A few years ago, my parents’ parish redesigned their website. I have an interest in these sorts of things, so I complemented my mom one day on its beauty and usability. As it turns out, in a parish full of technologists, they were paying a 3rd party company to build and run their website. My mom expressed dismay that no one had stepped forward to take on that responsibility.Read Article
The modern pro-life movement has focused on the issue of abortion. It would seem that is an appropriate focus given the scope of abortion and the opportunity for change. There have been 59M abortion deaths in the United States since 1973. Even so, to be pro-life requires that we be more than just anti-abortion.Read Article
I seldom take the time to read editorials. While the premise is good, the execution scarcely follows through. They tend to be pejorative, one-sided, and offer little intellectual value to the conversation. Instead, they simply validate those who already agree with a particular viewpoint and shut out the rest. I came across what ended up being a rather amusing editorial
in which the author suggested that Pope Francis should resign. Furthermore, should he decline such an enticing offer, the faithful should force him out of office.Read Article
Over the past several decades, the pressure to divorce one’s faith from one’s work has become increasingly strong. We’ve done it for a very long time in our political life, even as far back as the candidacy of John F. Kennedy who gave a landmark speech in which he aimed to assuage the American voter that as president, he wouldn’t be beholden to the papacy. This pseudo-logic, when taken at face value, presents itself as common sense; if my faith interferes with your life, then as a holder of public office, I shouldn’t use my faith so as to allow you to have absolute freedom. The problem with this line of thinking is that by leaving behind the tenants of one’s faith in the workplace, we all lose out on the very tangible goods that accompany faith.Read Article
“In every interaction you have with people, you can either give them life or take some away.” -Toby Mac
The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia is a great tragedy. Although all things are done in God’s time, I, along with many others, selfishly wish that he could have been permitted to remain with us longer. His death raises many interesting lessons that we can apply to our lives. Truly this was a man who lived the haunting words of Christ, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.”Read Article
I've been struggling lately to defend my beliefs amid our culture shifts. It's not that I think that I'm wrong, but it’s that I'm made to feel like I'm wrong. It's the bitter poison that Modernism tries to feed us. Modernism is a supremacist ideology that seeks to suppress and supplant all other thought systems. When you get down to the meat of Modernism's arguments, it's mostly semantics. New is not always better than old. New is not always destructive. Old is not always wrong. What isn't semantics, however, is logic. The fatal flaw of Modernism is that it cannot withstand even the first buffets of logic.Read Article
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. - Matthew 5:44
Jesus’ words always call us on to greater things, to be better people than we are today. Jesus’ words seem hyperbolic, but they are anything but hyperbolic. He was calling us to live the lives we were made to live, to reach the levels of true freedom that God had always intended for us.Read Article
I'm fairly certain in every generation, as art pushes the boundaries of cultural norms and acceptability, there's always a crowd of people who assert that the new forms of art are unacceptable and in some ways corrupting. In modern society, as the boundaries of music are broken down and it's availability reaches its apex, so too has the sheer amount of music. New forms of music are emerging, as are new subforms. As we all consume more and more music, the importance of the message and impact becomes paramount.Read Article
For perhaps the first time in my life, I'm reading the Acts of the Apostles
. Alison gave me the fantastic Ignatius Catholic Study Bible for Father's Day this year and I've been working my way through the Gospels and other books of the New Testament. I wrote earlier this year about how I've been reading the Bible footnotes
along with the actual text and how much richer of an experience it is.Read Article
I don't bother to read the surveys that pollsters do of Catholics. It turns into an exercise in, "I'm more Catholic than you," and the number of people who self-identify as Catholic is way too high. Honestly, if you consistently miss Mass, it's time to stop self-identifying as Catholic. It’s like being a vegetarian who eats meat four times a week. However, one thing that every survey does show is that the frequency of Mass attendance directly correlates to agreement with the Magisterium
If I were a priest, the standing weekly appointment that I'd most look forward to, and at the same time most dread, is Reconciliation. Confession is a beautiful, necessary, and needed Sacrament. Yet, for the priest, it also means that he must stand in the place of Christ, already a challenging role, and receive the burdens of everyone. I imagine that experiencing the fight for good and evil in such a real way can be an emotional challenge.Read Article
During Pope Francis' recent visit to the United States, I was inundated with news articles, Tweets, and Facebook posts about the Church, often from people who aren't Catholic. Some of the reporting was quite pitiful, and a few of the Tweets and Facebook posts were inane. One of the most shocking Tweets I read was about the Papal Mass at Madison Square Gardens. The twit asked why they made the Mass a ticketed event when it should be open to anyone who wants to go.Read Article
We're getting deep into the 2016 election, even though it's more than a year away. The fields for both political parties are getting plenty of attention for the wild card candidates that have thrown their hats into the ring. There's a level of excitement about the race, but really for all of the wrong reasons.Read Article
We live in a large society, and so the idea that we can have things exactly the way we want them is unrealistic. Even in our own marriages and families, when there are two decision makers, neither spouse can have complete control over how the household is run. We need to become experts in compromise, an all but lost art in a society that loves drama and rewards polarization. We achieve more by working together than by remaining intransigent.Read Article
The reporting and commenting on the Church these days is insufferable. I skip over most articles, including those in the Wall Street Journal because they completely miss the mark. Even worse, although some articles contain bits of good information, reading them as if I wasn't Catholic, I can see how ambiguity of phrasing could give the complete wrong impression of the Church.Read Article
If you have a question about what the Church teaches, just go read the documents. Start with the Catechism
and then go and read supporting documents. There's no need to be confused or lost in ambiguity. There’s no need to hem and haw about what She says or teaches. The Church is an open book for anyone, Catholic or otherwise, to understand why She teaches what She does.
Public opinion polls should not inform morality. Yet, as we enter into another long and grueling national election cycle, we're already starting to experience just that. Politicians are taking stands on issues that aren't aligned with their true beliefs, but rather they’re taking stands that the polls tell them are palatable to the electorate. Perhaps no issue speaks more clearly to this reality than abortion.Read Article
We find ourselves, yet again, as Americans doing some serious soul-searching after last week's incident of gun violence. Two young journalists gunned down on live TV in a chilling video clip that's been seen by millions the world over. The assailant, hours later, taking his own life.Read Article
One of the great tragedies of our modern era is our misunderstanding of the value of children. For a wide range of reasons, people tend to hold a very pessimistic and self-centered view on children. This contraceptive mindset has brought us to a very sad place where people miss out on the absolute joys of raising children.Read Article
Last December, during one of our regular visits to my parent's house, my dad handed me a book of his to read. This happens from time to time; a book that he got a great deal out of will end up in my temporary library to enjoy. Since I've committed to a habit of regular reading this year, my book queue is able to take on these random offerings. The latest book he recommended to me was What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George. Published in 2012, Drs. Anderson, George, and doctoral candidate Girgis lay out a reasoned, logical, and thoughtful argument for what has been termed "traditional marriage," for the sake of this article and blog, we’ll just call it marriage.
Reading this book, I was profoundly struck by many aspects of the work, from the approach to the solid logic. In 97 pages, these authors succinctly laid out a defense of marriage without any dependance on any particular religion, rather, by relying on philosophy, logic, and social science. Unlike most of the "arguments" on marriage today and the op-eds with pseudo-logical arguments that devolve into nothing more than attacks ad hominum, against the man, What is Marriage? refuses to lower itself to this new low of public discourse. Instead, the work argues for marriage against all attempts to revise its definition, not merely against any one person or revisionist viewpoint.
The authors point out one of the reasons why it seems that arguments for marriage are much weaker to the public than those arguing for a revisionist view of marriage. Astoundingly, marriage can be found in every culture in an almost identical framework, regardless of religion or political structure of a society and culture. As such, there hasn't been a need, even until the past three decades of the human experience, to develop a cogent argument for it's benefits since they were completely self-evident. Marriage provided stability for children, growth for society, and pressure for men to help with the raising of children they have begotten. However, as challenges to marriage have recently arisen, the need to articulate the unique properties of marriage has become urgent.
This book isn't about same-sex "marriage.” In fact, it spends almost no time at all discussing the issue. Instead, as the title suggests, it reviews the basic question of "What is Marriage?" It goes over the fundamental aspects of what makes a marriage, including the organic bodily union (sex), its permanence as a stabilizing factor, and a complete rejection of the notion that marriage is based solely on intensity of emotion. It also views the consequences of a legal implementation of a revisionist view of marriage which eerily mirrors the warnings of Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae against contraception, all of which have come to pass.
While this book provides the most cogent and well researched argument for marriage, on either side of the issue, I found that it isn't simply a scholarly work designed to rebuff poor logic. Reading it, I found myself inspired in my vocation and further in awe of the Sacramental marriage that I entered into with Alison. I saw my role as husband and father to be more unique and more sublime. By examining the philosophical underpinnings of marriage, and relating them to the experiences of people in every culture throughout time, I found a deeper sense of satisfaction as being a part of the institution of marriage. I better understood my role in society and the value of the support that I lend to Alison in raising Benedict.
What Is Marriage? is about more than defending an argument, it's about affirming and educating married people. It helps us to more deeply understand what our marriage truly is, why the organic bodily union is so important, and how we're helping to build our society. It will also help you teach your kids why marriage is different and what it takes to have a great marriage.
I highly recommend you pick up a copy of What is Marriage? This book will affirm you, it will inform you, and it will help you grow in your marriage. Sadly, we've stopped putting a premium on logic in debate, but this book will show you how rich and powerful sound logic can truly be.
I've recently started working on a family genealogy project. In the past, I hadn't much cared about my family's history beyond my grandparents, but lately I've become fascinated with our family's story. I'm basing all of my research around Benedict as the starting person and am excited about the journey that this is taking me on. While many of the discoveries have been very exciting, I've noticed something else that's rather tragic. In keeping with what I suspect is par for the course today, in the last 115 years, it's nearly impossible to find any branch of my family within two generations that hasn't been touched by divorce.Read Article
Today we observe President's Day and I think it's an excellent time for us to consider our political role.Read Article
Last week, we celebrated Catholic Schools Week. While this post would've been much more appropriate had I posted it then, the editorial calendar simply wouldn't permit it. I would still like to share some thoughts about Catholic Schools in America and the role that they had in forming me.Read Article
Today marks both a sobering anniversary and a special anniversary. Today is the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that ushered in a new era of misnomers in healthcare and encouraged a culture that viewed children as the ultimate burden, as opposed to the ultimate blessing.Read Article
I have a difficult time imagining a physical persecution of happening in the United States. I have difficulty imagining how far we’d have to fall to get to a point where the citizenry accepted mass executions of people based on their faith alone.Read Article
In the 8th grade, I read the great American Classic, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” One of the scenes in the book that has stuck with me all of these years is Atticus Finch explaining to his daughter Scout that he can’t be one person in public and another person at home. That integrity of character is something we should all be striving for.Read Article
Sharing our faith boldly with those around us can be challenging. You can’t just be chillin by the coffee pot on Monday morning and lead with, “Hey, how was your weekend? I encountered the Risen Christ through the Holy Sacrament of the Altar and now I’m a living tabernacle."Read Article
Some people believe that in Christian Marriage chastity is no longer a struggle. False.Read Article
The average age of newlyweds is climbing in the United States. More and more young couples are delaying marriage for a significant period of time. It’s a troubling trend, but why are young people actively avoiding tying the knot?Read Article
You can often tell how good something is simple by considering whether or not you would buy a cheaper generic version. Grocery stores all across the nation have entire product lines of generic products. You can buy generic Coke (why bother?), generic dish soap, generic trash bags, and yes, even generic Oreos.Read Article
Every day, everywhere that we go, we have the opportunity to show those around us what it means to be married. By our words and our deeds we implicitly share our experience of marriage with the world. What that means is that we have the opportunity to show how wonderful it is, or to witness poorly to it.Read Article
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a cat.Read Article
Catholics tend to each have their own flare for practicing their faith. Thankfully, my wife and I found a parish near our home that fits with ours. We were not so lucky on Ash Wednesday.Read Article