As a PhD student just starting my dissertation research I happened to meet the department chair of the theology department at a major Catholic university (my interlocutor and his university will remain anonymous). When he asked about my dissertation, I told him that I was researching Henri de Lubac. In a condescending voice he replied, “I didn’t realize anyone was still studying him.” I sheepishly responded, “Well, yes. Yes they are.”Read More
All posts by Guest Post
Happy Independence Day weekend, Americans. What a wonderful holiday – we have the opportunity to celebrate key social values like freedom and justice, values our ancestors rightly regarded as worth fighting and dying for. I am proud to belong to a country that considers these values the pillars of social […]Read More
There is a good case to be made that the American criminal justice system is itself criminal. Up until around 1980, all statistics we have suggest that the incarceration rate varied at around 100 inmates per 100,000 people. After about 1977, and especially after about 1982, the rate began to rise; in 2008 it was over 700 prisoners per 100,000, and while it seems to have begun a modest decline in the past few years, it remains over 700. In this context, “American exceptionalism” is not an overstatement; the United States is effectively the largest incarcerator in the world; the only states near us are Cuba and North Korea.Read More
SCOTUS Decision on Marriage Equality Does Not Address The Underlying Issue of Economic Inequality (Alan Jay Richard)
This past weekend my Facebook and Twitter feeds were awash with rainbow colors and expressions of patriotic love for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
The Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granting “marriage equality” to same sex couples coincided with Pride weekend in many places, including Houston, Texas, where I have lived a good part of my life. My straight friends were particularly effusive in their expressions of joy on my behalf, as if Obergefell v Hodges were the decisive moment when people like myself finally achieved equality.
It was as if this moment were marked somehow out as sacred.Read More
American Evangelicals and their rumblings on marriage equality will stay with us. This resilience is not simply because of the impact of their networks and numbers but because their resistance reflects a general uneasiness with the value of equality, one that is profoundly embedded in American political culture.Read More
The weeks and months leading up to the promulgation of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home were spiked with excitement, speculation, and even a scandalous leak of the encyclical. Non-Catholics, and even non-Christians, waited with bated breath for Pope Francis’s document on the environment. In January, one of my […]Read More
Already there are a multitude of excellent summaries of Pope Francis’s new encyclical Laudato Si, highlighting how he understands our need for a “bold cultural revolution,” explains integral ecology, configures climate as a common good, and many others. Yet in releasing Laudato Si, Pope Francis intends not only to provide […]Read More
If Dostoyevsky foresaw the rise of the 20th century totalitarian states as the father figures who would feed the masses in the first temptation, what did Dostoyevsky foresee here with regards to his feared future Catholic theocracy? What Dostoyevsky saw was how the captivating of the conscience through miraculous ecstasy could manifest itself, in games and permissiveness.Read More
. . . In other words, Chappie can be read as an allegory that calls for us to recognize our ill-treatment of the other, and the film seeks an alternative ethic that does not recourse immediately or uncritically to fear or hostility, leading to violence. We are to be more embracing of the ‘other’ who is, ultimately, more complex than we might first assume, and is never entirely ‘other’.Read More
In May 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the riverside holy city of Varanasi to worship mother goddess Ganges in gratitude for his victory in the national elections. This grand self-promotional gesture by a prominent Hindu nationalist politician illustrates how religion and politics remain enmeshed in India. Even though the democratic constitution of the nation-state has been modeled on western varieties of secularism, everyday politics is infused with religious iconographies.Read More
Is it possible for Catholics to “get beyond” polarization, to leave right-left, red-blue, liberal-conservative, orthodox-progressive divides behind? A week after a conference at Notre Dame called “Beyond Polarization: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal,” I am cautiously optimistic about dialogue. During our two days together, via panels, meals, and prayer, […]Read More
The core of the Christian message, that Jesus liberates us from oppression and demonstrates a means of non-violent resistance to evil through his example, is not often portrayed in Hollywood. More often than not, force is met with force, violence with violence. In blockbuster films, explosions, car-chases, and raw spectacles of destruction predominate, and for good reason—violence sells.Read More