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Now Is No Time for Versus Populum

Now Is No Time for Versus Populum

With dioceses throughout the United States and Europe dispensing with the Sunday obligation in an attempt to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many priests have taken to livestreaming their Sunday Masses over the internet.  In a recent article on Cruxnow.com, Mark Pattison reported that many of these priests say the experience feels odd. That’s understandable.  When, as an educator, I first transitioned to online teaching from the live classroom environment, which I had inhabited

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What should I do for Lent?

What should I do for Lent?

What should I do for Lent?  Let’s start by slamming some really bad advice you’re likely to get: Instead of giving something up for Lent, do something extra! No!  Don’t.  Let me tell you why. To start with, the term “Lent” means exactly the opposite of “do something extra.”  It means, “do less.”  It comes from the Latin word, “lentare,” which means, “to stand-down, to back-off, to slow-down, or to stop.”  Our English word “relent”

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What We Need to Win the Culture War (and why we’re still losing)

What We Need to Win the Culture War (and why we’re still losing)

Guest post by Joe Grossheim I was listening to this lecture by Dr. Daniel De Haan, who is another one of Dr. Benjamin Smith’s former students, and he begins with an excellent observation: There are existential reasons for our commitments to certain philosophical principles and even scientific methods for engaging the world, and that these commitments are often the driving force behind our questions and answers about reality. This fact alone seems to explain exactly why

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They’re not bad people…or are they?

They’re not bad people…or are they?

I often here pro-life people say that those who promote abortion, have abortions, or provide abortions “aren’t bad people.”  “They mean well,” it’s said, “but they don’t understand the error of their ways.” I agree, that may be so in some cases.  We’ve all heard stories of people who genuinely had no idea what abortion actually involves and who stopped supporting it once they found out.  We all know, however, that plenty of people on

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Why Trust is Superior to Doubt: Overcoming Modernity

Why Trust is Superior to Doubt: Overcoming Modernity

WHY TRUST IS SUPERIOR TO DOUBT Anyone who has a passing familiarity with modern philosophy, will recognize the name Rene Descartes. Indeed, it is not too much to say that he is one of the founding fathers of modernity. This is evident from two of his most important ideas: (a) the endorsement of radical doubt and (b) the conception of the “inner self.” These ideas deeply impacted the early modern Enlightenment and continue to shape

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What is Advent All About?

What is Advent All About?

Ask almost any Catholic you meet what the season of Advent is all about and you’re likely to get the response, “preparing for Christmas,” or “preparing for the birth of Christ.”  Advent ends with the Feast of the Nativity or our Lord, after all, which is the first feast of the Christmas season.  But, in fact, the primary purpose of Advent is to prepare for Christ’s “second coming” or Parousia. Does Advent have anything to

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Art, Education, and Perfection

Art, Education, and Perfection

Often those of us who have benefited from a classical education bemoan the decline of the liberal arts in education, but fail to provide a clear rational for its value. Worse still, sometimes we seek to justify the liberal arts in pragmatic, capitalist, or utilitarian terms, which actually fosters an attitude that is inimical to the real value of the liberal arts. To be sure, the liberal arts are useful, but they are not merely

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Real Education is the Cultivation of Human Nature

Real Education is the Cultivation of Human Nature

Education is neither science nor magic. It is not a machine because man, the subject of education, is not a machine; it is not magic because man is not reducible to a material mechanism that may be manipulated by natural or “magical” processes. The essential problem with almost any modern educational program is that it assumes a reductionist model of human nature or denies the existence of human nature altogether. When it really comes down

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What if the Devil Isn’t Real?

What if the Devil Isn’t Real?

Controversy arose recently, when Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, declared that the devil is only a symbol of evil, not an actual personal entity.  This reading of Fr. Sosa’s comments isn’t a matter of interpretation.  He was explicit: “He [that is, the devil,] exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons, because he is not a person; he is a manner of

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Education is Neither Science nor Magic

Education is Neither Science nor Magic

EDUCATION IS NOT A SCIENCE Education is not a science and despite what the education industry promotes there is no magic formula for making everyone brilliant and successful. Taken together these theses constitute a heresy that offends the deepest held beliefs of professional educators. The belief that education is something like an empirical science, along with the Utopian dream that every man is a potential genius; we just need to apply the right educational method.

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