Sheavings

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. has been a champion of human life throughout his priestly career. Since he was appointed President of Gonzaga University in 1998, Spitzer, who is one of the most active, articulate and aggressive proponents of Catholic teaching on the value and sanctity of human life, has continued

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Spiritual Warfare

Yesterday, a group of Americans larger than the number killed on 9/11 died.  The day before that it was the same.  And the day before that.  In fact, every day is 9/11 for America’s unborn children.  Everyday, we cleanly, efficiently, legally and privately dispatch as many children–more in fact–than Osama

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The Stupid Prime Directive

As a long-time fan of Star Trek, I have to say that the Prime Directive is majorly stupid and incoherent. Now, I realize I risk alienating a large number of people simply by speaking seriously about Star Trek. So I will hasten to add that I’m not one of the “Get a

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Some of You May Remember the Reformation

What to my wondering eyes appears on my computer screen today but a big advertisement from something called “Paula White Ministries”. It has that sort of “Oprah” vibe to it that many non-denominational “women’s ministries” do. Unlike the martial vibe one gets from male-run Evangelical outfits that are about “Fighting

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Sons of This World

One of the more baffling of Jesus’ sayings is the parable of the Dishonest Steward: We all remember the parable. It’s the one where the steward is about to get canned from his job, so he goes to various people who owe money to his Master and urges them to

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SOS! I’m Becoming a Lost Junkie!

My son and daughter-in-law have been hooked on Lost for some time now whereas Luddite me and the missus, who have no TV connection to the outside world, have missed it. However, now that the first three seasons are out on DVD, the kids decided that they could not rest until they

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The Ambition of the Sons of Thunder

Leonardo da Vinci did us a disservice when he painted St. John in his Last Supper. In his zeal to show St. John as especially close to the loving heart of Christ, Leonardo winds up portraying the Evangelist like a wan and wilting flower. Yet Jesus nicknamed John and his brother

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I’ve Heard That Song Before

It’s hard for me to keep up with our rapidly changing world.  So, for instance, one can find the reasons that the Catholic Church is evil are constantly changing in a kaleidoscopic whirl.  The Church, I discover is not merely wrong and evil.  It is wrong and evil for so

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The Wisdom and Folly of Solomon

The name of Solomon still conjures images of majesty for us. Jesus speaks of “Solomon in all his splendor.” Modern day dilemmas still require “the wisdom of Solomon”. Gorgeous love poetry is still compared to the “Song of Solomon.” Solomon, 3000 years after his death, is the great icon of

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Snow Day

C.S. Lewis once remarked that the task of a poet is to remind us that water is wet and grass is green. It’s one of the reasons I think God is a poet. Every year or two here in Washington State, he takes a day to remind us that snow

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The Seven Deadly Sins for Parents

As parents, we know that problems which are harder to see, like a young cancer, are easier to cure, while problems plain to the eye, like a five pound tumor, are hard to cure. And we know the same is true spiritually. This is why the Church’s tradition concerning the

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Worshiping and Witnessing Side by Side

Once upon a time there was a man who feared sickness above all things and desired with all his heart to be healthy. “I will do whatever is necessary to find health and keep it!” he declared. “For I have a duty to my children and my wife to remain

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Shibboleths

Harry Potter. Pants on women. The size of your carbon footprint. Trick or Treating. Recycling. Supporting Public radio. The theology of the body. Smoking. Homeschooling. Rock music. What does the Church dogmatically define for us when it comes to these matters? Answer: nothing. It’s up to you. And yet, depending

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The Shadow Tradition

I interact with a wide variety of Catholics in my line of work, and, sad to say, not all of them are cheering representatives of the Faith. Recently, I ran across (not for the first time, sadly) a fellow who was pining for the “good old days” of casual anti-semitism.

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Shoplifting from the Supernaturalism

Christopher Hitchens, in a fairly typical misreading of the Judeo-Christian tradition, is fond of pointing out that “the Jewish people did not get all the way to Mount Sinai under the impression that murder and theft and perjury were okay.” Oblivious to the Church’s entire tradition of the natural law,

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The Semi-Permeable Membranes of the Various Protestantisms

One basic rule of thumb to understand in Catholic/Protestant conversations is that it is not the case that Catholics rely on Sacred Tradition and Protestants don’t. Rather, Catholics (and, by this, I mean “educated Catholics speaking out of the Magisterial teaching of the Church”) rely on Sacred Tradition and know

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The Gigantic Secret

One can easily get the impression from films like Dragonheart and Pocahontas that pre-Christian paganism was an utterly jolly thing. The pre-Christian world of these myths is a world of buffed-out-yet-sensitive men living in a matriarchal, earth-affirming culture of powerful women healers in touch with their sexuality who intuitively grasp the rhythms of nature

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The Anagogical Sense of Scripture

And Jesus said unto the theologians: “Who do you say that I am?” They replied: “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context of our very selfhood revealed.” And Jesus answered them, saying: “Huh?” It’s hard not to empathize with that

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The Moral Sense of Scripture

St. James warns pithily that theological correctness is not a ticket to heaven when he writes: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder.” (James 2:19).  He gets that pithiness from his cousin and Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, who says: Not every one who

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The Allegorical Sense of Scripture

The curious thing about the Bible is the way it reads itself.   Modern and postmodern folk, having talked themselves out of trusting Scripture so that they can more credulously swallow whatever some dimestore novelist tells them, spend most of their energy (should they ever get around to reading the Bible)

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The Literal Sense of Scripture

Scripture has what are known as different senses.  That is, there are layers of meaning found in apparently simple sentences and images.  This should not be strange to us, since we all make statements that can be read in different senses all the time.  Sometimes, the ambiguous sense of a

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Three Guidelines for Reading Scripture

People who are approaching the Bible for the first time may be surprised to discover that the Church offers us only three basic guidelines for reading it.  These are: 1.  Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture”; 2.  Read the Scripture within “the living tradition

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Hearing Scripture on its Own Terms

Linus once remarked to Charlie Brown that he always felt guilty reading the New Testament.  When Charlie Brown asked why, he replied, “Because I always feel as though I’m reading somebody else’s mail.” Linus is a wise kid.  For the truth is, when you read Scripture, the first thing to

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