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Everyday Grace

Last Sunday, as I stood in line to receive communion, I noticed an elderly couple across from me. Both were stooped and feeble, she more so. She also appeared to be suffering from some form of dementia. Her husband gently guided her to communion and then back to their pew.

I immediately recalled a similar couple that lived near me in the late 1990s. The wife had Alzheimer’s and her husband cared for her for many months before she went to a nursing home, where he visited her every day until she died.… Read More

 

The Gospel and Politics

The people in the Bible group were discussing the Gospel messages of love: in particular, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27); “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28); “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matt 7:12).

The focus of the conversation was on how these messages apply to everyday life.… Read More

 

America’s Troubled Culture

American culture is infected with Relativism, the belief that everyone creates his or her own truth. In other words, that people don’t only have a right to their opinion—their opinions are necessarily right! At first thought, this notion seems eminently democratic and fair. It makes each individual the arbiter of fact and fiction, truth and error, wisdom and nonsense.

However, as Mortimer Adler noted*, this idea is as false today as it was when it was first proposed in Ancient Greece.… Read More

 

The Catholic Hierarchy Disappoint Again

The Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. have disappointed Catholics in the past, and they are doing so again, this time on the matter of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. I recently examined six widely reported hierarchical statements and found only two that met or surpassed minimal standards of reasoned discourse—separating fact from fiction, acknowledging complexity, making careful distinctions, demonstrating fairness, and avoiding rash and fallacious judgment.Read More

 

A Catholic Bishop and Some Syrian Immigrants

Village Maalula on the rock in Syria

Bishop Gregory Parkes’ column was titled “Compassion for immigrants, refugees will keep America Great.” I wondered: Is this title a rejoinder to Trump? A way of saying, perhaps, America’s already great, thank you?

The column’s first paragraph answered my questions in the affirmative. The Bishop claimed the President’s recent executive orders “stand in stark contrast to the foundations upon which our nation was built.” In other words, the Bishop thinks the executive orders are un-American.… Read More

 

Missing the Point Has Gone Epidemic

G. K. Chesterton once remarked that many commentators in his day suffered from “the art of missing the point.” That affliction not only survives today—it is epidemic among social and political commentators. And it is often accompanied by bigotry, which Chesterton defined as “incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.”

A perfect example of both maladies is an exchange between an MSNBC interviewer and Asra Nomani, a political liberal and a Muslim.… Read More

 

Understanding President Trump

Some of the people who opposed President Trump may never give him a chance. But I believe many others are prevented from doing so only because they misunderstand his intellectual style. This is ironic because that style draws upon two things prominent in our western cultural tradition—hyperbole and a common sense approach to everyday challenges.

Hyperbole is exaggeration used to capture an audience’s attention and emphasize an idea.… Read More

 

The Liberals’ Struggle with Logic

Almost three months after the 2016 election, many liberals still cannot acknowledge Donald Trump’s victory. The most recent example of this incapacity is the growing list of members of Congress—68 at this point—who have refused to attend his inauguration.

One of the first refusers was John Lewis, who explained that he doesn’t “see this president-elect as a legitimate president.” When asked why, he said, “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.… Read More

 

How America Views Achievement

Over the last century an old idea has gained new currency in American culture—the idea that equality of achievement is the right order of things, ordained by God. This idea has led to a variety of mistaken lines of thought, notably these:

Mistaken thought 1: Since equality of achievement is ordained by God, “all men are created equal” must mean that people should be equal at all times and in all ways—in childhood and adulthood; in intellectual and physical performance; in financial condition and personal accomplishments.… Read More

 

Our Relationship with Time

Does time really move faster when we are late for an appointment and trapped in a traffic jam but slower when we are sitting in a dentist’s chair having a tooth drilled? Does it start out slow in childhood, pick up speed in adulthood, and race by when we grow old? Or does it only seem to behave that way?

How strange that something so important as time is often misunderstood or taken for granted.… Read More