Sheavings

The Wisdom of Wisdom 1 and 2

Do not invite death by the error of your life,nor bring on destruction by the works of your hands; because God did not make death,and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist,and the generative forces of the world

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The Wisdom Books: Sound Advice for the Third Millennium

G.K. Chesterton once noted that the English writer Thomas Carlyle thought many people were fools. He added that Christianity, with even greater insight, says we are all fools. Seven biblical books, traditionally known as the Wisdom books, exist to help alleviate this perennial human predicament. They are Ecclesiastes, Job, the

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Why I Love My Country

I just got back from Mass.  Nobody followed me home in a mysterious black car. Yesterday, my wife went swimming with her head uncovered and her legs and arms exposed. Nobody tried to beat her to death as a harlot. Not one of my children are child-soldiers, impressed into some

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Every Christmas and Easter without fail, Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report (not to mention a PBS special and a Mysteries of the Bible episode or two) will go looking for Jesus again. For secularist reporters, he has an amazing way of turning up missing. And, of course, it never occurs to our intrepid

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Sin Weakens Us

C.S. Lewis once remarked that he was a converted pagan living among apostate Puritans.  Our culture is, if anything, even more redolent of curdled apostate Calvinism than it was in Lewis’s day, and that fact can be seen everywhere.  On a whimsical note, it is discovered in an NPR broadcast

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What Catholics Need to Know about Marriage and Sex

There was a time when people on TV did not instantaneously pass from first kiss to a tumble between the sheets, because our civilization recognized that tumbles between the sheets often led to children who needed parents, so it was inadvisable to urge such behavior on people. Nor did TV

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Walk, Don’t Run

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons shows a white-bearded gentleman with a shock of hair cleft neatly down the center. He is standing, looking in a bathroom mirror with a stern expression on his face and his arms thrust stiffly out to each side in a dramatic gesture. The

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Discovering Wales

Chesterton once spoke of a story idea about a man who set out to sail around the world and discover Australia but who, through a minor navigational error, wound up discovering Old South Wales instead of New South Wales.  When Catholics and Evangelicals try to hash out their commonalities and

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The Seven Virtues for Parents

Last month, we talked about the bad news of the Seven Deadly Sins. This month, we will hear the good news: we parents are offered grace and help from God through Jesus Christ to live a truly good and happy life by practicing the Seven Virtues. The Seven Virtues are

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It Didn’t Go Out with Vatican II

My pal Dave is a convert like me. When he first began looking at the Church he often had conversations with confident, relaxed, and well-meaning lay Catholics who would assure him that this and that “went out with Vatican II”. “How about those doily thingamabobs on women’s heads?” he’d ask.

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Priests Are Not Theological Vending Machines

When I was a kid I believed my family knew everything. My brother Mike, after all, could work wonder by turning me invisible with a mere “Abracadabra!” I’d run around the house waving at everybody and making faces and they would all stare right through me saying, “I hear you,

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Vacation!

Every Memorial Day weekend, our family and a bunch of friends from our parish all load up the cars and head for Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound here in our beloved Washington State. I love every part of this annual sojourn.  I love the packing. 

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UNIX for the Kingdom of God

In mid-1993 I tumbled all willy-nilly into the middle of a remarkable phenomenon called the Internet (or Net for short) when I joined a list group called CHRISTIA (Practical Christian Living). A list group is a group of computer users who sign on to a mail-distributing computer called a listserver

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Unity, Liberty, Charity

I well remember Evangelicals of my own background who spent a lot of time worrying about whether so-and-so was a “real Christian”.  By this, they did not mean “Was so-and-so baptized?  Did so-and-so receive the sacraments and try to live uprightly?”  No.  What was meant by this question was, “Did

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Unfolding the Mystery

The Church is both divine and human. Being both human and divine is tough. It means the Church is the custodian of a Mystery none of its members really grasp fully and never will. 2000 years ago, Jesus came to earth and did something that could almost be described as

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Just Exactly Where is the Church?

Unam Sanctam is the sort of document that gives our Protestant brothers and sisters a real jolt, primarily because it looks at first blush as though it teaches that Catholics cannot have Protestant brothers and sisters. Written by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, this papal bull concludes with this shocking dogmatic

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The Shared Wound of Jesus and Mary

When I was a new Catholic, I still retained enough of my Evangelical DNA to fret that Catholics “honor Mary too much” and that titles like “co-Mediatrix” were “unbiblical”. But of course “Bible” doesn’t appear in the Bible either and I didn’t think that unbiblical. But, in fact, the idea

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Truth or Consequences

One of our basic beliefs as Catholics is that Mary is, in a curious way, always referred to Jesus. Her own words at the wedding in Cana (John 2) stand as a sort of emblem of all that she has to say to us: “Do whatever he tells you.” She directs us

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A Catholic Look at The Truman Show

Believers and unbelievers have been both charmed and challenged by Peter Weir’s film The Truman Show. Truman is the ultimate comic paranoid fantasy. The premise of the film is that Truman Burbank (well played by Jim Carrey) has spent his entire life on television and never known it. Adopted by a media corporation

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The Trinity and Real Life

Many people wonder if any Christian teaching seems more disconnected from “real life” than the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet the truth is that the Trinitarian creeds are the best “real life” map of God we have. Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” and Peter got the answer

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The Discovery of the Trinity

Two basic tenets of Catholic teaching are that 1) God revealed himself in a progressive revelation that was completed with the death of the last apostle and 2) since then the Church’s understanding of that complete revelation has deepened and developed. Perhaps the classic model for understanding this process is

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The Rubber Hose Right’s Tortured Conscience

As readers in this space may have noticed, I have had a thing or two (or three) to say about the Bush/Cheney program of torture and the enormous lengths of sophistry that spokesoids for the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism have gone to on its behalf. My concerns have basically come down to this:

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Treebeard in Rome

Back in the 70s, somebody once asked Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution. He replied, “It’s too early to say.” That’s what you call taking the long view of things. And given how the French Revolution helped give rise to the radical nuttery of Communism and various

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The Traditions of Men

A couple of weeks ago, I made the case that the biblical warnings against confusing the traditions of men with the Tradition of God still apply in our day.  A few days later, as if divinely ordained to illustrate my point, an outraged reader of my blog sent along a story that

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