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Bishop Robert Barron

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Grace Or Karma?

Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Stephen Davis, retired professor of the philosophy of religion at Claremont University. In preparation for the meeting, I read Dr. Davis’s book called Christian Philosophical Theology, which includes a chapter contrasting two basic...

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Ingrid's Virtual Reality

Matt Spicer’s dark comedy Ingrid Goes West is a telling and penetrating critique of the iPhone culture that has swallowed up so many young people today. Now I know: I have an evangelical ministry that uses social media and reaches out through iPhones and other similar devices. Moreover, I have...

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Charlottesville And America's Original Sin

I vividly remember my first visit to Charlottesville, Virginia.  It was about twenty years ago, and I was on vacation with a good friend, who shared with me a passion for American history and for Thomas Jefferson in particular. We had toured a number of Civil War battlefields in Maryland and...

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Looking At Luther With Fresh Eyes

With great profit and pleasure I’m currently reading Alec Ryrie’s new book Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World. Among the many texts appearing in this year of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, Ryrie’s stands out for its verve, clarity, and historical sweep. In some...

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The Mysterious Church On The Edge Of The World

Even though I lived in France for three years while doing my doctoral studies, I never managed a visit to Mont Saint-Michel, the mysterious, mystical, and hauntingly photogenic abbey situated on a promontory just off the Normandy coast between Caen and St. Malo. But last week, in connection with...

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A Bride And Groom; The Bride And Groom

Two weeks ago, I had the great good pleasure of presiding at the wedding of my niece, Bryna. She has been, all her life, a lovely girl, full of joy and good cheer—and eager to give herself in service to others. Her husband, Nelson, is also a fine person, and he took the courageous step of...

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Musing On The Teeth Of St. Ambrose

I write these words from Milan, Italy, where I am with my Word on Fire team filming new episodes for our Pivotal Players series. I’ve seen lots of marvelous things on this trip, including the ruins of the ancient baptistery under the Milan Cathedral where, in the spring of 387, St. Augustine was...

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Why It Matters Who Jesus Is

I have been reading, with both profit and delight, Thomas Joseph White’s latest book, The Incarnate Lord: A Thomistic Study in Christology. Fr. White, one of the brightest of a new generation of Thomas interpreters, explores a range of topics in this text—the relationship between Jesus’ human and...

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Go In Haste! Be Amazed! Treasure!

By now most of you are probably aware of the depressing statistics regarding the "nones," that is to say, those in this country who claim no religious affiliation. The most recent survey showed that now fully one fourth of Americans belong to no religion at all—that's approximately 80,000,000...

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Scorsese's "Silence" And The Seaside Martyrs

I have long been an ardent fan of Martin Scorsese’s films. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, The Last Waltz, Casino, etc. are among the defining movies of the last forty years. And The Departed, Scorsese’s 2007 crime drama, was the subject matter of the first...

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Why We Should Address Jesus As Thou

On the final morning of the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we were treated to a fine sermon by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. The leader of the church in Seattle spent a good deal of time discussing Pier Giorgio Frassati, a saint from the early twentieth...

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Why Christmas Should Bother Everybody

Just a few weeks ago, at a ceremony for the lighting of the national Christmas tree, President Obama remarked on the meaning of the season. Here are some of the things he said: “Over these next few weeks, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, as we retell the story of weary travelers, a...

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"Arrival" And The Unique Manner Of God's Speech

Like E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Starman, Independence Day, and a host of similar films over the past thirty years, Arrival explores the theme of an alien visitation to earth. In this iteration, Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) is a linguistic expert, who is called upon by the...

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“Doctor Strange,” Scientism, And The Gnostic Way Station

Scott Derickson’s new film, Doctor Strange, has received rave reviews for its special-effects, its compelling story-telling, and the quality of its actors, but I would like to focus on the spirituality implicit in it. Doctor Strange is far from a satisfying presentation of the spiritual order,...

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3 Lessons For Young Catholics

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to around nine thousand middle school and high school students from the Catholic schools of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. They were gathered in the cavernous Galen Center at the University of Southern California, and the atmosphere in the room was...