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The Question Behind the Question

On the afternoon of June 14, a rather spirited, fascinating, and unexpected debate broke out on the floor of the USCCB spring meeting about the use of videos rather than texts. I will confess that as this lively discussion unfolded, a smile spread across my face, for I have believed for some time that the issue of how we communicate is perhaps as important as what we communicate—that is, if we are interested in moving the conversation beyond a very narrow circle.

Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: A Reflection on the Irish Referendum

I will confess that as a person of Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I found the events in Ireland last week particularly dispiriting. Not only did the nation vote, by a two-to-one margin, for the legal prerogative to kill their children in the womb, but they also welcomed and celebrated the vote with a frankly sickening note of gleeful triumph. Accompanying the entire process, of course, was the subtext of the Catholic Church’s cultural impotence, even irrelevance, in the wake of the great crimes of the last several decades. Is there a way forward for Ireland?

Michelle Wolf and the Throwaway Culture

At this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the comedian Michelle Wolf joked about "knocking around" unborn children, in order to abort them. Her shameless endorsement of abortion places her in line with Friedrich Nietzsche, who had a special contempt for the Christian values of sympathy and compassion for the vulnerable and believed all morality was relative. But if Wolf and Nietzsche are right—if good and evil are merely relative states of affairs—then there is nothing to hem in and control the tendency of cultural elites to dominate others. When objective moral values evanesce, armies of the expendable emerge.

The Most Unexpectedly Religious Film of the Year

I went to see “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski’s new thriller, with absolutely no anticipation of finding theological or spiritual themes. I just wanted a fun evening at the movies. How wonderful when a film surprises you!

Paul Tillich and “The Shape of Water”

The title of this year’s Best Picture winner, “The Shape of Water,” gives away the game, for the one thing that water does not have is shape. Its very essence is fluidity, formlessness, and freedom from structure. But a film that celebrates this freedom—produced by someone who, by his own admission, hates structure—is sadly emblematic, I fear, of a society that is in danger of losing its ontological balance.

A Case for Priestly Celibacy

Everything in this world—including sex, family, and worldly relationships—is good, but impermanently so. But while the non-ultimacy of worldly realities can and should be proclaimed through words, it will be believed only when people can see it. This is why, the Church is convinced, God chooses certain people to be celibate: in order to witness to a transcendent form of love.

The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

Like many others, I have watched the Jordan Peterson phenomenon unfold with a certain fascination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t spend a lot of time on social media, for Peterson, a mild-mannered psychology professor from the University of Toronto, has emerged as one of the hottest personalities on the internet.

The Death of an Evangelical Titan

Billy Graham, arguably the greatest Christian evangelist of the past hundred years, died this week at ninety-nine, and it’s difficult to overstate his impact and importance.

“America” Magazine’s Survey of Women in the Church

Last week, America magazine published a fascinating survey regarding the attitudes of women in the Church. They were kind enough to publish a few of my reactions to the study, but I would like, in this article, to offer a fuller response to their findings.

An Evening with William Lane Craig

Ten years ago, a seminarian friend told me that Dr. William Lane Craig, an evangelical Protestant, was by far the most effective spokesman for the Christian point of view and that he had taken on the atheists with great intelligence, wit, and panache. That night, I looked up Dr. Craig on YouTube and watched, with fascination, his debates with the superstars of the atheist movement. From that evening on I was a fan. This is why, when I was invited by the good people at the Claremont Center for Reason, Religion, and Public Affairs to participate in an all-day dialogue with William Lane Craig, I jumped at the opportunity.