Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

The All-New Issue of the Evangelization & Culture Journal!

      Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute, is something truly unique. We wanted to establish a smart, beautiful, and practical journal that was reflective of the Word on Fire ethos. But its overall purpose would not be primarily academic, artistic, or pastoral; instead, the purpose of our journal would be to evangelize the culture—and more to it, to train others to become evangelizers of the culture themselves. If this journal can help with that in a small way, I would be delighted. We are excited to announce the second issue of the Word on Fire Institute Journal is coming out this month! This issue focuses on matters of economics and Catholic Social Teaching. The intent of the journal is to provide Word on Fire Institute members with a tangible source…

To Jesus Through Mary? Why Yes, and T’was Ever Thus!

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Richard Dawkins’ Philosophical Offenses: A Review of “Outgrowing God”

Paleontologist Neil Shuber writes of Richard Dawkins’s recent book Outgrowing God: With wit, logic, and his characteristic flair for expressing complex ideas with uncanny clarity, Richard Dawkins separates myth from reality in Outgrowing God. His book is more than a beginners’ guide to atheism: it is a primer that liberates us to see and explore the beauty of the Universe free of fables and fantasies. It is a shame—as Mark Twain would say—that Dr. Shuber did not take the time to read Dawkins’ book before commenting on it. The right and proper thing to do before affording an endorsement is to experience two or three paragraphs. I see no evidence that Dr. Shuber accomplished this and wonder if his endorsement might have been premature. Outgrowing God offers no new arguments for atheism but presents much of Dawkins’ tired procession of antireligious canards in a simplified format…

Bishop Barron’s USCCB Talk and the “Dark Knight” Trilogy

In light of Bishop Barron’s recent address on the unaffiliated at the USCCB’s Fall General Assembly, I thought it would be helpful to think of creative ways of implementing his five ways in the classroom. Below, I elaborate why showing The Dark Knight trilogy in a Catholic Social Teaching class was such a success with my students.   Instead of explaining who the unaffiliated are and why they leave, Bishop Barron’s address focused on how to get them back. He proposed five ways:  Get young people involved in the works of justice  Use the via pulchritudinis (way of beauty)  Stop dumbing down the faith  Turn every parish into a missionary society  Creatively use the new media  I couldn’t agree more. However, during the Q&A, Bishop Conlon noted a recent CARA…

As I Am, Before God: Mr. Rogers’ Living Philosophy

When we are truly ourselves, we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are. —Thomas Merton Many years ago, I went to Confession and revealed a particular habitual sin I had grown weary of confessing over time. We all have them, and sometimes they can lead us into dark places of despair or apathy. But this time, for reasons I don’t fully understand, I gained a deep insight into a root cause of this well-worn habit. I guess it was an experience of grace and nature in sync. The root I saw was certainly run of the mill, as they go, but the link of the root to the weed of this particular sin was new for me. What I saw was a deep-seated tendency to…

Happy Thanksgiving from Word on Fire!

From the team here at Word on Fire, we would like to wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday! Read today's post for a short reflection on the biblical representation of the "sacred banquet," as well as what thanksgiving really means in the life of the Church.

Prayers and Thoughts

Recently, I’ve heard a number of people—from college friends and acquaintances to television commentators—express condolences to others with the words, “I’ll keep you in my thoughts.” It’s a well-intended sentiment, to be sure, but it also pitifully cries out for more. Since we don’t live in the telekinetic world of Stranger Things, human thoughts by themselves are unable to produce what they conceive: no matter how hard I try, my thinking about winning the lottery cannot by itself cause me to have the ticket that rakes in the Mega Millions. And so, right along with my lotto-winning imaginings, the well-wisher’s assurance to keep another “in his thoughts,” hoping they somehow induce “good vibes” or the forces of karma, falls limp. Prayers, on the other hand, always effect change, and this is because prayers are no mere artifacts of the mind. Yes, they are a type of thought, but even more,…

Scorsese, Marvel, and “Lawrence of Arabia”

Acclaimed American filmmaker Martin Scorsese has some thoughts about the dominance of the Marvel Universe in popular cinema over the past decade. He praises the “talent and artistry” of people who make films like the Avengers series, but he laments the transition away from what he has always believed filmmaking to be about—namely, “revelation—aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation . . . the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.” For Catholics, the Marvel superhero movies are often encouraging on a surface level. For example, Thanos, the villain of Infinity War and Endgame, arguably represents a common, anti-Catholic view that assumes the world is overpopulated and that new life is not always desirable. We cheer the heroes’ victory over him and his ideology in what could be interpreted as…

On Duty

It was a very dark time. In late May of 1940, nearly eighty years ago, the pride of the British and French nations found themselves stranded. The screaming might of Nazi armies blitzkrieging through Belgium and France had crushed the British, French, and Belgian armies (several hundred thousand men) into the Channel port of Dunkirk. Against the deep waters and unforgiving skies of the English Channel, the soldiers awaited their bloody fate. Surely, the German armies would break through the remaining defenses. Undoubtedly, the German Luftwaffe would begin strafing the beaches. The likelihood of rescue was nil. The prospects of a bloodbath were almost certain. It was a moment of great impotence. Because of the wreckage of the harbors and the threat posed by attacks from the sky, the British navy dared not bring ships too close for evacuation. So this is how it would end. Annihilation…

Bishop Barron’s Top 10 Homilies on Christ the King

This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, more popularly known as the Feast of Christ the King. To help you prepare, we’re sharing ten of Bishop Barron’s best homilies on Christ the King. Enjoy! #10: True Kingship At the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. But Christ’s kingship is different from any with which we’re familiar – his kingdom “does not belong to this world.” His kingship doesn’t demand violence, but truth. Following him brings us closer to God’s grace. #9: Language Fit for a King The new translation of the Roman Missal is more fit for the celebration of the liturgy because it helps us address Christ in language befitting a King. #8: There’s a New King in Town Christ’s kingship cannot be properly understood outside Israel’s expectations…