Commentary

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.

The Christ Child of the Year

Every year Time magazine recognizes someone as “Person of the Year.” The recognition isn’t necessarily an honor; it’s given to the person whom Time judges to have been the newsmaker of the year — for good or for bad. This year, instead of choosing an individual to recognize as newsmaker of the year, it recognized instead a category of persons, the Silence Breakers, namely, women who have spoken out about having experienced sexual harassment and sexual violence.

‘Lady Bird’ and the breakthrough of grace

Greta Gerwig’s new film, Lady Bird, has taken the critics by storm. It is the most-reviewed movie in the history of the website Rotten Tomatoes to have sustained a 100 percent positive rating, and it is receiving serious Oscar buzz for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress. Having seen the coming attractions, I knew it would be a quirky, offbeat comedy, but I had no idea that Lady Bird would be of considerable religious interest as well.

The real tragedy of sin

The real tragedy of sin is that often the one who is sinned against eventually becomes a sinner, inflicting on others what was first inflicted upon him or her. There’s something perverse within us whereby when we are sinned against we tend to take in the sin, complete with the sickness from which it emanated, and then struggle not to act out in that same sick way. The ultimate triumph of sin is that first being sinned against, we often become sinners.