Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Treating God’s Anointed

1 SM 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-2 PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13 1 COR 15:45-49 LK 6:27-38 Today’s reading from 1 Samuel depicts David sneaking close enough to his enemy Saul – close enough to kill him – but making off with Saul’s spear and water jug. This is actually the second time David has sneaked close to Saul – the first time (1 Samuel 24:1-5), he cuts a piece of tunic off Saul’s robe. In both cases, David names Saul as the Lord’s anointed, and we get a sense of how God calls us to treat the Lord’s...

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“Would you sign this?”: CMT Contributors in Dialogue (First Post in Series)

I reached out last week to my colleagues at this blog, and in the email thread that followed, it was suggested that we make our conversation more public by developing a series of posts. I agreed to start us off. The views expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the positions of anyone else. **** I had been asked in January to serve as a panelist at an event for Catholics in my local area, and accepted the invitation with enthusiasm. My contact at the organization, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national organization with local chapters, told me that I would be asked to speak about a virtue and how that virtue applied to my life of Christian discipleship. Other panelists would speak from their experience about this same virtue, and there would also be time for networking and prayer. It sounded great. I was asked to send my bio and a picture for the marketing materials; I did. I made arrangements to have child care coverage for that evening and set aside time to prepare my remarks. Some time went by, and then I received an email asking me to sign the statement below, to make sure “that those who speak at our events are committed to Church teaching.” Unsure exactly what that meant, I opened the attachment. FAITHFULNESS TO CHURCH TEACHING In order...

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A very small defense of romance

In a culture as lonely and anxious and distracted as ours, we are starved for tenderness. We gulp down whatever anodyne versions of it can be mass produced: rom-coms and new outfits, jewelry and alcohol and porn soft and hard. We cannot accept the moment as just a moment, because we fear there may be nothing else good for us. Our despair is the lie that poisons this small gift.

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We Don’t Need a Requiem Mass for Moral Theology: A Response to Camosy’s Claim That Our Discipline is in Crisis

In November, CMT contributor Charles Camosy wrote a piece for Church Life Journal entitled “The Crisis of Catholic Moral Theology.”  His arguments have been given new life this week in an America piece in which Camosy is interviewed by Tom Elitz, S.J., “Has Moral Theology Left Catholic Tradition Behind?” In both places, Camosy argues that the field of moral theology is in crisis. But I think it is too early to plan the Requiem Mass for our field. It is true that huge demographic and institutional shifts are underway. But this is not a field in crisis. This is a field responding to urgent and complex questions all over the world, drawing on the wisdom of the past and the data of the present, including data from a variety of fields in the social sciences and hard sciences. In these pieces, Camosy argues that scholars of Catholic moral theology are not doing theology the way he thinks it should be done. And sometimes they even have the nerve to call themselves social ethicists instead of moral theologians. But I think we need to step back and think about some very basic questions that his critique of the field raises. What do I need to have to demonstrate to someone that I “belong” in the guild of Catholic moral theology? What exactly has been lost by expanding our field’s methodological...

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Jack Kerouac, Curiosity, And The Gift Of Time

I’ve been reading Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (1957)—this is the second time I’ve made space in my life to listen along as Sal recounts the stories of his journeys with Dean Moriarty. On The Road was the first book I ever read by Kerouac. It was, I believe, the first book that ever made me think about writing—not my own writing, but writing as a thing that someone does, a thing that someone can choose to do. It was also, I believe, the first book that ever made me think about “curiosity”—not my own curiosity, but “curiosity” as a thing that someone...

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Twitter as structure of sin

I have tried a few times over the past year or two to become a true “Twitter user” (@cloutiertheo) – meaning of course that one must be active and consistent in not only checking it but in contributing to it. I have failed each time. In part, this is because I can’t and won’t spend my life tethered to inputs from screens, and I have a “real” job as a professor. Professional journalists and people with high enough status jobs that someone can manage a twitter feed for them are one thing, but I’m not those things. But in...

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Bridging Faith and Ordinary Life – Ignatian Insights

In many ways, the work on this blog aligns with my primary focus as a moral theologian: how the Catholic faith can shape our decisions not just in moments of profound moral crisis, but in the very rigmarole of ordinary life. Our two most recent posts offer a clear case in point. Lorraine Cuddeback-Gedeon posted a series of questions that sought to put the larger emphases of the Catholic tradition in conversation the last week’s controversy du jour. On the same day, Miguel Romero discussed some of the parameters he uses to ground the dialogue between faith and contemporary...

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Mercy And This Present Darkness

Is it important for Catholic moral theologians to comment on the most recent headlines? It seems improper to write and post a public comment on the CMT Blog that does not directly engage one of the dramatic headlines from the past few months, or weeks, or days. I have in mind headlines describing any of the various humanitarian, moral, intellectual, environmental, economic, and political catastrophes currently unfolding in the United States of America and globally. To do otherwise, it seems, would be like whistling while your neighbor’s house burns…or while your own house burns. Is there not a plain...

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Questions for those who Wore MAGA Hats at the March for Life

Before I jump into the meat of this post, I want to do some throat-clearing: yes, the topic of this post is inspired by the coverage of Covington Catholic school and the highly-debated, highly-polarizing events that transpired at the March for Life. But, no, I am not jumping into the well-trod fray arguing about who started the confrontation, who bears the most culpability for it, the role of social media in perpetuating it, or any of those questions currently filling the Catholic corners of the internet. I am honing in on one, key element of that video, one which...

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Announcing January 2019 Issue of Journal of Moral Theology on “Catholic Health Ministry”

Catholic moral theologians, such as Richard McCormick, S.J., were among the pioneers of 20th-century medical ethics and bioethics. A lot has happened during the subsequent decades, and it seems that moral theologians today are not associated as much, if at all, with the field of Catholic health care. But the need remains, and the demand may even have increased, for Catholic moral theologians to turn their gaze to this area that ultimately includes and affects us all one way or another, even if only as patients. Rachelle Barina, Nathaniel Hibner, and I have co-edited (with the much appreciated efforts...

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