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Avoiding the Success Trap

Avoiding the Success Trap

Avoiding the Success Trap: The Radical Alternative of Value-Centered Living Whether we like it or not we receive an endless stream of unsolicited advice or images related to success. Success sells: it has the appearance of competence, mastery, cleverness, and daring. Successful people are “doers,” who are oft described as “killing it.” (One wonders what or who is being killed). Rarely is this sort of success defined, and when it is, one usually hears something vague

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The Solemnity of All Saints: Venerating All of the Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints: Venerating All of the Saints

Why does the Church celebrate a special feast day for All Saints?  The veneration of saints had once been mostly a local phenomenon, so the Solemnity of All Saints has a great catholicizing effect.  If you really want to be Catholic, you have to venerate all the saints, not just the one’s you grew up thinking about.   Why does the Church celebrate a special feast day for All Saints?  After all, doesn’t every saint

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Real Freedom

Real Freedom

Often freedom is extolled and insisted upon, but rarely is it defined. But just what is freedom and why is it so important? What is freedom? We are right to value freedom highly, but should we esteem every exercise of freedom? Does freedom just mean the ability to do whatever we want? If you freely choose to lie, cheat on your spouse, or dishonor your country should you be praised? Should we be free to

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Let’s Not Forget What Grace Can Do

Let’s Not Forget What Grace Can Do

In a previous post, I argued that the Donatists weren’t wrong in their view that, as a matter of discipline, it was imprudent to ordain those who’d previously abandoned the Faith or to allow those who’d done so after having been ordained to exercise their orders upon their return to it.  I noted, of course, that the Church pronounced against some of the Donatists’ views on related matters, but that their main concern—that the faithful

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Five Rules for Overcoming Confusion

Five Rules for Overcoming Confusion

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do? Where it seems that you’re lost and the way forward is hidden. Sometimes the goals and values that have guided us in the past cease to inspire and illumine or perhaps we have passed through a life-altering calamity. Often our confusion is compounded by violent emotions. In such times, it is tempting to become cynical and frustrated. Overcoming Confusion

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Philosophy is Essential to Catholic Higher Education

Philosophy is Essential to Catholic Higher Education

Thinking philosophically always has its enemies, but there should be no enmity place between Catholic faith, Catholic education, and abstract thought. To think philosophically simply means to think deeply, to think about the universal and the permanent; it is to seek for clarity. There is nothing “cold” or unchristian about it. Christians serve a God of light, truth, and order; not an obscure god of sentiment and expediency. This is spelled out most clearly in

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Thinking Ethically

Thinking Ethically

Among the various benefits of studying philosophy, one is given the opportunity to learn some of the foundational ideas and theories that help us to make sense of ethical thinking. First, just what is ethical thinking? There are a variety of ways to approach this question, none of which is free of controversy. However, it is possible to offer a generic description. Ethics is an evaluative and normative discipline and process of thought. It is

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Rehabilitating Donatism?

Rehabilitating Donatism?

Amid of the current scandal of a systemic conspiracy of moral turpitude throughout the hierarchy and reaching to its highest offices, an old and tangentially related controversy never fully resolved in the life of the Catholic Church is reemerging.  Today we’re hearing calls from among the faithful of all states of life—laity, religious, and clerics of every rank—for mass resignations of clerics, including bishops and even of the pope, on the premise that association with

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Ideas Matter

Ideas Matter

According to Aristotle all human beings by nature desire to know or understand. Given the ignorance and vacuity of the many, it would be understandable to accuse Aristotle of naiveté. But those who have read Aristotle know that he was well aware of the failings and limitation of human being. The key phrase in Aristotle’s thesis are the words “by nature.” Human being, by its very inner constitution and essence is intellectual being, that is,

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Are People Basically Good or Basically Evil?

Are People Basically Good or Basically Evil?

When asked what differentiates a Catholic perspective from a Protestant perspective on the world, many people today are inclined to say that it lies in the way we see human beings. Protestants, they’ll generalize, see human beings as basically evil, while Catholics see human beings as generally good. But this characterization, wide-spread as it is, especially among Catholics today, is a gross distortion. It’s also an ancient heresy called Pelagianism, after an Irish monk who

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