The Nature of Forgiveness — Is it Humanly Possible?

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

The exalted nature of forgiveness is attested to by the fact that it presupposes a number of other virtues.  Consider three virtues in particular: justice, clemency, and mercy. Justice has the nature of an equation: Borrowing ten dollars requires returning ten dollars. When justice is violated, punishment or restitution of some kind is required. Herein is the timeless significance of bringing […]

The Nature of Forgiveness — Is it Humanly Possible?

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

The exalted nature of forgiveness is attested to by the fact that it presupposes a number of other virtues.  Consider three virtues in particular: justice, clemency, and mercy. Justice has the nature of an equation: Borrowing ten dollars requires returning ten dollars. When justice is violated, punishment or restitution of some kind is required. Herein is the timeless significance of bringing […]

Worlds Apart

Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" on the Altar Wall in the Sistine Chapel Photography by Mark Armstrong

I am a father and a philosopher.  This is not necessarily an unusual combination, but it does give me a range of interests that spans two rather distinctive worlds.  I am interested in the family, its challenges and rewards, its hard work and its joyful celebrations.  As a philosopher, I am interested in an array of ideas that range from […]

The Godliness of Motherhood

According to a Jewish proverb, “God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers.” This is a fine, enduring sentiment. I do think, however, that by reversing the statement we come closer to the truth: “God could be everywhere and proved it by creating mothers.” This image is consistent with the American novelist William Makepeace Thackeray’s remark, in Vanity Fair, […]

How can a loving God allow his beloved creature, made in his own image, to die?

Creation of Adam (detail) by Michaelangelo

God is Love! This is the most glorious and welcomed notion in all of Christian theology. Man must die! This is the most vexing and most unwelcomed realization in the domain of human existence. How can a loving God allow his beloved creature, made in his own image, to die? This is the central paradox of existential theology — and […]

The Nature of Forgiveness — Is it Humanly Possible?

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

The exalted nature of forgiveness is attested to by the fact that it presupposes a number of other virtues.  Consider three virtues in particular: justice, clemency, and mercy. Justice has the nature of an equation: Borrowing 10 dollars requires returning 10 dollars. When justice is violated, punishment or restitution of some kind is required. Herein is the timeless significance of […]

The Godliness of Motherhood

Blessed Virgin Mary with Jesus

According to a Jewish proverb, “God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers.” This is a fine, enduring sentiment. I do think, however, that by reversing the statement we come closer to the truth: “God could be everywhere and proved it by creating mothers.” This image is consistent with the American novelist William Makepeace Thackeray’s remark, in Vanity Fair, […]

The Hand of Hope

In the year 1508, Pope Julius II ordered a reluctant Michelangelo Buonarroti — who considered himself a sculptor and not a painter—to paint the huge vault of the Sistine Chapel, which, since the time of Sixtus IV, displayed nothing more resplendent than a blue field sprinkled with golden stars.  Despite his initial reluctance, Michelangelo soon mastered the difficult technique of […]

The Virtue of Fairness

Return of the Prodigal Son by Murillo

It may very well be that the first moral judgment a child utters is “That’s not fair!” Virtually all studies on the subject report that children as young as four already have an active and flourishing sense of fairness. The difference between fairness and justice, though subtle, is pivotal in the area of virtue education. A firm grasp of fairness […]

Marriage is Both Biblical and Natural

Wedding RingsWedding Rings

A group of Pharisees came to Jesus hoping to trap Him on the issue of marriage and divorce.  First, they asked, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”  They were scheming to find at least one exemption that would allow for divorce.  But Jesus turned their attention to the authority of the Old Testament and the Book […]