(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…”

After the Election (and the story of a great fire)

The great fire of 1879 is one of my favorite Notre Dame stories. On April 23, a great fire destroyed most of campus. It’s hard to imagine the feelings of students and faculty as the statue of Our Lady “plummeted” through the burning dome in the center of the original Main Building. Continue reading “After the Election (and the story of a great fire)”

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”

The Emotional Affair of John Paul II

A couple of years before he became Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla wrote to a Polish woman: “God gave you to me and made you my vocation.” The letter was one of more than 700 saved letters between he and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a Polish-American philosopher he met in 1973. The year before Wojtyla’s letter, Anna-Teresa had supposedly written that “she desired to be in his arms and remain there in happiness.” He gave her a scapular he had received from his father at his first communion. She sent him pressed flowers and photographs from her home. Their deeply intimate relationship lasted his lifetime, continuing as she read to him on his deathbed. The whole time she was married to Harvard economist Hendrik Houthakker. Continue reading “The Emotional Affair of John Paul II”

So You Want to Write a Column…

I’ve written Observer columns for three years now. Some columns have received a lot of positive feedback, and some have — rightfully — endured considerable criticism. Writing for the Observer, or any paper, can be a great way to engage in the life of your community and to contribute to dialogue on a number of important issues. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have good things to say can be ineffective when it comes to actually communicating their ideas. Here are some things that I’ve learned from writing. Continue reading “So You Want to Write a Column…”

Christian Stories for Atheists

When I first read “Harry Potter,” I secretly waited for a letter from Hogwarts. Part of growing up was realizing the letter would never come. It’s like the young C.S. Lewis said, when confronted with the confrontation between poetic myth and hard rationalism: “Nearly all that I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless.” Continue reading “Christian Stories for Atheists”