Commentary

Germain Grisez’s influence on Catholic moral thinking

“We are all students of Grisez now.” The man who said that several years ago was a Catholic theologian not generally seen as being a disciple of Germain Grisez. He was simply acknowledging the influence Grisez had already had on serious students of moral thought — an influence that, one might add following Grisez’s death, seems likely to continue growing for a long time to come.

How does God act in our world?

There’s an oddity in the Gospels that begs for an explanation: Jesus, it seems, doesn’t want people to know his true identity as the Christ, the Messiah. He keeps warning people not to reveal that he is the Messiah. Why?

How can it all have a happy ending?

There’s a line in the writings of Julian of Norwich, the famous 14th-century mystic and perhaps the first theologian to write in English, which is endlessly quoted by preachers, poets, and writers: “But all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It’s her signature teaching.

The complex spiritual journey of Robert Hugh Benson

It’s said that Robert Hugh Benson’s conversion to Roman Catholicism was an act of rebellion against his father, Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death in 1896. Whether it was or wasn’t, the younger Benson’s spiritual autobiography at least offers grounds for seeing his conversion in that light.

An evening with William Lane Craig

Ten years ago, when I was a visiting scholar at the North American College in Rome, I fell into a spirited conversation with one of the seminarians about the state of evangelization in America. We both were bemoaning the fact that the “new” atheists — Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others — were regularly attacking religion, and I commented that no Christian spokesman had managed to engage the enemies of the faith well on the public scene.

Is nuclear deterrence morally acceptable?

“We are at the limit of what is licit.” In early December, Pope Francis offered that assessment of nuclear deterrence during a question-and-answer session with reporters on the plane back to Rome from Bangladesh.

‘Thank you for your service’

Together with another Little Sister I was invited to represent our congregation at a somewhat exclusive reception during the Christmas season. We were happy to bring two of our residents along with us. One of them, a 97-year-old veteran of World War II, proudly wore his best tweed sport coat and his VFW Garrison cap decorated with a host of ribbons. The other, an immigrant and artist, is the widow of a U.S. Navy veteran.