so many people refuse to give Him that one reason.

Date posted: 2011-04-02

The Motherhood of Divine Love

Most people don’t believe that God’s gaze rests on them all the time, like the mind of a mother always on her child. But the only way to know that love is to trust. Faith is the only way to know it.

Date posted: 2011-02-27

Marriage: A Way to Heaven

There is an essential difference between living together with insurance benefits, and marriage. The fundamental question is: What do two people intend when they intend to marry? It is exactly what cohabitating couples do not intend.

Date posted: 2011-02-23

Love of Neighbour

The spiritual life is about growing in selflessness. It is about becoming more transparent, like crystal. The more transparent the medium, the more it radiates the light outside of it that passes through it. Charity is effusive and transparent; self-love is self-contained and transmits little or no light.

Date posted: 2011-02-21

You Have Been Found

In a normal game of hide and seek, one starts by seeking out those who are hidden, and the game ends when you find them. But here, one has to be found first, and then one is able to go seeking. Who do you seek? The One who found you; if He did not find you, you could not go looking for Him.

Date posted: 2011-01-31

Living on the Plane of Faith

Supernatural faith is the highest way of knowing. And eventually, after living in real self-surrendering faith, we become aware that we’ve been walking in light, not darkness. That is why St. Augustine says: “Believe in order to understand.” Many people have this backwards; they will not make an act of faith until they understand, until they are sure.

Date posted: 2011-01-21

Behold the Lamb of God

Life that is lived in the Person of Christ, the Lamb of God who gives his life for us, is to be a life lived in that very sacrifice. That’s the paradox of life in Christ; that our happiness, our well-being, our emotional, mental, spiritual health stems from a life lived in and out of his sacrifice.

Date posted: 2011-01-11

Cultivating a sense of urgency

To be fully human is to live your life centered entirely around Christ, as Mary and Joseph’s life was so centered. It is not to live for the self, and it is not to live for the security of a peaceful existence. It is to enter into the battle for salvation, for the salvation of souls, for the defence and protection of all that is sacred, to discover the part that God wants you to play in this drama and to enter into it with courage and trust.

Date posted: 2010-12-26

Sin Awareness Week

The good news is that the light has entered the darkness. If we invite that light into our lives, yes, it will expose our most rotten vices, but Christ gives us the grace that permits us the courage to confess those sins to a priest who has the power to absolve, who absolves in the name of Christ, in the person of Christ. We can walk out of that confessional without having to face those sins ever again. We might commit them anew, but the past is behind us. We can make our souls a clean dwelling place for the Lord, and eternal life of union with Him can begin here in this life. The joy of heaven can begin to possess us now, from this day forward.

Date posted: 2010-12-20

Let’s Get Violent

The Eucharist is literally the substance of Christ’s body and blood, not merely a symbol, but the real thing, under the appearance of bread. If we pray more often before the blessed sacrament, in our own chapel during the day, if we return to Mass and Confession regularly, the more we’ll become aware of his presence in the dark and silence of our own soul, and we’ll begin to live with much less fear.

Date posted: 2010-12-17

Lust and the Tyranny of Niceness

The most fundamental moral directive, the one commandment that replaces the Ten Commandments of old is: Thou Shalt be Sensitive

Date posted: 2010-11-29

The Power of the Cross

Jesus is the Christ; he is the King of Kings, and he came―as any king does―to establish a kingdom, to supplant an existing kingdom in order establish his own. He came to supplant the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Satan. No human king could do that.

Date posted: 2010-11-24

The Glory of Humility

Our life must move in the complete opposite direction. The humbler we become, the more true to our nature we are. And you know, when that begins to happen, the more laughter will there be in our lives; for the word humour is also derived from "humus". The humbler we are, the more we are able to laugh at ourselves, for the less seriously do we take ourselves, and the more able we are to take in the humour that's always around us.

Date posted: 2010-11-06

The Lord hears the cry of the poor

The poor referred to in the Responsorial Psalm, the ones whom the Lord hears, are those who cry out to God because they have become aware of their utter helplessness and need for God. The poor are indeed those who suffer innocently, but the poor can very well be those who have screwed up their lives as a result of the bad choices that they’ve made in life, but who have finally come to acknowledge that and who now cry out to God to forgive them and to come to their aid.

Date posted: 2010-10-28

Healing and Gratitude

I don’t know about you, but I notice that fewer and fewer people say “thank you” when you hold the door open for them, either at the Mall or a Tim Horton’s, or at school. People say “please” less frequently as well. In former times, parents used to stress the importance of “please” and “thank you” to their kids. It was regarded as the primary way to relate to others.

Date posted: 2010-10-16

Faith and the Basic Instincts of the Saint

This world is not ours; it does not belong to any one nation, nor is it the common property of all nations—the world does not belong to the United Nations. It has been entrusted to Christ. He said it. And our work, our fundamental obligation, is to serve Christ's interests.

Date posted: 2010-10-09

The Sin of idolatry and the Religion of the Self

In the desert, the Israelites fell into the worship of the Egyptian god, Apis, the god of strength and agrarian fertility, or wealth. Apis was popular because most people make power and wealth the center of their lives, and although few people today actually bow before idols of gold, there are very few people who have not made the pursuit of power and wealth their chief purpose in life.

Date posted: 2010-09-25

Emulating the Children of Darkness

We have the light (the light of the gospel), but we don’t have the fire in our bellies. The children of this world of darkness have the fire in the belly, but no light. They have the determination, the single minded devotion to their causes, which are twisted. We, on the other hand, don’t have that single minded determination.

Date posted: 2010-09-20

Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple

Christ desires to unite himself to you, to give you himself completely and totally. But he wants you to give yourself completely and entirely to him, because he loves you like a bridegroom loves his bride.

Date posted: 2010-09-12

Stewards of the Mysteries of God

I thought, yes, that's what a priest is; he is not a social worker, he is not a religious therapist or psychologist, he is a steward of the mysteries of God, in particular the mystery of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

Date posted: 2010-09-04


God is like water; He seeks the lowest place.

Date posted: 2010-09-04

The Foolish Bridesmaids

The best thing we can do for others is to allow the fire within us to enlarge and burn so brightly that others may be drawn by the light and the heat, so that they may be inspired to seek the Lord and find him.

Date posted: 2010-09-04

The Courage to Speak Out

Had Nathan allowed himself to be overcome by his fear, had he loved his own life more than he loved David’s soul, he wouldn’t have said a thing, he would have shut right up and fabricated some nonsense about tolerance, patience and the principle of gradualism, and the result would have been that David would not have repented, and he would have died in his sin. But Nathan loved the Lord and loved truth and loved justice more than he loved himself.

Date posted: 2010-09-04

Why do we have to go to Mass on Sundays?

"Why do we have to go to Mass?" is one of the most frequently asked questions that students address to their religion teachers, and recently I received an email from a former student asking for an article that he could share with his friends that answers that very question."

Date posted: 2010-08-28

Christ: The Narrow Gate

The narrow gate is none other than Christ. He is the gate that leads to eternal life. And he is indeed a narrow gate. The word 'narrow' suggests a zeroing in on a well defined point. The opposite, of course, is broad and wide.

Date posted: 2010-08-24

Detach Yourself and Give Alms

This world is not the kingdom, no matter how wonderful our life is here. The kingdom of God does not pass away, it is eternal. But just as the sun is too bright for us to gaze at for any great length of time, so too the kingdom of God exceeds the capacity of our soul. Our souls have to be prepared for the kingdom of God.

Date posted: 2010-08-12

Giving Up the Pursuit of Happiness

We cannot possess joy. It possesses us. We are in it. And there are not many joyful people around, because many do not know where the key to joy can be found. But the key to a life of joy is to relinquish the pursuit of happiness.

Date posted: 2010-07-23

Expanding Through Love

The more we expand, the greater will be our capacity to receive God into ourselves, just as the bigger the cup, the more water it can hold. A life lived only for itself, a person who has not loved anyone, only himself, renders himself incapable of receiving the life of God within himself, just as a cup that is sealed with a lid cannot receive any water into itself.

Date posted: 2010-05-08

Easter Sunday Homily, 2010

I want to say a few words to any nurses who might be here. I hope you are aware of the great dignity and nobility of your vocation. Because God entered into the worst human suffering, He is present in the very depths of the sufferings of your patients, and so when you love them, and are patient with them, when you smile at them, and are kind to them, you are loving God Himself.

Date posted: 2010-04-04

The Good News of Divine Mercy

If we were to select one reading that expresses what the good news of the gospel really is in all its mystery, we can do no better than the parable of the prodigal son. It is simply the heart of the good news. This is what our God is all about: absolute mercy.

Date posted: 2010-03-19

The Lord loves a good game

The Lord loves a good game: “Unless you change and become as little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Children love to play, and He calls us to be children so that we will play. That’s why the lives of the saints are so exciting. We find the saints in the midst of great battles, and they are exciting battles. They persisted and they fought with great courage and tremendous wit. The tougher the game, the cleverer one has to be. And that’s what makes the game so memorable and so exciting to play.

Date posted: 2010-03-08

If you are the Son of God

Christ came to enter into human suffering, to fill it with his light, to make it holy; for he loves us, and every human life will be a life of suffering, some far more than others. The Son of God joins a human nature and enters into human suffering in order to keep us company in our suffering, and there are certain people in this world, special friends of his, whom he invites to keep him company in his suffering.

Date posted: 2010-02-21

Woe to you who evade suffering and the works of charity

Our life is not for this world, anymore than the life of a fetus is ultimately for the womb. The womb is temporary, it is a preparation for another world. What Christ is saying today is woe to you who spend your life evading suffering and the works of charity, evading the long and difficult work of preparing your soul for the moment of death, woe to you who sell your soul for the sake of pleasing your employer or your peers, so that they speak well of you, so that they like you and laugh with you, eat and drink with you.

Date posted: 2010-02-15

The Power of Intercession

When we pray for a person or a situation dominated by evil, we call the attention of the saints who belong to the light, we call the attention of their luminous gaze to this person or situation. We make them present to this person or situation. We, as it were, flash a light onto it, and if this is a situation in which darkness has a hold, we cause great discomfort to the spirit of evil by our prayers.

Date posted: 2010-01-25

Some Fundamental Points on the Church, Petrine Authority, and Scripture

If we hold that Scripture is the word of God, we need only ask ourselves who it was that put together the canon of the New Testament in the first place. Or better yet, who wrote it? The gospels and epistles all came from the Church.

Date posted: 2010-01-09

Creating a Catholic Culture in the Home

The cultural heritage of the Church is as rich as Jewish culture. The best thing we can do to heal this postmodern culture is to learn the Catholic faith, immerse ourselves into this cultural heritage, create an atmosphere in our home, a Catholic atmosphere.

Date posted: 2009-12-20


Advent is a real rehearsal for Christ's Second Coming, unlike a theatrical rehearsal in which the actors prepare for the performance. In a theatrical rehearsal, each actor is still who he is; he's just playing a role, and he's rehearsing to play it well, while remaining who he really is. But Advent rehearsal involves a real change of heart, an ever-deepening conversion.

Date posted: 2009-12-20

A Note on the Difference Between Man and Brute

Recently I heard a story of a man who suffered a heart attack while walking his dog. The dog would not allow paramedics near the man to treat him, and so police had to be called in to shoot the creature. The delay resulted in the man's death.

Date posted: 2009-12-05

Do not worry

This Advent Season let us commit ourselves to works of mercy. If we do, we will find life, because we will find Christ, who chooses for his dwelling the weakest, poorest, lowliest of human beings, those to whom the world does not care to pay any attention. If we begin to pay attention to them, we will find Christ, we will find life, and our lives will be lit up by a light that shines in the darkness.

Date posted: 2009-12-02

My Words Will Not Pass Away

No merely human words can impart divine life. When heaven and earth pass away, all human wisdom, all art, literature, all human achievement will pass away with it. But Christ's words are different. His words endure, they are eternal, they contain the seeds of eternal life, and so all who feed on his words bring into themselves something eternal.

Date posted: 2009-11-29

Character Is What You Do When No One Is Looking

It has been said that character is what you do when no one is looking. That’s what I thought of when I read this verse of the gospel that speaks of being faithful in small matters, when no one is looking. And no one is looking, because they are small matters, and people generally interested in the big things. But one’s true character is revealed in the small things.

Date posted: 2009-11-07

Never Forget Who You Are

Today is the feast of All Saints. This is an important feast, for we believe in the Communion of Saints. What does this mean? It means there is a family of saints, thousands of saints, and they are our older siblings. You and I have older brothers and sisters who lived in previous times, suffered hardship, professed the same faith in Christ, entered into communion with the same Christ in the Eucharist, which is what we are about to do here.

Date posted: 2009-11-05

What is a Human Person?

Synopsis: Man naturally seeks God, the essential One, True, Good, and Beautiful. The religions of the world are really man's attempts to articulate this mystery and its implications for his life. And since they are man's attempts to understand and articulate it, we can expect these articulations to be a mixture of truth and error. If this God chooses to reveal Himself, however, perhaps then we can expect that revelation to be free from error.

Date posted: 2009-10-26

Proclaiming the Good News

Every one of us lives in circumstances that give us the opportunity to love others with supernatural charity, to smile at others and rejoice in them for God's sake, and in doing so channel that divine love to them. That's what it means to proclaim the good news.

Date posted: 2009-10-22

Can you drink the cup that I drink?

If you truly love someone who you see is suffering, you will want to share their suffering in some way. You will not allow them to suffer alone. To allow someone to suffer at a distance, without entering into his/her suffering in any way, is not love at all.

Date posted: 2009-10-11

Give them Hell!

Synopsis: Hell is one of the greatest signs of God's love for us. He loves us so much that He will allow us to reject Him for all eternity.

Date posted: 2009-09-29

Euthanasia and the Sanctity of Life Ethic

Synopsis: Our obligation is to love our patients, not for our sake, but for theirs, to care for them even when they cannot thank us or when they are not apparently aware of us. Our duty is to make them as comfortable as possible.

Date posted: 2009-09-19

The Sin of Pharisaism

The basic error of the Pharisees is that they misunderstood the meaning of holiness. The word "sacred" means "to be set apart". One who is holy is set apart, not in terms of social status, or clerical status, but in terms of love, or charity. The one who is holy has extraordinary charity, an exceptional or extraordinary love of God and love of neighbour.

Date posted: 2009-08-27

It's all about Christ!

The faith of the Church is expressed in Peter's words: "To whom shall we go?" If Christ is God, then there is no one to whom we can go who has anything but a human word and a passing life to impart. Outside of Christ, there is nothing, nowhere to go. Wherever you have the Church, you have that faith; for that is the faith of the Church.

Date posted: 2009-08-20

Promoting Vocations

The priesthood involves a very profound sharing in the mystery of the cross. That is why vocations are best promoted by appealing to those who seek the Lord and his cross, that is, to those who have come to love the Lord not for his benefits, but on account of his goodness and the glory of his love. Vocations must appeal to those who see that the Lord is supremely deserving of love and perfect worship.

Date posted: 2009-08-02

Do Not Seek Your Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

As Russian Philosopher and former Marxist Nicholas Berdyaev pointed out, the social failures of Christianity were the result of being too much wrapped up in this world, not as a result of being too other-worldly. Rather, it is when people have secretly sought their kingdom of heaven here, on earth, that they began to compromise with justice, and little by little silence the voice of their own conscience, and gradually sell their soul for an earthly paradise.

Date posted: 2009-07-30

The Lord hears the cry of the poor

St. Therese of Lisieux, whom Pius the X called the greatest saint of modern times, actually taught that doing ordinary acts with extraordinary love of God has far reaching effects around the globe.

Date posted: 2009-07-24

Blessed are those who are persecuted

The marvellous thing about Christ's Passion is that we now have power in persecution, namely his power, because he was persecuted, and whatever he touches, he makes holy and imparts to it his power to give life. That is why the cross is "all power". Jesus is "God entered into" the suffering of every human person, giving it His own life. We participate in Christ's saving work ultimately by sharing in that life, which is a way of the cross.

Date posted: 2009-07-19

Lying: The Antithesis of Prayer

Synopsis: Lying involves a kind of meditation, and although it is the mind that thinks, it is the spirit that meditates, and when the liar thinks of the best way to craft his lie, his spirit is open to the best suggestions. Spirit opens upon spirit, not flesh, and the spirit of the liar does not open upon God, who is Spirit and Truth, but upon the spirit whom Christ refers to as "the father of lies".

Date posted: 2009-07-03

Becoming a Living Tabernacle

What we do when we receive the sacrament of confession is we make ourselves a tabernacle capable to housing the Blessed Sacrament. Consider what happens to a place in which is contained a tabernacle that houses the Blessed Sacrament. It becomes a sacred space. When we make ourselves a fit tabernacle, through confession, in order to house the Eucharist, we are carrying a tabernacle with us wherever we go.

Date posted: 2009-05-08

Liberal and Conservative: Two terms that have no place in Catholic theology

Synopsis: Being a liberal or a conservative in the political realm is perfectly legitimate, because politics is a branch of ethics, and ethics is principally about prudence. In order to legitimize their own dissent, those unfaithful to the teachings of the Church adopted the labels "liberal" and "conservative", "left" and "right", thus appearing less unorthodox - not to mention heretical - than they were justifiably "left", like their political counterparts.

Date posted: 2009-05-05

On the Happiness of Heaven

Synopsis: If we love God for His sake, we have "become Him" without ceasing to be ourselves; for all disinterested love is a "becoming the beloved" and thus a self-expansion. In heaven, we will His Supreme Goodness for His sake; we know It, affirm It, praise It, and delight in It, which He is perfectly and eternally. He is eternally and perfectly happy, and so we are happy that He is perfectly and eternally happy as He deserves and as no other creature deserves to be. That happiness is our greatest happiness.

Date posted: 2008-12-02

A Note on Restricted Indifferentism

Synopsis: Restricted Indifferentism is the belief that all religions are on an equal footing and are simply different pathways to the one God. Although such a position sounds positive and "inclusive" - and its denial negative and exclusive -, Restricted Indifferentism is in fact a heretical position that has never, throughout the history of Christianity, been seriously entertained either by the Catholic Church or mainline Protestantism. In fact, Religious Indifferentism is ultimately a kind of relativism in disguise that in the long run begets unrestricted religious indifference.

Date posted: 2008-11-27

Hegelianism, Faith, and the Permission to Believe

Synopsis: Because God has conceived His one, eternal thought in time, in the imperfections of the things of time, fragmentary, complex, and limited, hermeneutics becomes a necessary and indispensable tool in the reading of the Scriptures. But the kind of biblical hermeneutics that became popular in some Catholic circles during the later half of the 1960s had its roots in the German Rationalism of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). This hermeneutics was not a theological hermeneutics at all, even though its subject matter was theological -- namely Scripture.

Date posted: 2008-11-23

A Commentary on the Pastoral Message of the Canadian Bishops: "Liberating Potential"

Synopsis: On September 26th, 2008, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral message on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, entitled Liberating Potential, calling the faithful to a discovery of the prophetic wisdom of Humanae Vitae. According to the Canadian Bishops, to love and revere the human person in his and her totality involves a love and reverence of his and her fertility. To make periodic sacrifices for the sake of honoring that fertility is itself an expression of genuine love.

Date posted: 2008-11-11

The Need to "Say It"

Synopsis: There is probably a greater need now than in any other period in the 20th century to have the concrete moral implications of the gospel spelled out in very clear and unambiguous terms; for children cannot hope to play a game of baseball without foul lines and a determinate set of rules, and before they can begin to play, they have to know where are the foul lines and just what those rules are.

Date posted: 2008-09-14

You Are What You Will

Synopsis: We've heard the expression 'You are what you eat', and the idea is that we should eat healthy. But it is more immediately true that 'you are what you will'. The kind of person that you are (character) is entirely determined by what you will, that is, what you love.

Date posted: 2008-07-14

Without God

Synopsis: To put social action first is to put the cart before the horse, and if that is where the cart is positioned, the horse won't move and the rider will be frustrated. The Catholic institution that thinks it is Catholic simply because it teaches students to commit to alleviating poverty, caring for the environment, and tolerance, has lost a sense of who and what it is.

Date posted: 2008-06-14

The Humour and Playfulness of God

Synopsis: The Incarnation reveals not only the absolute mercy of God, and the infinite love of God; it reveals at the same time the joyful humour of God. When we enter into the life of the Trinity by faith, we enter into the divine humour and play.

Date posted: 2008-05-24

Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Synopsis: A scientist as scientist cannot answer the question whether the universe has a purpose. The John Templeton Foundation would do just as well to ask an historian, a housewife, or a police officer any of the "Big Questions" it poses to scientists.

Date posted: 2008-05-14

Rising to Battle

Synopsis: The Lord calls us to battle, waits for our response, then joins us in the fight. That is why we have to enter the fray, not recklessly and without forethought, but steadily, faithfully and tactfully carrying out our duties - which will at times be very difficult and possibly even terrifying -, but trusting all the while that we cannot lose, since God fights on our side.

Date posted: 2008-04-28

What's in a Name?

Synopsis: The gospel is not a collection of teachings, much less a set of values. The good news is that we have been redeemed from the power of sin and death through the name of Christ; for it is the name of Christ that is the very power of God. The first sign of the loss of faith in the name of the crucified and risen Christ is a politicization of the gospel, which reduces the good news of salvation to a universal political and social doctrine that presupposes the natural good will of all human persons, and that evil is merely the result of poor education and unenlightened political decision making.

Date posted: 2008-04-24

How Egoism Blinds the Intellect

Synopsis: Egoism is the abrogation of love, and by extension truth. It is a very basic thinking error rooted in a profoundly self-centred will. It can only result in deep intellectual impoverishment, for the egoist has made himself larger than everyone else. Thus, his entire rational life is founded upon a false premise. He refuses to embrace the most fundamental truth about his status as one profoundly limited, essentially equal to others, yet dependent upon them in order to become more fully himself.

Date posted: 2008-04-17

On the Meaning and Importance of Integrity

Synopsis: The person who lacks integrity comes across to a variety of people in a variety of ways, because he is not one within himself. To some people he's a religious man, to others he's a liar; to some he's generous and kind, to others he might be vindictive and ruthless; in front of liberals he talks like a liberal, but in the presence of conservatives, he talks like a conservative; to that man he's a friend, but in the presence of certain others, he's indifferent to that man, or possibly even adverse.

Date posted: 2008-02-02

Knowledge and Experience

Synopsis: Students make the case that in the moral realm knowledge acquired through experience is far better than a purely theoretical knowledge. The implication is that, like the investigative sciences, knowledge requires some sort of empirical verification before it can be accepted as true. But all of us have the necessary experience to begin to reason about the nature of right and wrong in human action. What renders us more able to discern genuinely good choices from those that are evil is a moral character that lacks a certain kind of experience, namely, the experience of sin and selfishness. For it is no coincidence that sin and evil have always been associated with darkness. Experiencing evil by choosing it only immerses us more deeply into darkness, rendering us less able to see, but it is the light of virtue that gives us a good grasp, a real experiential knowledge, on what is truly good and morally beautiful.

Date posted: 2008-01-23

Free Will and Empathy

Synopsis: It is not that we are determined by our environment. Rather, the environment is in large part determined by us. At some point or within a certain period of time in our lives, we make a very general choice about ourselves. We choose to be a certain kind of person. This choice does not take place in a vacuum, but within an environment containing many different kinds of people. Very early on we choose to be like him, or like her, or not like this person or that person. In choosing actions, we simultaneously choose to be a certain way, and the actions that we choose constitute that certain way of being.

Date posted: 2007-12-30

What is the Purpose of Life?

Synopsis: Consider all the learning there is in this world, in libraries, in books, journals, periodicals, etc. What, ultimately, is it all for? The answer is: to serve human beings. All of it converges on the human person, whose life is brief. And to serve the ordinary human person is to serve God, not because in some pantheistic way man is God, but rather because through love one becomes the other, and God loves the least of us so much that He is the least among us.

Date posted: 2007-12-08

The Holiness of Teaching

Synopsis: Teaching is holy; for it is activity that imitates the angels, who see the face of God and, at the same time, generously pour out all they receive into the lower angels, filling and elevating them as much as their natures will allow.

Date posted: 2007-11-26

On Being a Man - and a Woman

Young people today have no heroes. That is why young males have no idea what it means to be a man, and few females have any idea what it means to be a woman. But there is no topic that seems to captivate them more than the subject of male and female differences, because insights here seem to provide them with clues about what it really means to be a man and a woman.

Date posted: 2007-11-17

Is There a Right to "Feel" Fulfilled?

Synopsis: One very real source of human misery is a "right" that many people today allege is theirs, namely, the right to feel fulfilled always and everywhere. So many married people have to live with the painful wound of infidelity, not to mention seniors who live with the loneliness of neglect, or children raised without the certainty that they are good and loveable, all because certain people in their lives are under the impression that the feeling of fulfillment is something which they are entitled to experience indefinitely.

Date posted: 2007-10-07

A Reply to Some Arguments by Dawkins for Young People

Recently, Richard Dawkins appeared on the CBC and spoke of his book The God Delusion. Although it is made to appear that Dawkins has new and never before heard of arguments against belief in God, his arguments are basically "same old" and very tired and proceed from a mind that has no understanding of the essential difference between philosophy and science, although he engages-very poorly-in philosophical discourse. The only thing new and exciting that he brings to his discussions are his expensive suits.

Date posted: 2007-09-01

Rising Above the Earth

Many people who would otherwise rise to great spiritual heights cannot do so because they are still attached to the earth, to one or more vices that they are unwilling to surrender, or to temporal goods to which they are inordinately attached and which act as weights that counter the force of the flame urging them upward.

Date posted: 2007-08-23

Learning to love bravely

I know that I would make an ineffective Protector of the Peace only because, ironically enough, I love peace too much. And much of what passes for sensitivity and compassion within the life of the Church is often little more than fear of confrontation that stems from an excessive love of peace, notwithstanding that sensitivity and compassion are very important qualities in themselves, especially with regard to ministering to the poor and the mentally ill.

Date posted: 2007-08-12

On the Power of Being Present

There are certain things that can bring unnecessary anxiety to the life of a believer. One is to forget that God has no use for us. After all, He created us not because He needs us, but because He loves us. And although He has no need of us, He uses us nonetheless.

Date posted: 2007-05-05

"An Introduction to Philosophy for Young People"

The typical university philosophy course today often gives students the impression that philosophical knowledge is radically inconclusive. But philosophy has a very important place in Catholic theological tradition. St. Thomas Aquinas calls philosophy the handmaiden of theology. This Online Introduction to Philosophy is designed to provide young people with a foundation that will allow them to become familiar with some of the most basic concepts that one finds within the tradition of Catholic philosophy, thus enabling them to navigate slowly through the murky waters of our post-modern culture without sinking.

Date posted: 2007-01-22

A Note on Purgatory

Consider the pain of wanting to right certain wrongs that we recognize we were responsible for, but are unable to right immediately. A person with a just will refuses to accept rest until those wrongs and the damage they have caused are made right, which is why the souls in purgatory accept their suffering -- caused by the knowledge of those wrongs -- until all of them are made right, which in most cases would take decades, some even centuries. The essence of purgatory's sorrow is summed up by poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92): "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"

Date posted: 2006-10-17

The Need to Reclaim Catholic Social Teaching

Synopsis: A large percentage of social justice advocates were at one time in their lives devotees of Karl Marx, and although some of them have left strict Marxism behind, they continue to approach both social problems and Catholic social teaching from a Marxist habitus. The result is often a very dilapidated doctrine that is politically inspired, misleading, and lacks the fullness exhibited in the social encyclicals.

Date posted: 2006-09-18

Grace and Progress

Synopsis: Even though I am living in the highly "sophisticated" twenty-first century, this theologian of the thirteenth century is smarter than I am. In fact, there isn't a theologian alive that can hold a candle to him. Some people will likely remain forever ahead of our time. Philosophical "supersessionism" is a modern delusion rooted in laziness, arrogance, and ignorance.

Date posted: 2006-07-22

On Holding a Position of Power

Synopsis: Like the normal distribution on a bell curve, most leaders seek to use their gifts on that level more or less for their own sake, are more or less open to compromise what cannot be compromised without destroying it, namely justice, are not necessarily doing great damage, but are not doing a tremendous amount of good either. And then we find a minority at both ends of the standard deviation. A good Catholic leader is called to move into the higher percentiles of the bell curve. He is given power from on high to join holiness to power.

Date posted: 2006-07-17

A Spiritual Work of Mercy

Synopsis: After 18 years in the classroom, I can assure anyone who feels they don't know young people that today's youth are not cut from the same cloth as were the young adults of the 60s "me" generation. There is a genuine openness in today's youth that makes it very easy to teach them the fundamentals of ethics. We'd best take advantage of the opportunity and give them some good news.

Date posted: 2006-07-13

Character Education in a Secular School

Synopsis: Without a single ultimate end towards which human persons ought to direct their choices, virtues like courage, justice, self-control, patience, affability, self-sacrifice, chastity, fidelity, etc., will mean different things to different people. Character education in a post-modern culture is akin to urging a person to drive, but without saying where, or providing shoes for a person with no legs, or sailing without a compass.

Date posted: 2006-07-12

Taking Issue with the Church

Many people today seem to "have issues" with Catholicism. But the "issues" of those who make known that they "have issues" always, without exception, turn out to be those that directly or indirectly bear upon their sex lives: homosexuality, fornication, adultery, contraception, divorce and remarriage, abortion, etc. When it comes right down to it, however, such people do not have issues with the Church or with Catholicism at all. They have issues with Christ.

Date posted: 2006-07-12

Diversity, Opinions, and Absolute Truth

The problem with terrorists is not that they believe in the existence of absolute truth; rather, the problem is in the content of what they hold to be true. It is precisely this content that gets people killed. Like all moral relativists and deconstructionists, terrorists hold that human life has no intrinsic and absolute value. In other words, human life is expendable. The popular idea that every opinion is just as valid as every other opinion has played a pivotal role in the deaths of countless victims of infanticide, abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.

Date posted: 2006-07-08

Birth Control: Is Canada Out Of Step With Rome?

Synopsis: This book is very interesting reading and will prove to be a great resource. It may not contain the prose of a poet or exhibit the architectural reasoning of a philosopher, but it is highly informative, rich on textual evidence, clear, exciting, thought provoking, and is perhaps better compared to the air tight case of a good lawyer.

Date posted: 2006-03-04

Social Justice Irony

Synopsis: Abortion is a social justice issue. The most helpless and voiceless are being murdered every day under our very noses. Who are the voices of these voiceless and helpless of all our human fellows? Or to put it another way, who are the "Romeros" of these victims? Ironically, it is not the people here who claim to be the voice of the voiceless overseas.

Date posted: 2006-02-26


Synopsis: Prudence is simultaneously an intellectual and moral virtue. One may be brilliant and learned without being morally good. The prudent man is one who does the good, as opposed to one who merely knows the good. There are many moral philosophers and theologians around, but prudent persons are probably not as common. It is much easier to talk about virtue -- including prudence -- than it is to actually be virtuous. A prudent person has practical wisdom, and although one may have speculative wisdom without being morally good, including the science of ethics that settles for general statements about what is variable, one cannot have practical wisdom without being morally good. The more noble a person is, the more wise will he be in the practical sense, that is, in the concrete decisions he is required to make daily in the here and now.

Date posted: 2006-01-16

The Indissoluble Nature of Marriage

Synopsis: Indissolubility is the good of marriage itself. If I can revoke what I give, then I have not given it entirely; what I gave was to some degree always in my possession. But marriage is a total self-giving, which implies that he has given himself irrevocably to her, and she to him. What both of them consented to was the establishment of a union that exists until death separates them, not before.

Date posted: 2005-10-15

Politics and the Supremacy of God

Synopsis: The idea that religion and morals are to be relegated to the private realm and that public decisions are to be free of any kind of contamination resulting from contact with a particular religion might appear to have biblical support. Jesus said to the disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians who came to set a trap for him: "...give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar -- and to God what belongs to God" (Mt 22: 21). Indeed, we must give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God, but Jesus knew that everything belongs to God, because God is the author of all that is.

Date posted: 2005-09-11

Divine Providence, Predestination, and the Law of the Cross

Synopsis: All things, every entity and the gradual realization of every existing event, are subject to the providence or government of God, because He is the first existential and perpetual cause of whatever is, including activity. Nothing happens outside of God's providence. God contains within himself all the perfections found in created things. And since justice is a perfection, God is subsistent Justice. It follows that whatever God does is just, because God, who is Justice, does it.

Date posted: 2005-09-04

Fear No Evil

Synopsis: The principal and inevitable mistake of those who are committed to evil is their failure to realize the priority of divine providence. God's knowledge is eternal and entirely unlimited. It follows that their evil is known eternally. And since God is unlimited power as well as unlimited goodness, He will not allow their evil to prevail. Hence, those committed to evil have lost already.

Date posted: 2005-09-03

The Dynamics of Evil

Synopsis: It is of the nature of egotism to regard oneself as superior to others, and so the egotism in him demands that he be recognized as such. His desire for affirmation is commensurate with the intensity of his own egotism, and so his desire for affirmation is inordinate. To procure the affirmation he requires in order to convince himself that he exists and is superior, he sets out to create an image or reflection, one that is highly likeable and acceptable. Thus, the clandestine and narcissistic nature of evil.

Date posted: 2005-09-03

The Existence and Nature of Evil Spirit

Synopsis: Christians believe that human beings live in the midst of a very subtle war, a preternatural war. A battle rages. This silent but preternatural war is indeed over inasmuch as victory has been won, the kingdom of darkness has been defeated (Jn 12: 31-32). But battles remain.

Date posted: 2005-09-03

Angels: A Six Part Series

Synopsis: We live in the midst of a preternatural world, a world that most of us are practically unaware of. In some ways we are asleep, like the child in the crib who is not aware of what is happening outside the narrow perspective of his own room. But we are not alone. We are surrounded at every instant by myriads of angels, pure spirits exceedingly superior in nature to human beings.

Date posted: 2005-09-02

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: An Exposition on the Trinity

Synopsis: The central mystery of the Christian faith is that God is three Persons in one divine nature. This is the mystery of the Trinity. A Christian is one who believes that God is this Trinity of Persons. The reason is that Christ revealed God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and a Christian is one who believes in the claims of Christ.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Some Fundamental Principles of Catholic Theology

Synopsis: St. Anselm, a great theologian and philosopher of the 11th century, coined the phrase "fides quaerens intellectum" (faith seeking understanding). This is precisely what theology is: faith seeking understanding. As such, faith is the starting point of theology, which works from the top down (from principles revealed by God and held by faith), while philosophy works from the bottom up (from first principles grasped by the natural light of reason). Thus, the theological virtue of faith is the sine qua non of theology. If a person does not believe in the claims of Christ, if a person does not believe the essential message of Christ's proclamation of the kingdom, then it is not possible to do theology, understand it or appreciate it.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Preparation "H"

Synopsis: We tell our children that kindergarten is a preparation for elementary school, and that elementary school is a preparation for high school, and high school a preparation for university, and university a preparation for the world, but we stop there and leave them ignorant about that for which life itself is a preparation. But our entire life here is really nothing other than a preparation for heaven.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Miracles and the Scourge of Rationalism

Synopsis: It is possible for God to bring about an event that is outside the order of the laws of nature if He so chooses. This is especially true if Jesus is the Incarnation of the Son. If all things came to be through the Word, and if Jesus is the Word who came into the world, then the move from faith in the Incarnation to faith in the fact that Jesus spoke and the "wind and the sea obey him" is not a difficult step to take. Miracles are only difficult for the person who has chosen not to believe in them.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Humility and the Limits of Human Intelligence

Synopsis: Human knowing is slow, discursive, and laborious. Adolescents routinely learn things in math class, all within the span of a semester, that have taken the most brilliant human minds (i.e., Descartes, Pascal, Newton, etc.) centuries to discover. It is obvious that our glory lies not in our intelligence. On the contrary, human beings stand, as it were, surrounded on all sides by a thick fog that allows us to see only a few feet in front of us, a few feet behind, very little below and not much that is above us. Our glory lies in humility.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Religion: A Source of Division?

Synopsis: Strictly speaking, it isn't politics, ethics, or religion that are divisive forces. Human beings are divisive. And man is essentially a political animal, a religious animal, and a moral agent. If there were no religions in the world, would we necessarily all agree with one another and live in complete harmony? One would have to be naive to think so.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Individualism and Ecclesiastical Authority

Synopsis: The uneasiness and general suspicion towards authority that characterizes the post 60s liberal mind owes itself in part to Sartre. Freedom does not mean creating my own nature. Rather, it involves both knowing how I ought to choose so as to fulfill my nature which I have in common with every other human person, and having the habits (both the virtues and divine grace) that will enable me to make those choices. In other words, freedom is an achievement. In this light, authority can be seen to exist for the sake of my freedom, not as an enemy of it.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier: A Brief Look at Fatherhood, Trinity, and Analogy

Synopsis: God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The tendency on the part of some people to begin public Catholic prayer services "in the name of the creator, the redeemer, and the sanctifier" is deeply misguided. The refusal to refer to God as Father and to see such designation as an anthropomorphism, or a sexist projection of a specifically male quality onto God, is rooted in a confusion between a metaphor and an analogy.

Date posted: 2005-08-21

Fortitude and Emotional Well-Being

Synopsis: The typical hedonist today does not aspire to anything larger and higher, but settles for "feeling good". Such a life does not require fortitude. But a truly meaningful life, one whose meaning (direction) is determined in regards to man's true end -- which is the knowledge and love of the greatest good -- does indeed require a host of virtues belonging to fortitude. The virtue of temperance is thus not enough for emotional well-being, since temperance deals with the greatest pleasures, not the greatest difficulties. Rather, it belongs to fortitude to remove the obstacles that withdraw the will from following reason on account of difficulties that give rise to fear and/or daring.

Date posted: 2005-08-19

Temperance and Emotional Well-Being

Synopsis: Temperance is the first virtue that perfects man's ability to act well with one's self from within one's self. It perfects the concupiscible power, and thus the emotions of love, hate, sensible joy, desire, aversion and sadness or sorrow. Temperance is primarily about desires for the greatest pleasures.

Date posted: 2005-08-19

Pax and the Emotional Life

Synopsis: If we keep our attention focused on the meaning of pax as a positive state of harmony and order -- and even submission -- , the key to a genuinely peaceful life will more readily come to light. The human person is an emotional being, and so an emotionally healthy life, one that results in a profound sense of peace (pax), will come about as a result of a harmonious ordering of the eleven basic emotions.

Date posted: 2005-08-18

Important Clarifications on the Meaning of "Rights"

Synopsis: Since 1982 there has been an increasing tendency on the part of Canadians to speak of rights as if they were principles, that is, starting points of moral and political argument. This is a serious problem, because rights are not principles, but conclusions. If a person makes claim to certain rights, he must be able to carefully demonstrate his claim, and the only way to do this is to ground them in duties.

Date posted: 2005-08-17

A Few Thoughts on the Existence and Nature of Hell

Synopsis: Hell is one of the greatest signs of God's love for us: He loves us so much, that He will allow us to reject Him for all eternity.

Date posted: 2005-08-17

Is It Ever As Simple As Black and White?

Synopsis: All great moral philosophers have understood that morality is never so simple as black and white. So why is this particular dictum more frequently heard today? It is usually nothing more than an indicator of a moral relativism lurking in the background. Like other post-modern deceptions, this one is based on a half truth, and because its real meaning is left unexplained, people tend to fall for it.

Date posted: 2005-08-13

The Truth Does Not Hurt

Synopsis: It is simply not thecase that clearly expounding the basic truths of sexual morality as the Church has understood and defended it for two thousand years will make those who are not living up to it feel bad about themselves, ashamed of themselves, or feel that they are unloved by God and unlovable.

Date posted: 2005-07-31

Post-Modernism and the Gospel

Synopsis: Few Christians see any incongruity between the conclusions of post-modernism and the fundamental principles of the gospel. But the incongruity is profound and it becomes especially obvious when one studies the philosophical principles that account for these conclusions. What follows is a brief summary of the roots of post-modernism and an attempt to see how its premises measure up to Scripture.

Date posted: 2005-07-29

The Fall of Man

Synopsis: Like the creation account, the story of the Fall employs a type of allegory that acts as a vehicle which communicates truths that are primarily of a theological nature. In fact, this account of the Fall of Man is a continuation of the account begun in chapter two. What this account makes known is that the covenant established between God and humanity in the creation of the world has been broken by man. It communicates the answer to the question of the origin of evil.

Date posted: 2005-07-29


Synopsis: The first two chapters of the first book of the bible concern themselves with the genesis of creation. Bear in mind that these chapters are theological, not historical. As such, they reveal theological truths, that is, truths about God and His relationship to creation.

Date posted: 2005-07-21

In the Beginning was the Word

Synopsis: "In the beginning (in arche) was the Word (Logos): the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him." The Word is that upon which the entire order of creation depends for its existence at every instant. The prologue of the Gospel of John is a New Testament re-creation story. But here, we come to know this Word personally and in the flesh.

Date posted: 2005-07-21

A Note on Masturbating to Procure Sperm

Synopsis: Masturbating in order to procure sperm is still masturbation. But the moral problem in masturbation is that the act is deficient in human goods. The sex act is unitive and procreative, but masturbation is neither unitive nor procreative.

Date posted: 2005-06-14

Reverencing Children in a Pagan World

Synopsis: What I found particularly striking about this year was the tone that the political campaigning eventually acquired just prior to the federal election held at the end of June. Any candidate that was opposed to same-sex marriage, abortion, and in favor of tightening the Charter to bring about tougher legislation on child pornography, was very much made to appear as some kind of dangerous extremist, emotionally out of kilter. As my good friend Father John Basso said to me recently, we really are like the early Christians among the pagans. Orthodox Catholics have become a very strange lot indeed. One gets a sense of how strange Christians appeared to the pagans in the Epistle to Diognetus, written around the end of the second century.

Date posted: 2005-05-16

What It Means To Hate

Synopsis: Dr. Jack Kevorkian was a very polite human being, especially towards his clients. He was very considerate of his clients feelings, and he was unwilling to oppose his will to theirs. He did not hold negative or adverse feelings towards any of them, but he hated them entirely

Date posted: 2005-05-16

Important Clarifications on the Meaning of "Conscience"

For a Catholic to make a moral decision on the basis of illegitimate dissent is to act in violation of conscience, not in accordance with it. The very fact that one is not plagued by guilt afterwards does not mitigate the argument. Feelings of guilt do not always accompany decisions that we know might be wrong, are probably wrong, or are in fact wrong.

Date posted: 2005-05-12

Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil

The narcissist is incapable of love; for his narcissism is the fruit of his refusal to revere others for their own sake, that is, to love others as another self, equal in dignity to himself. His refusal to love barred him from loving himself because he became depleted and less lovable to himself. What he loves is the false self he has created and that he needs to see reflected in the affirmation and comportment of others. Such people are aptly referred to as narcissists.

Date posted: 2005-04-09

On the Nature of the Embryo

Synopsis: A Pawn that reaches the 8th rank does not look like a Queen, but it is a Queen because it functions like a Queen, that is, it has the power to move in any direction and for as many spaces as the player wishes. Despite its appearance, it is more than a Pawn, and we know this only by observing how it functions. It functions like a Queen, because it has the potentiality of a Queen, because it is a Queen. Similarly, the embryo, unlike a sperm, eventually comes to see, hear, kick, suck its thumb, and cry. It functions like a human person, because it has the potentialities of a human person, because it is a human person.

Date posted: 2005-03-24

A Note on the Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and state means just what it says. No secular prince can rightly usurp ecclesiastical office, as we saw happen in 16th century England. But separation of Church and state has somehow come to mean "separation of state and religion". This, however, was not originally the case. The feast of Christ the King is precisely the reason why, for the Catholic, religion and politics are not and never will be separate. Articles of faith exceed the grasp of reason and thus cannot be imposed. However, the principles of practical wisdom and civil rights issues like abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, etc., are not properly speaking matters of faith, but matters of the natural moral law that require nothing but reason in order to be understood.

Date posted: 2004-12-16

Religious "Tolerance" and Diversity

If one actually spends a little time listening to what it is the world religions have been saying for centuries, it should be obvious that whatever our apparent openness to them means, it certainly is not about taking seriously the content of their wisdom. The post-modern openness to religious diversity is not rooted in a genuine respect for the wisdom to be found therein. It is little more than a recipe devised to allow us to continue hiding undetected behind the dark cloak of our moral and cultural relativism.

Date posted: 2004-12-15

Living Like You Were Dying

One thing I've noticed about young people in recent years is the increasing popularity of the "cult of experience". Many of our students are sleep deprived; to them, life is about accumulating as many experiences as possible. But life cannot be about "tasting" the many and varied experiences that this world has to offer, because this world is passing away (Mt 24, 35), and like anything we taste, the experience is bound for the irretrievable past. It is by dying to this life, by entering into the Person who alone died to this life in order to resurrect it, by following him into the tomb that we find life. This is not quite living like you were dying. It is actually living because you have died.

Date posted: 2004-11-22

Character is Everything

Many people are just not doing okay emotionally and psychologically, but are profoundly restless. And in seeking only complacency, they miss their destiny. For life is nothing but a preparation for heaven. And we prepare by tending to our character, that is, by working hard to cultivate the virtues. If we neglect this, we're sunk.

Date posted: 2004-09-29

All is Gift

Synopsis: My life does not belong to me, but to God. And should I or my sister or my brother be called home after 25 years, or 15 years, or even 5 years, one cannot accuse God of depriving me, or her, or him, of what is rightfully mine, hers, or his. Everything was bonus from the start. The reason so many people are not nearly as happy as they could be is that they go through life without the explicit awareness that everything in their lives is pure gift.

Date posted: 2004-09-25

Teenage Magnanimity and the Beautiful

Synopsis: Anyone who has worked with teenagers knows that the happiest and most emotionally healthy of them are those who aspire after great and honorable ends. The virtue of magnanimity involves a stretching forth of the mind to great honors. Happiness is directly related to upward movement, that is, to the pursuit of what is truly larger and greater than oneself.

Date posted: 2004-09-18

A Brief Note on the "Right to Marry" and the "Right to Choose"

Synopsis: As for the unqualified expression "right to choose", we need only ask those who employ it: Why not complete the expression? We all know that there really is no such thing as a right to choose per se. One must indicate what is being chosen: ie, child abuse, racism, a new car, or destroying developing human life, etc.

Date posted: 2004-09-14

Girls, Be Wary!

Synopsis: The girl who fails to understand that boys are very different psychologically and that they tend to lack that integration between body and person that she naturally possesses will project her own natural integration upon the man. She will naively believe that he is not using her, and that his act of intercourse is an expression of a deep and personal self-giving.

Date posted: 2004-09-13

The Moral Difference Between Contraception and Natural Family Planning

I am not so naive as to think that we can convince most people in this country that contraception is a disordered choice. For we live in a country in which the majority thinks that it is perfectly okay to destroy a developing human life in the womb if such a life proves inconvenient. There is little hope that we can persuade such a people all at once and within the foreseeable future that preventing possible human life from becoming an actuality is morally wrong. Such a task can only be accomplished one person at a time, and I am convinced that the right time to begin this rather laborious task is adolescence.

Date posted: 2004-09-10

The Ethics of Baby Making

The hardest issue to deal with in all of ethics - at least in my experience - has been the issue of In Vitro Fertilization. Church teaching on the ethics of technologized parenthood seems counterintuitive at first glance; for the action of conceiving a baby in vitro is not directed against human life. Thus, it is not contra-life, but apparently pro-life. So where is the difficulty? Why can't a married couple, who cannot conceive a baby on their own, turn to In Vitro Fertilization?

Date posted: 2004-09-08

A Reply to a Letter on Abortion

The irony is that some Christian ministers today will justify abortion in the name of compassion, as examples of His rule. Things haven't changed all that much. A further irony is that the contention of the author of this letter is that love relativizes ethics. That's just what one needs to bring back the burning of heretics in Christ's name, a relativistic ethics that separates love from the concrete demands of a natural law morality. Such an ethics can justify just about anything, especially if it can justify the destruction of the most helpless and voiceless among us.

Date posted: 2004-09-04

Conversing in the Womb

While doing graduate work in Theology at the University of Montreal during the late 80s, I recall being suddenly struck by the ironies with which modern thought is replete. I discovered quickly enough that contemporary philosophy that was then used to undermine much of traditional Catholic theology could just as easily be employed to elucidate and defend it. Contradiction soon became a kind of beacon, allowing me to distinguish the true liberal from the false, neo-Hegelian liberalism that characterizes much of what passes for liberal thought today.

Date posted: 2004-09-03

Teenage Modesty and the Beautiful

Synopsis: The teenage girl who is neither sexually promiscuous nor so emotionally insecure as to need to be the object of male desire, will not want her attire to express a disposition to the contrary.

Date posted: 2004-09-01

Tattoos and the Illusion of Permanency

Synopsis: A tattoo is an artificial means of identifying and defining oneself. But if we continue to grow psychologically, the tattoo is a mark on our body that is destined to belong to another era of our lives that we are going to want to remember only occasionally, and often just for a laugh.

Date posted: 2004-08-01

Some Common Confusions and Clarifications

Synopsis: Today the word "bigot" is thrown around quite liberally. For instance, some homosexual activists will quickly dismiss anyone who argues against them as a bigot. The irony is that many of these activists stubbornly refuse to concede to reasonable arguments, and so they prove themselves to be far more bigoted than the persons they are quick to label as "bigots".

Date posted: 2003-11-01

Ideological Thinking and the Need to Be Critical

Synopsis: At one time, universities -- especially Catholic universities--were places where a person could study the great thinkers and the great ideas in order to discover enduring principles and truths not subject to the passing of time, principles in light of which a society could critically evaluate and reform itself. But, generally speaking, this is no longer the case. The current habit of thinking that dominates university campuses today is more ideological in nature.

Date posted: 2003-06-01

The Best is Always Yet to Come

Synopsis: If there is one thing that young people should try to remember, it is that the best is always yet to come. This is true for every stage of human development. Life at infancy is better than life in the womb; for life in the womb is ordered towards life in the world. And life at childhood is better than life at the breast, and adolescence is better, richer, and more exciting than the life of the toddler. Furthermore, I have yet to meet anyone who wishes to return to his teenage years. The fun of playing with your own children and the joy involved in watching them grow up is far richer and more meaningful than going to a club or dance unless, of course, one is mentally still a child, as many adults in fact are. But even this stage is far from being the best; rather, the best is still yet to come, although this becomes more difficult to explain.

Date posted: 2002-12-01

What in the World is Love?

Synopsis: Genuine human love, which I will call disinterested love, is loving the other as another self, or willing the best for the other and choosing in accordance with that will. This is the only kind of love that is freely given. This love is not a feeling, but an act of the will. It is not an emotion -- although it may be accompanied by emotions.

Date posted: 2002-11-01

Sex, Lies, and a President's Leadership

Synopsis: A President is pre-eminently a leader. As such, he or she is someone we look towards as a source of inspiration, a source of emulation; for the entire nation is entrusted to his care. Because of this it is his or her grave responsibility to embody the highest moral standards.

Date posted: 2002-10-02

Unisex Marriage: A Brief Response for Teenagers

Synopsis: It isn't that the Church will not allow homosexual couples to be married. Rather, it is impossible for two people of the same sex to be married. By definition, marriage is "a joining of two into one flesh, one body". A male cannot receive the fertility of another man, nor can a woman receive the fertility of another woman. Only a man can receive the total gift of another woman, and only a woman can receive the total bodily gift of another man.

Date posted: 2002-09-02

A Word on Premarital Sex

Synopsis: There are restrictions involved in the use of anything that is truly good and holy, and sex is indeed good and holy. The sex act only becomes a source of genuine human happiness when it becomes a genuinely human act. But a genuinely human act is one that serves intelligible human goods. The sex act that expresses the intelligible human goods of conjugal love and is open to the procreation of new life is humanly good and is a source of human well-being. But premarital sex (fornication) has no intelligible goodness.

Date posted: 2001-09-01

The Secret to Looking Beautiful

Synopsis: The purpose of human life is not "feeling good", but being good, and as a leading philosopher recently wrote, "the beautiful is the way the good manifests itself to the rational creature." A person of good moral character will be experienced by others as a beautiful person, as a very attractive person. We become beautiful by choosing the good (kalon).

Date posted: 2001-02-01

Love can only be channelled through virtue

Synopsis: We sing about love and we are convinced that love is the solution to our problems, and in many ways this is true. But marriages continue to burn and families disintegrate, and it seems that kids are becoming increasingly violent. The problem is that our solution -- more love -- is too simple; for human nature is far too complex to be adequately dealt with by such a simple solution.

Date posted: 2000-10-01