Showing posts from September, 2012

Jesus wasn't quite a regular guy...

So much of my day, when I'm not in class, is spent reading. With five courses plus a tutorial, I'm reading quite a lot: Rahner to Ratzinger, Canon Law to the Book of Job, Pliny to the Gospel of Matthew. Long hours of reading often leave my mind numbed.

Note that I said often.

While reading yesterday, I learned that in the estimation of one early Church author, there is one thing that Jesus never ever had need of: Metamucil. Valentinus, preserved in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis, writes:
Having endured everything he was continent; thus Jesus exercised his divinity. He ate and drank in a peculiar manner, not evacuating his food. So much power of continence was in him that in him food was not corrupted, since he himself had no corruptibility.  If this is correct, the next time someone exclaims "I don't give a crap" (or some more offensive variant) I guess you could a bit cheeky, asking if he or she can really presume to be so much like Jesus!

Of course, I …

This is Asinine

As many are away, on September 6th Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was convicted of a misdemeanor for failing to report one of his priests for suspected child abuse. This conviction sets a precedent, it seems, for Bishop Finn is the first bishop criminally charged in connection with the clergy sex abuse scandal that has, for better or worse, largely defined the Catholic Church this last decade.

I find it wholly mind-numbing that Bishop Finn has not resigned his position. If you read the Dallas Charter, Article 4:

Dioceses/eparchies are to report an allegation of sexual abuse of a person who is a
minor to the public authorities
. Dioceses/eparchies are to comply with all applicable civil laws with respect to the reporting of allegations of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities and cooperate in their investigation in accord with the law of the jurisdiction in question.
Dioceses/eparchies are to cooperate with public authorities about reporting cases even

An Academic Week

Last Monday, while peeling potatoes, I slashed open my left pinky finger. It wasn't a grievous wound but it has made it difficult to type. So the two or three times I wanted to post something, I ceased early on in the process, one time because I noticed that I was bleeding through the bandage and onto the keyboard!

As many of my readers know, I love the study of theology. This semester, in embarking upon the MDiv at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, I'm taking five courses:

Survey of Canon LawFundamental TheologyHistory of Christianity IIntroduction to the New TestamentWisdom Literature Starting on September 24th, I'll also be doing a directed study in Ecclesiastical Latin. Per my schedule, I have at least one class each day with my earliest days beginning at 8:30 (MW), 9:00 (F), and 10:00 (TR). I'm very fortunate that I have some fantastic instructors for my courses and I've been excited by our readings.
One of the great blessings of this semeste…

Blessed Are the Hungry

Although pictures from recent years may make it hard to believe, I used to be a fat kid. Sixteen years ago, I enrolled in Weight-Watchers and lost about sixty pounds (and I grew three inches) so that I went from being 5'6" 215 pounds to 5'9" and 155 pounds. I mention this because of all of the lines in Scripture, one from today's Gospel brings back the worst memories: Blessed are you who are now hungry. 

To this day, I hate the feeling of being hungry. When I was trying to lose weight, it took a lot of training to keep my mind from wandering to the next meal, to the next snack. What it took me a long time to learn that dieting wasn't about limiting food intake. Instead, it was about re-learning how to think about food. Food, for me, had become sort of the structure of my day...and, apparently, I very much enjoyed that structure! What dieting gave me was an opportunity to break out of that structure and to move from "living to eat" to "eating w…

Second-Step Theology

Last weekend, I came upon a great quote about the nature of theology from Father Gustavo Gutierrez:
Theology is reflection, a critical attitude. Theology follows: it is the second step. What Hegel used to say about philosophy can likewise be applied to theology: it rises only at sundown...Theology must be able to find in pastoral activity the presence of the Spirit inspiring the action of the Christian community.  Academic theology often gets a bad rap because people regard it as useless speculation. To my mind, most of it is indeed useless speculation. Yet it does not have to be so.

I, too, once believed that theology could serve as an agenda-setting exercise. I have come to realize, however, how wrongheaded this was. Theology only ever functions after the fact, in the waning hours of the day, and it responds to what it observes. Like an owl it takes flight and scans the ground beneath it, observing, discerning movement. Rather than setting forth an agenda of how the Holy Spirit is …

Final Day of Orientation

After almost two weeks, orientation to life at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry concludes. It was sort of nice to get up at what I regard as a normal hour: 5:30 am. The past two weeks, I've been getting up at 8:00 or 9:00 am which means I stay up a lot later than I'm accustomed. While this is not entirely a bad thing, I find I'm much more productive if I get up early in the morning.

In case your interested, my latest piece has appeared over at the Jesuit Post. It's nothing new to regular readers of the blog, as it originated here several weeks ago when I wrote my former students with 'advice' for college.

The Jesuit Guide to Starting College