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…”


Infantile Questioning and the Contemporary Theologian 

I recently attended a conference on women in the church. During one panel, two young Catholic women sought to present the Church’s teachings on women and gender through an orthodox perspective, offering advice and ideas on the roles of women in the Church. One woman stated that she would not be discussing the issue of women’s ordination, as it was not germane to her paper. Her co-panelist did the same, quoting Pope Francis’s statement that the door to women’s ordination “is closed”.  Continue reading “Infantile Questioning and the Contemporary Theologian “

On the “Being a Woman” Argument in Abortion Debates

A male friend of mine recently had an argument with a woman about legal abortion. He opposed, and she favored. As often happens in such disputes, she told him, more or less, “You aren’t a woman, so you don’t have a right to argue about this. Just won’t understand, and you can’t understand what this is like for a woman.” Continue reading “On the “Being a Woman” Argument in Abortion Debates”

Winning the Culture Wars

There are two ways you can end a war: you can either destroy the enemy, or you can convert the enemy. In almost every way, the former will be easier, faster, and more obvious. The latter is rarely chosen by culture warriors for one reason: within the context of cultures wars, it is nearly impossible.  Continue reading “Winning the Culture Wars”

Know Thine Enemy

The following column was published in The Observer on Tuesday, April 29, 2013.

I came to Notre Dame three months after President Obama’s commencement address. Amidst controversy and condemnation by more than 80 bishops, Notre Dame sought to forge a path of dialogue and discourse, ignoring episcopal warnings and insisting President Obama would be a listening companion and ally to the Church. In his speech, he said, “Let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintendedpregnancies.” We applauded. “Let’s make adoption more available.” We applauded. “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion and draft a sensible-conscience clause.” We applauded. Continue reading “Know Thine Enemy”

The Church Annie Selak Wants: Part I

The following is part I of my response to Annie Selak’s recent piece in the Washington Post:

2011-12-24T232416Z_01_MXR24_RTRIDSP_3_POPEOn Valentine’s Day, Annie Selak, “a lay minister in the Roman Catholic Church” revealed to the world what kind of church young Catholics want. She titled her Washington Post piece, “The church young Catholics want,” and in it she summarized some of the many noble desires of young Catholics for the future of their Church. She sees young Catholics wanting “a church that takes our experience seriously,” “that emphasizes the inclusive ministry of Jesus,” “that embraces that God is everywhere,” and “that engages struggles and is open to dialogue.” Her words merit discussion, both as the Church seeks to navigate its relationship to the modern world and as young Catholics seek to navigate their relationships to Catholicism. Continue reading “The Church Annie Selak Wants: Part I”