Recent Blog Posts


Newman at First Things'

Posted on February 21, 2011

My co-author Fr. Juan Velez is talking up Blessed John Henry Newman at First Things’ blog! (Our book is TAKE FIVE WITH JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.)

John Henry Newman, Oxford scholar and famous English convert to Catholicism (1801–1890), whose birthday we celebrate today, is acknowledged by most for his English prose, his lofty ideas on university education and his writings on development of Christian doctrine. We often put Newman forward as an example for the Catholic intellectual...


Reasons to Rock

Posted on February 04, 2011

It’s twenty-five years since I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church. In some ways it seems like an aeon ago. In other ways it seems like yesterday.

It’s a quarter-century now, but I still experience, every February, a certain sense of homecoming. On February 22, the Church celebrates the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle. It’s an ancient feast, originally marking the first time the Prince of...


New USCCB Document Highlights Biblical Quotations in the Mass

Posted on February 02, 2011

The Catholic Mass draws heavily from Scripture—in every prayer you hear quotations and allusions to biblical texts. In fact, last year I did a series of presentations now available through Saint Joseph Communications here (shameless plug!) exploring the biblical backdrop for the prayers of the Mass. 

Now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has put out a footnoted version of the prayers of the new translation of the liturgy, alerting you to the...


Kingdom of the Poor

Posted on January 31, 2011

In the readings for last week’s Sunday Mass, we saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 9) that a divine king, a Son of David, would appear in the north of Israel and give light to the people there.

In the readings for todays’ Mass (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time), we see Jesus explaining what kind of kingdom he rules: a kingdom of the “poor in Spirit”:


Aquinas: The Biblical Approach of the Model Catholic Theologian

Posted on January 28, 2011

Today is the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas! In honor of that, I thought I’d cover some ground I’ve been over before, namely, Thomas’ role as a model of Catholic theology and his primary focus on Scripture. Perhaps most striking—at least to some—is Thomas’ insistence on the priority of the literal-historical sense of Scripture.

In short, for Thomas Theology is a Scriptural enterprise. Since he&rsquo...


Agnes Day

Posted on January 21, 2011

Today’s saint, Agnes of Rome, is long overdue for a revival. Why? She was probably the most revered female martyr of the early Church — outstanding in a field that included Blandina and Perpetua, among others. St. Jerome was not a man easily impressed, but of today’s saint, his near-contemporary, he wrote: “Every people, whatever their tongue, praise the name of Saint Agnes.” Prudentius wrote a long poem and a hymn...


Fantastic New Commentary on Matthew's Gospel!

Posted on January 20, 2011

With the coming the New Year, a number of blogs gave recommended readings for the upcoming year. I’d like to do the same, and recommend two books to read carefully over the course of the coming year.

1. First, since for those of us following the Catholic lectionary, it is Year A, it’s a great opportunity to reread closely and carefully the Gospel of Matthew. Over a hundred years ago, the French author and...


Word Association

Posted on January 05, 2011

Christmas came early for me in 2010. My biggest present arrived, date-stamped from the Vatican, in my email in mid-November. It was Pope Benedict’s new missive, the apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”) — the most important magisterial document on Sacred Scripture in nearly half a century.

(Click Here for a pdf version of Verbum Domini)

The Word of God is Pope Benedict’s highest priority, as he...


Catholic Saint on the Importance of Scripture

Posted on December 20, 2010

The Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, (through which I am reading, albeit slowly), reminds me of how frequently the popes, the fathers, the doctors, and the saints have urged us Catholics to read and reflect on Scripture—and how sluggish our response has been!

I know the stereotype is that Catholics aren’t interested in Scripture. In many places and at many times the stereotype holds true. I would add that many...


Ruth and Advent

Posted on December 17, 2010

The Book of Ruth is rarely mentioned during Advent, but it makes for good Advent meditation.

There are obvious connections between Ruth and the Christmas story. Both Bo’az and Ruth are mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1. Outside of Matthew and Luke, only in Ruth do we have a story about a pious young Jewish couple having their firstborn son in Bethlehem.

When we read Ruth in light of all the Scriptures,...