Thinking about Amoris Laetitia: Should sacramental discipline change?

As promised in my last post, I would like to make a simple contribution to the conversation about communion for the divorced and remarried.  The questions competent people raise about moral philosophy are important, but I plan to take time over the Christmas break to think them through more carefully.

In any case, I think the moral philosophy questions are something of a red herring.  First Cardinal Casper and then Pope Francis mustered ethical arguments to show that the divorced and remarried may not be culpable for their ongoing situation, but it appears to me that their arguments are off-topic.  The arguments the Church has heretofore given for the exclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics from communion have not been rooted in moral philosophy but in sacramental theology.  Here’s a sampling: Continue reading “Thinking about Amoris Laetitia: Should sacramental discipline change?”

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What should the layman do about Amoris Laetitia?

To this point I have stayed out of the conversation about Amoris Laetitia.  But within the past few weeks, multiple people have approached me, as a guy who teaches theology, with questions about the uproar.  Voices not only of confusion but of alarm and even panic fill the Internet.  Should we be running around and shouting?  Or should we duck under the Catechism and wait for the storm to pass?  What should lay Catholics do?  That to me is the most pressing question:  Not what the Pope should do, not what the Cardinals should do, but what I, as a lay Catholic, should do. Continue reading “What should the layman do about Amoris Laetitia?”

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My book as of now

I had dreamed that today, as I turn 40 years old, I would ship out my finished book to a publisher.  But God had other plans.  As I round the pole and head on back toward the finish line of life, I have:

  • a beautiful, snugly baby boy
  • two (close to three!) teenagers who enjoy me and like to talk with me
  • a whole pack of middle kids who want to sing songs and hear stories
  • fifty or so fun and thoughtful students who are committed to learning (except for the day before Thanksgiving Break)
  • a new lead on solving these health issues
  • a wife who is still sane despite everything I just listed.

Oh, and I have a draft of the book.  It’s a theology of Scripture inspired by St. Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine.  Footnotes need work (bother footnotes), and the last chapter is just a ta-a-ad incomplete, but it’s a book.

What’s in it?  Glad you asked: Continue reading “My book as of now”

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St. Martin’s Lent begins

Today’s feast, St. Martin of Tours, has gradually become a big deal for me.  Devotion to St. Martin was huge in the Middle Ages, with some 3,660 churches dedicated to him in France alone.  St. Martin’s Day or Martinmass was a feast day marking the beginning of winter, a time to drink, celebrate, and lay in the winter’s provisions. Continue reading “St. Martin’s Lent begins”

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A Marian Movement out of Lander, Wyoming

Two Wyoming Catholic College students recently decided to pursue or renew “total consecration to Jesus through Mary” according to the method of St. Louis Marie de Montfort.  They mentioned their plan to some friends, and within a few days the group was 40 students.  A day or so later, it was 70 students.  Faculty members came on board.  The president of the College expressed interest.  Before long, families even outside of Wyoming Catholic College were joining the movement.

This morning a group of twenty or so gathered at the local public library for a kick-off event, and I was asked to give a talk introducing Marian devotion and the “total consecration” in particular:

The goal is to complete preparation for the consecration to Jesus through Mary by December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  It’s not too late to join!  No need to be in Lander, Wyoming.  Just follow this link.

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A sensational account of heaven

In politics and other news, the world seems beleaguered and bleary.  It’s a great time to talk about heaven!

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The truth about elephants

We’ve all heard the story about the blind men who investigate an elephant.  But the story doesn’t mean what people think it does….

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The color of reading

Emotion colors perception wonderfully.  The same aspen tree, with the same white bark and the same golden leaves fluttering in the same wind, is one tree to the moonstruck lover, another tree to the poet in search of joy, and still a third to the dismal soul doubting whether life has meaning.  The same sensory input offers either a happy companion, or a wistful finger pointing to another realm, or a bleached-out bit of wood. Continue reading “The color of reading”

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How the Mass is a Sacrifice

This semester, students at WCC set their theology teachers a theme:  the liturgy.  Teachers chose topics within the theme, and students arranged the topics into a semester-long series.  Just like that, the students gained for themselves a full “practicum” on the liturgy, while each teacher has only to give two or three talks.  It’s a great arrangement!

Recently, I was tapped for a talk on “the theology of the Mass” or “how the Mass is a sacrifice.”  You can download it here, or listen online:

Students loved the talk, but they seemed especially excited about the explanation of transubstantiation in the Q&A.

By the way, I’m wondering whether I should post more of these recordings or even start a podcast.  Your feedback would be helpful.

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Sacred Heart Enthronement Hymn

When I first met the woman who would become my wife, her family had been saying a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus every night for as long as she could remember.  It was a variant on the Renewal of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.  Now Jacinta and I have said that same prayer every night with our kids for years and years.

A few weeks ago, we began Project Bard:  we determined to build a treasury of songs by singing more or less every night–rounds, hymns, camp-fire songs, whatever.  To approach the ocean by little streams, we began with some of the goofier selections from Cedarmont Kids’ 100 Singalong Songs for Kids.

We always end our singing session with night prayers, so one day it hit me:  why not sing night prayers?  It wasn’t hard to adapt our Sacred Heart prayer to a traditional hymn tune from the Roman Breviary, drawing on Fr. Samuel Weber’s Hymnal for the Hours.  The result was just a little thing for my family, not really memorable poetry, but given Austin Kleon’s principle about sharing your work, and given that today is the memorial of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, I think I’ll toss it up here: Continue reading “Sacred Heart Enthronement Hymn”

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