Friendship: The Foundation of Reason

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

“I will always consider the possibility that I might be wrong.” So states the commitment to humility in the Center for Social Concerns’ “Virtues of Discourse” pledge. As one of the seven “virtues” in the pledge, humility means, “When I realize that I have been wrong, I will readily acknowledge it.”

This might bring to mind the humble Socrates, who was confounded when the oracle at Delphi announced that none was wiser than he. Conscious that he was “not at all wise,” Socrates thereafter began a search to find a man of greater wisdom. In his search, he discovered that “those with the best reputations seemed … nearly the most deficient … while others with more paltry reputations seemed to be … more fit in regard to being wise.”  Continue reading “Friendship: The Foundation of Reason”

On Empty Classrooms

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Willis Konick retired in 2007 as one of the University of Washington’s most sought-after professors.

For Willis, as his students called him, the classroom had changed over the years. According to the Seattle Times, ” [Willis] said teaching Dostoyevsky novels in the 1960s was easy because he didn’t need to explain radicalism to students. The students often came to class stoned – but he didn’t find that as annoying as today’s students, who often text-message during class.” Continue reading “On Empty Classrooms”

Idylls and Rambles, by Fr. Schall

Fr. James Schall is a member of the “old school.” He teaches at a very old school, but he is somewhat of an anomaly. He is an incredibly educated man who resists the fads that drive much of the university corporation machine today. He thinks that education has something to do with virtue, that college is about more than a career, and that being interesting is of upmost importance for a professor. He has been hailed by some Catholics as one of the ten greatest American Catholic intellectuals of all time. He has written more than 30 books and 350 essays. I have never read anything by him that I did not immediately recommend to others. Continue reading “Idylls and Rambles, by Fr. Schall”

The Church Annie Selak Wants: Part II

The following is the Part II of my response to Annie Selak’s Washington Post article. Part I can be read by clicking here.

Third, Selak desires “a church that embraces that God is everywhere.” In particular, she relates a “need to affirm and emphasize that God is present in other religions and sincerely work on improving our relationships with them.” She states that “some of Pope Benedict XVI’s biggest missteps related to his interactions with other religions.” She fails to realize, however, that in Pope Benedict she has an ally. Benedict himself informed the Roman curia in 2012 that “in man’s present situation, the dialogue of religions is a necessary condition for peace in the world and it is therefore a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities.” He calls for a dialogue about the relationships between religions, and also about the relationship of religion to culture, reason, and society. Continue reading “The Church Annie Selak Wants: Part II”

“The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications

This is my seventh post in a series on understanding same sex attraction. The other six posts are: –On Terminology
Within Catholicism
Newman and Michelangelo
Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction
Learning from the Pro-Life Movement
Notre Dame’s Plan

As I have been writing for this series, I have received a number of excellent criticisms and comments about my posts. Here, I will address some of them. These are certainly not all of them, and I look forward to more thoughtful critiques in the future. Continue reading ““The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications”