The Dream Hoarders: You Should Read This

I’m grateful for many gifts my parents have given me, but certainly their stress on the importance of education and school is near the top of the list. Neither of them went to college, but they worked to send me to an outstanding Jesuit high school. From there, I went to Carleton College, a top-ten national liberal arts college, and the rest is history. So in a sense, I’ve lived “the American dream.” And if I did it, isn’t it possible for everyone to do it? The message of Richard V. Reeves’ powerful new book, The Dream Hoarders, is...

Read More

Fear and Knowing—12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 94 Jeremiah 20:10—13 Psalm 69 Romans 5:12—15 Matthew 10:26—33   What is it that makes us most afraid: pain, suffering, and loss, or the possibility of their future occurrence? What is it that makes children afraid to go into a dark room alone, even if that room happens to be their own? Could it be that what makes us most afraid is the combination of our abiding knowledge that we are vulnerable to suffering together with our ignorance of when that suffering might come upon us, where it might come from, and what it might mean? There is little...

Read More

Welcome to Corrymeela, Ireland: Reflections on American Catholicism and Reconciliation

For the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting Ireland – south and north – with some students from the University of Dayton. I’ve been learning a lot about Irish history and culture. One of the amazing places we visited is Corrymeela, an ecumenical space for peace and reconciliation.  While there, the students and faculty learned about specific ways Corrymeela brought together people across deep and violent divisions in the Troubles of the late 20th century. We learned about ways Corrymeela continues to advocate for peace in Ireland, as well as among American gang members, in other places in the...

Read More

Corpus Christi: Finding Unity in Division

Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. Catholics make a big deal about the Eucharist. We hold by faith that Christ is corporally present in some mysterious way, that what we eat is not substantially bread and what we drink is not substantially wine, but rather, the real and actual body and blood of Jesus. But we also believe that in doing so, we are incorporated corporally into intimate unity with that same Christ Jesus. And we also believe that in our incorporation into Christ’s...

Read More

Three Problems with Having so Many Catholic Societies

This weekend I’m at the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I spent last weekend at the College Theology Society (CTS) annual meeting at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. In between these meetings, the Black Catholic Theologians (BCT) and the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS) held a joint meeting in Albuquerque.  Add into this mix the Academy of Catholic Theology (ACT) which meets toward the end of May in Washington, DC, and you have a lot of meetings. Conferences can be energizing and exciting.  Going means...

Read More

Trinity Sunday: Who God Really Is

Readings: Exodus 34:4-9; 2 Cor. 13:11-13; Jn. 3:16-18 One theological mistake about the Trinity is to reduce it to an example of some more abstract idea: say, that God is “relational.” Or even to make it demonstrate something about anthropology: we humans are “relational” as persons. While these inferences are true, they aren’t really what the doctrine is about. The doctrine is about who God is, not as “relational,” but as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The language of “persons,” after all, came about not as a divine claim which then was applied to humans. The language is...

Read More

Fraternity and Solidarity in Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate

The documents of Catholic social teaching are a treasure store that reward repeated reading. I recently learned from reading a commentary on Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate by the Italian economist Stefano Zamagni that in the encyclical, Benedict makes it a point to distinguish the terms “fraternity” and “solidarity,” two terms that on the surface seem fairly similar. In Zamagni’s view, this represents a development in Catholic social teaching. Zamagni describes the difference in this way: “solidarity is the principle of social organization that enables unequals to become equals, fraternity is the principle that allows equals to be...

Read More

Priestdaddy Offends and Disgusts. You should read it!

I recently read Patricia Lockwood’s memoir Priestdaddy. Lockwood is a poet with a unique backstory—her father is an ordained Catholic priest. My original intention for picking up the memoir was to gain insights into what it might be like to have married priests with families. Lockwood doesn’t give us much in the regard. Her father is almost a caricature, not a real person. He is overweight, fiercely conservative, spending his time at home in his study lounging in his underwear and listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching football. When his adult children and grandchildren visit, he makes a five...

Read More

A Summer Social Justice Playlist

I wanna run I want to hide I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside I want to reach out and touch the flame Where the streets have no name. These are tough times for social justice folks. No matter the social justice issue you care most deeply about– food security for the poor, migrant justice, the Syrian refugee crisis, climate change, health care access, LGBTQ equality, transparency in campaign finance, and on and on– there seem to be daily news stories about how we are taking steps backwards on these issues. You may want to...

Read More

Why Paris is not Prudential

Support for the Paris Accord is typically thought to be one of those “prudential judgments” for Catholics. So the possibility that the US will pull out may seem to be a matter of reasonable disagreement among “people of good will.” I want to suggest two reason to think that is very unlikely, and that in fact support for the Paris Accord – or at least for some binding global agreement on carbon emissions – is not a matter of prudential judgment, but an essential principle of Catholic practice. The two reasons are these. One is the fact of the...

Read More

Recent Tweets