Women and the Diaconate?

Women and the Diaconate?

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about women in the diaconate.  This is a difficult issue that extends well beyond the question of Church discipline and “small-t tradition.”  It touches on dogma, and if we get it wrong, we’ll have a theological disaster to clean up. What would that disaster involve? The diaconate is seen in Church teaching as a major order.  Ancient tradition associates it with the Levitical priesthood, now recognized as an anticipation

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The Keys to Effective Writing: Purpose and Concision

The Keys to Effective Writing: Purpose and Concision

You do not need to struggle with writing. In fact, effective writing should be as natural as talking. Unless you are writing for artistic or rhetorical purposes, the best way to improve your writing is to use the method of “effective writing.” This approach has one simple rule: say what you have to say as efficiently as possible. To this end, effective writing is purpose-driven and above all concise. Keeping this in mind makes writing

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The Holy Spirit: Giver of Life and the Paraclete

The Holy Spirit: Giver of Life and the Paraclete

At Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room, fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This great feast marks the end of the Church’s most joyful and longest season: Easter. Whatever else we may say about this great mystery, one thing is certain: The Church, constituted by Christ, is enlivened by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Holy

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Five More Maxims Against Modern Madness

Five More Maxims Against Modern Madness

In a previous post, I explained how Christians — and everyone of good will — can defend authentic truth from the “dictatorship of relativism.” This is an essential task for today’s Christians. It is just as important — and perhaps even more controversial — to hold fast to authentic goodness in the face of today’s relativistic challenges. It is common in the modern world to think that value is subjective and that goodness is relative

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Don’t Be Ashamed of the Gospel…or the Eucharist

Don’t Be Ashamed of the Gospel…or the Eucharist

In the contemporary West, we’ve become used to a rather perverse and un-Scriptural idea: that real virtue depends on seeing ourselves democratically. People of good-will, it’s thought, eschew the idea of privilege or advantage and something inherently unfair—an injustice to be rectified.  When we adopt this perspective, however, we end in denying that our un-earned, undeserved Covenant with God really gives us anything unique.  It’s offensive to modern sensibilities to think that Christians have been

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Five Maxims Against Modern Madness

Five Maxims Against Modern Madness

As far back as the nineteenth-century, W. B. Yeats observed, “the center does not hold.” The forces of secularism and industrial capitalism combined with the backlash of Marxism — economic and cultural — have destroyed the unity and cohesion of modern culture. Modern man is cut off from reality by false and confusing ideas, and oppressed by organized opposition to right reason and revealed truth. Against this madness, the healthy mind needs to be armed

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Is Christianity Unscientific?

Is Christianity Unscientific?

Is Christian faith unscientific? Well, it’s complicated. In a previous post, I discussed the way in which skeptics will sometimes employ “science” to discredit the resurrection of Jesus, and I explained that what was really at stake is not so much science, but unspoken philosophical assumptions. And in the philosophical arena, Christians have nothing to fear. In a certain sense, of course Christianity is “unscientific.” Historical Christians have believed that the one God, who exists

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Reason and the Resurrection?

Reason and the Resurrection?

Only the “unsophisticates” and “children” believe in the resurrection of Jesus — at least that is the view of Richard Dawkins, the world’s best known proponent of atheism. (See below) And Dawkins is hardly alone. Many have come to see the resurrection of Jesus as obviously unscientific — an article of superstition and embarrassment. Some Christians in order to avoid the shame of feeling intellectually inferior will hide behind the claim that the resurrection was

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He is Risen! And It’s Not a Metaphor

He is Risen! And It’s Not a Metaphor

“He is risen!”  This Easter proclamation encapsulates the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s a sine qua non of the Christian faith.  Without the resurrection of Christ, there’s no Christianity. St. Paul puts it like this: “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).  The word we translate here as “vain” is κενόν (kenon), which means something like “empty,” “devoid of content” or

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Judas, Peter, and Me

Judas, Peter, and Me

In the Gospels, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, is depicted as a man generally disposed to underhanded activity.  Though he was entrusted with the treasury by which Christ’s earthly mission had been funded, it’s said that he stole from it for his own purposes (John 12:6). It was Judas, as well, who disparaged the thought of emptying an expensive bottle of perfumed oil over Jesus’ feet.  The bottle could have been sold and the money

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