Western culture

Paul Tillich and “The Shape of Water”

SPOILER ALERT! I knew that The Shape of Water would win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It checked three of the major Hollywood boxes: celebration of oppressed people, valorization of complete sexual freedom, and a Christian villain. It used to be that a black hat or shifty eyes or a foreign accent would give someone away as the bad […]

An Evening with William Lane Craig

“The School of Athens” (detail showing Aristotle with the elder Plato) by Raphael

Ten years ago, when I was a visiting scholar at the North American College in Rome, I fell into a spirited conversation with one of the seminarians about the state of evangelization in America. We both were bemoaning the fact that the “new” atheists—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and others—were regularly attacking religion, and I commented that no Christian […]

The Surprising Message of “Downsizing”

Carpathian mountain valley

SPOILER ALERT! When I saw the trailer for Alexander Payne’s new film, Downsizing, I thought the movie would be a light-hearted farce, relying principally on visual gags. In point of fact, the jokes based on the contrast between regular-size people and their five-inch tall counterparts are surprisingly rare. Most of the film deals with events within the world of the […]

Truly Right and Just Thanksgiving

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

From November 25, 2016… It is truly right and just At every Mass, one of the most significant dialogues in human life occurs. The priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” the faithful respond, “It is right and just,” and the priest replies with a saying of great theological depth: “It is truly right and just, […]

The New Evangelization and the Nones

"Sermon on the Mount" St. Matthew's Church altarpiece by Henrik Olrik

On Monday this week I had the joy to attend the Erasmus Lecture in New York sponsored annually by First Things magazine. It has a rich history, starting in 1988 when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger inaugurated the tradition. This year the Lecture was given by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, creator of the Catholicism Series, founder of Word […]

Three Root Issues that stand between Catholics and the Modern World

Disputa (Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament - Detail) by Raphael

The great philosopher Aristotle said “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.” These modern times bear out this wisdom. When influential thinkers of the past such as William of Occam, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, G.W. F. Hegel and several others took deviations from the truth in their philosophies, it […]

Three Root Issues that stand between Catholics and the Modern World

Disputa (Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament - Detail) by Raphael

The great philosopher Aristotle said “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.” These modern times bear out this wisdom. When influential thinkers of the past such as William of Occam, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, G.W. F. Hegel and several others took deviations from the truth in their philosophies, it […]

Marx, Atheistic Materialism and Class Struggle

If ever someone challenges the truthfulness of the concept that “ideas have consequences” it would be good to remind them of our next philosopher in this examination of the causes of our modern “God is Dead” morality. Besides Karl Marx, no other writer has written anything that has caused so much bloodshed in the history of ideas. As a result […]

A Philosophy Built on Sand

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau, along with Descartes, Hobbes, and as we will see, many others, are philosophers and intellectuals that each constructed their philosophy and worldview based on their own subjective imaginations, their view of reality, not reality itself. While many of them had great insights, and in some ways bordered on genius, the fact of the matter remains that theirs is a […]