The McCarrick Report and the De Facto Atheism of the Church — Gaudium et Spes 22

In the wake of the McCarrick report released by the Vatican this week, Dr. Chapp offers one of the most insightful and sobering analyses I’ve yet seen, pointing to a systemic issue in the Church that is too little written of:

Raping children is a sin. Enabling and covering up for people who rape children is also a sin.  And they are sins of such magnitude that one is safe in assuming that no one who possesses a genuine faith would commit them. These are the actions, the sins, of faithless men.  So the deeper, unaddressed question is: how did the Church come to be dominated by such men? And until that is answered no amount of policy changes will suffice.

Dr. Larry Chapp

Well worth the read. Link below.

Several people have asked me to comment on the recently released McCarrick report and so I thought I would offer the following brief comments.  I will return to my series on Vatican II and will have a new blog post on the Conciliar document Dignitatis Humanae by the end of the week.  So stay tuned…. As I have mentioned […]

The McCarrick Report and the De Facto Atheism of the Church — Gaudium et Spes 22

Thoughts on Returning

It’s been some time since I’ve taken up the proverbial pen for the purpose of public discourse, at least on this site. Neither commencement nor the changing of seasons nor even a global pandemic prompted a return on my part to the storied halls of the blogosphere. Rough sojourns had I in some various Facebook groups, many of them jaded and scornful. I took shelter in the peaceful ruins which populate the content reels on Pinterest, imagining myself in some way their tenant. I’ve even amassed a respectable Twitter following in recent months, though I find I miss much of what is posted there. (In the Twittersphere, if you see and respond to something 8 hours after it is posted, you have often already missed the discussion.)

I suppose that while I have had many fruitful discussions along the way, in few places besides the land of the blogs—be they personal or professional—does there seem to be due space for a thought to breathe. Such thoughts can, it is true, be fully articulated in Twitter threads and Facebook posts, and many good ones are. And yet, it feels at times to be a crude shelter for our intellectual produce. Sometimes it simply takes the generous white space of the good ol’ fashioned WordPress editor to get the creative juices flowing. Coming back to a blog after so long feels like stepping through the doorway of one’s childhood home and being hit with its aroma, a scent you could never really place when you lived it day to day but which when placed out of context is both shocking and familiar.

This isn’t the first time I’ve contemplated rebooting my blogging adventures. Heck, this isn’t even the first time I’ve done it. It took more than a couple false starts to convince myself I’m serious about it this time. (Funnily enough, I think it was the growing feeling of exhaustion from having such a grand old time over on Twitter that prompted me to really ponder it again in recent weeks.) But I’d like to think I can still crank out a good post now and again. And I’d like to have the practice of trying. Heaven knows there are enough crazy things going on in the world to write about.

So to whoever’s still around from the good old days (of like… 2015) I really look forward to chatting again. And to whoever might be new, or come across this at some later date, welcome. And here’s to that grand, bittersweet, and fantastical adventure that is life. God bless.

– Luke

Hallowed Be

Reserve not for me this chalice
For my horizon runneth over
Between the redrawn corners
And the penciled sketch marks
Between the tangled questions
And the patterned notebook
A seashell imprint
Pressed upon the patchwork stars
Not one a resting place
Nor one a constellation
A myriad of catch breaths
At each occurrence of the tune
In, 1-2, out, 1-2, in time,
In time, all manner of things shall be
If it only be your will, let the sky fall
Gently, and in time

(16 October 2017)


Along the route home from my university sometime last year, the first glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Gotta love them hills.

Come Holy Spirit

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts 2:1-4

This past semester, I took a course in Catechetics which required me to read and summarize the entirety of the Catechism’s teaching on Christian prayer.  I won’t tell you how long I procrastinated on the assignment, but I will tell you that, though strenuous, there is a great richness of knowledge to be obtained by this manner of study.  One of the most spiritually beneficial things I gained from it, however, was being reminded of just how integral and foundational the working of the Holy Spirit is in our life of personal prayer, and indeed our life as Christians on the whole.

The Holy Spirit has always been, to me, the most beguiling figure of the Holy Trinity.  Often we hear or read the Father’s words to us in Scripture, and the innate human tendency is to imagine a face to go with this voice, even if it’s nothing more than the stereotypical majestic and humongous old guy in a cloud.  Christ Himself took on human form when He descended from heaven to proclaim the Kingdom to us.  But the Holy Spirit?  I rarely imagine Him as human.  The imagery the Church has inherited falls more along the lines of a dove, the wind, tongues of fire, an invisible, silent, but no less powerful or divine Spirit on whose behalf the Father speaks (Matthew 3:16-17).  Not the kind of being we easily imagine ourselves having a relationship with.

But the Holy Spirit is, nonetheless, clearly important to our life of prayer, as St. Paul reminds us, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).  And, as we hear in the readings for this Sunday, “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” Paul asks us (1 Corinthians 6:19).  This Holy Spirit is not some cosmic force we have to go wrangle or summon by some elaborate means every time we want to pray.  The Spirit quite literally dwells within us, every moment of every day.  This means, for one, that we ought to act like temples of the Holy Spirit.  But it also means that we need never fear that God doesn’t hear our prayers.  If He is within us, His ear is inclined much closer to our supplications than the Tempter might want us to believe.

If ever we need a reminder of just how powerful the Holy Spirit is in the life of the Church, we need only look back to the day on which it first received this Spirit and came into existence.  This Spirit which dwells within us is the same Spirit which caused the believers in Jerusalem to speak in tongues.  And not just in a couple different languages, but a pretty substantial bunch.  This is the same Spirit that Christ promised would guide the Church “into all truth” (John 16:13).  And it is the same Spirit we receive in Baptism, the Spirit who brings each new believer into life in Christ.  It’s a lot to wrap one’s head around, but God does tend to be supremely generous in His goodness, so far beyond our wildest dreams, so far beyond our understanding, but still absolutely true.

Take a moment to thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit which guides you in prayer this day.

Lectionary readings for Pentecost Sunday:
Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor. 3b-7, 12-13 | Jn. 20:19-33
You can find these all in one place here.  Pax vobiscum.  🙂

Twilight / Dawn

Thus turns the world to sleep
Like the thoughts, revolving
Behind my eyelids
                  I see you, there
And I shut them so much the tighter
For I hear a thousand voices
Intone so bright a chord
I know I could never quite dance
Suitably, to such a song.
Thus I clench my fists around
Every word
           and they fall,
Broken, to circumstance
And to some future skyline,
Forgotten like a picture book.
How could I ever dream of days
Filled with anything but despair
And false wells to drown in
Except...  You.
                 except for You.
You are
        a singularity,
                      a ray: simplicity
Ebullient and towering and glorious
And altogether baffling
For countless are the days
I've spent, floundering in puddles
Of my own design, silencing
The whispered corners of my mind.
       even now
You do not forsake me
And still,
           the words I claim are rubble
They all will fade to retrospect
As dust, beside You.
                     Heard softly,
Your words are all that I shall ever need.

Not the prettiest type in the world, but until I find a better way to preserve the structure, it’ll suffice.  🙂

Ooh, I need a song to leave y’all with, don’t I…  So here’s a song about the Transfiguration.  Because, why not have a song about the Transfiguration?  So there you go.  And it’s pretty.

Good old Sufjan never lets us down…

I hope that wherever you may be this evening, dear reader, that you are feeling the peace and joy of Christ that thaws every winter into spring.  (Maybe it won’t for a little longer if you’re up north.  But He will.  Just you wait.  😉

Peace to you, now and always.  Stay classy.