The National Catholic Review

The Good Word

  • About one third of the world’s population is Christian. Each year, more than 25 million people are baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And each year, about 100,000 Christians are martyred, coming to share fully in the death of Christ.

  • There was an article in Salon.com on September 1, 2014 titled 5 Reasons to Suspect that Jesus never Existed. This is problematic, if true, for scholars of the historical Jesus, but more problematic for the millions upon millions of people who believe in Jesus not just as a human being but also as a divine being.

  • In the first entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on Galatians, I discussed introductory matters concerning the founding of the churches to the Galatians, the situation when Paul wrote to them, when the letter might have been written and the type of letters which Paul wrote, based on the common Greco-Roman letters of his day.

  • Most famous people have a least one or two lines they should hope that history forgets. For the evangelist Frank Buchman, one of those has to be, “I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler.” It’s not that the evangelist, who had done such effective work with the YMCA, thought that Hitler was a good man. He didn’t, but Buchman did admire the Fascist style of leadership. He thought that, if only Hitler would embrace Jesus Christ as his personal savior, all might be well.

  • Goethe’s last words were “Mehr Licht” (more light). Mortally wounded, John Wilkes Booth muttered, “Useless. Useless.” John Belushi begged, “Just don’t leave me alone.”

  • In the first entry in the Bible Junkies Online Commentary on Galatians, I discussed introductory matters concerning the founding of the churches to the Galatians, the situation when Paul wrote to them, when the letter might have been written and the type of letters which Paul wrote, based on the common Greco-Roman letters of his day.

  • Our identities are forged in life yet never by ourselves alone.  Whoever you might wish to be, who you actually are in the world is clearly a combination of your own efforts and their acceptance by others.  Indeed, to close off one’s identity from others, to resist their contribution in its formation, would be to make one’s self more an actor than a human being, something of an illusion, trying to pass off a self that is no more than a chimera. 

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, the twentieth century’s great philosopher of language, famously wrote, “If a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand him.”  That’s how he debunked the very possibility of science fiction’s “universal translator,” the instrument we would presumably, someday, use to converse with aliens.  Anything can be translated, more or less, from one language into another.  Wittgenstein said that this was possible because all human languages are based upon our common...

  • When Michelangelo’s Pieta was first unveiled, wags found two errors.  The Virgin, holding her dead son, is larger than he is.  By three feet, if they both stood up.  The artist answered that this distortion was done in the service of beauty.  The body of a fully grown man would look ungainly in Mary’s lap.  The second criticism was the Madonna’s face.  It’s that of an adolescent, perhaps the Virgin who conceived but certainly not the Mother who received her dead son’s body.  Responding to...

  • Summers in Kansas, somewhere in the large state, storms come every night.  There are always watches and warnings of tornadoes.  Watches we ignore.  They only mean that conditions are right for a twister.  Warnings we hear.  One has been sighted.  Forewarned, we know we can ride out the weather, unless, that is, the tornado wants it otherwise.  Then there’s no appeal.  The tempest will have its say.  There are storms no soul can survive.