My Benedict Option?

I recently had lunch with a friend, and we discussed “The Benedict Option.” He asked me, “Isn’t that basically what your house is doing?”

For those of you who don’t know, my house is named “The Station.” It’s a duplex with an upstairs and a downstairs apartment. For almost ten years, the upstairs apartment has been occupied by various women from the University of St. Thomas Catholic Studies program. The downstairs apartment had had a variety of occupants, until I moved in with four Catholic men.

When I moved in, I was close friends with the entire house. Seven of us had lived together as undergrads in the Catholic Studies Rome program. So when we started “The Station,” we had already had four months’ experience living in community together (when I say “living in community,” I mean living in that community; I’m not sure there’s such a thing as “living in community,” only living in communities). And over the next couple of years, the house solidified into a pretty dynamic place to live as a young Catholic.  Continue reading “My Benedict Option?”

Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us

Casey Chalk’s recent review of La La Land can be summed up in his statement: “Pity that for all of its well-deserved accolades, the movie’s main characters choose wrong.”

As I exited the theater after seeing La La Land for the first time with one of my friends, she said the same thing. She wished the characters had foregone professional pursuits in order to be with each other. I had an entirely different reaction. I thought the ending, in which Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) imagine a life they could have shared while accepting, almost whimsically, a full and vibrant life apart from each other, was an achievement in a culture that undermines marriage through its particular obsession with the institution. Continue reading “Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us”

(audio) Are We Hypocrites? Abortion and Refugees…

I recently gave a talk at the University of St. Thomas School of Law titled, “Are We All Hypocrites? Abortion and Refugees in Popular Discourse.” The talk explores the ways in which we talk about the issues of abortion and immigration, and what ties us all together as Americans across political divides. You can listen to the audio below. Continue reading “(audio) Are We Hypocrites? Abortion and Refugees…”

Welcome Home

“Welcome home.”

After I was pulled off the wait list, the University’s acceptance letter fashioned itself in a way I didn’t. Yet Walker Percy insists that “there is no fashion so absurd, even grotesque, that it cannot be adopted, given two things: the authority of the fashion-setter (Dior, Jackie Onassis) and the vacuity or noughtness of the consumer.” Many students enter a Notre Dame fashioned as their dream school; many later fashion their undergraduate years as the best years of their lives. We are ND. Continue reading “Welcome Home”

Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship

This week I complete my M.A. in Catholic Studies, with my Master’s Thesis titled: “It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone: Love, Marriage, and Friendship in the Catholic Tradition.” The paper is still undergoing major revisions and additions, but I recently gave a brief presentation on my work. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio from my presentation below. Continue reading “Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship”

The End of an Era

With a smile on her face, I recently saw a bright young woman go straight to Professor David Solomon and hug him. I’ve seen this happen with many of Professor Solomon’s former students. They return to campus and light up when they see him, almost as if they are seeing their father after a long absence.

When I entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2009, not much time passed before I sat in his office with a couple of other freshmen and had a conversation about how we wanted to write tracts about what it means to be a Catholic university. I think starry-eyed students like us helped Professor Solomon to be ever-creative in his efforts to promote Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, from founding the Center for Ethics and Culture to beginning the Fund to Protect Human Life. I wonder if students have been doing this since he joined Notre Dame’s philosophy faculty in 1968. Continue reading “The End of an Era”