A Truly Catholic School is Not to be Passed Up Lightly
October 29, 2017
When I talk about my book, How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard, I am often asked why I went to Harvard instead of a Catholic school. For my part, the answer is simple enough: I saw the movie “Legally Blonde” when I was 10, and the protagonist, Elle Woods, went to Harvard. A lot of the jokes were lost on me, but I knew I wanted to be just like Elle — pink wardrobe and tiny dog included. More than that, I saw that Harvard would open doors for me later in life, so my mind was made up. I went to Harvard for the prestige and future opportunities, but I hadn’t realized how much I’d be missing out on culturally and academically. In retrospect, I would have done well to more seriously consider a Catholic education.
How to Keep Your Kids Catholic in College
October 9, 2017
I wrote my book, How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard, for the next generation of Catholic students coming up through the ranks at secular schools. In the past year since it came out, however, I have received some of the most enthusiastic feedback and sincere questions from parents who were worried about their children losing their faith in college. I am not a parent, so I hesitate to give advice to parents in the same way that I offer it to students from my own experience. However, I can identify what my parents did to help me keep my faith at a secular school.
Is God Gaslighting Me?
September 30, 2017
After finishing my master’s degree at Oxford about a year ago, I felt called to look seriously at the possibility of entering religious life. I visited a couple convents, had soul-searching conversations with trusted spiritual guides, and was pretty sure that I had a religious vocation. Family and friends expressed concern that I was throwing away a good education and plenty of worldly opportunities. But I didn’t care. I imagined myself wearing the habit, praying the hours, and getting rid of all of my earthly possessions. God had led me to this precipice, and I was ready to jump.
Abortion Advocates Shut Down Speakers Rather than Debate Rationally
November 7, 2017
If I were to repeat some of the things I was called while sitting on the panel for the Oxford Students for Life (OSFL) a couple years ago, I don’t think the Catholic World Report could publish them. That’s why I was not surprised to hear that OSFL’s latest event was literally shouted down—that is, fifteen students from the Oxford Student Union Women’s Campaign (or “Womcam”) yelled for forty minutes to prevent pro-life speakers from making their presentations.
Hope and realism in the face of assaults on religious freedom
September 27, 2016
Mary Eberstadt’s new book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and its Enemies, addresses one of the most critical issues faced by Christians in the West today: a threat to that most fundamental, First Amendment right to religious freedom. It’s deceptively approachable. Although relatively brief—less than 200 pages in length—and expressed in straightforward language, the book presents a hard-hitting and complex argument. Eberstadt's conclusion is one of surprising and refreshing optimism: she suggests that if Christians come to understand the gravity of the threat and argue for their rights in the public sphere, they will ultimately secure them.
University: a Catholic survival guide
September 22, 2016
The night I graduated from Harvard, my family held a small gathering at our favourite little restaurant in Cambridge. When it came time for the toast, I expected my family and friends to praise my academic achievements. I was profoundly surprised when they each commented on how proud they were that I had kept my faith at university. Since then, and throughout my time as a postgraduate at Oxford, I have often been asked about how I managed to keep my faith as a student.
My Two Years as a Catholic in Oxford
September 15, 2016
From the Oratorians to the Dominicans to the Benedictines and Jesuits, there are some great Catholic people around Oxford. My experience there gave me great hope for the future of the Church. It helped me to better understand that we need to be taking the secularist threat seriously and to participate in the New Evangelization with holy ambition, and to appreciate that great things can happen when the Church witnesses to the Truth and refuses to go from high to broad.
The Loser Letters, Adapted for Stage
September 07, 2016
While Mary Eberstadt has been making headlines with her new and well-received book on religious liberty, It’s Dangerous to Believe, she already has a new project: the stage production of a work of fiction published in 2010 by Ignatius Press. The adaptation of the acclaimed “wickedly witty satire” The Loser Letters will have its world premier at the Catholic University of America’s Hartke Theater in Washington D.C. It is slated for ten performances between September 29th and October 9th. (Visit LoserLettersOnStage.com for more information about the production, dates, tickets, and more.)
How we stopped a Black Mass at Harvard
August 18, 2016
Though Satan moved to attack the Church through a group of misguided students, the result was increased care for the Blessed Sacrament at St Paul’s, renewed friendship between estranged Catholics, and adoration of the Eucharist that made an impact throughout the world. It was the most unambiguous victory I have ever felt, a taste of the ultimate and inevitable triumph of good over evil. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Tips for Being Pro-Life Online
February 4, 2016
Being publicly pro-life can be tough – especially on the Internet. As someone who has posted op-eds I’ve written about pro-life issues, pictures of me and my friends at the March for Life in Washington, DC, and most of the undercover videos published by the Center for Medical Progress last summer, I have taken my share of public abuse on social media for my pro-life views. Though I have by no means mastered the art of being a pro-life social media warrior, I will offer five tips from my experience about how to have more productive conversations about pro-life issues on social media platforms.
A Tale of Two Churches: La Sagrada Familia and the Seville Cathedral
January 14, 2016
If the Los Angeles cathedral feels agnostic, and La Sagrada Familia feels vaguely Christian, the Seville Cathedral alone feels authentically Catholic. From its eccentric iconography to elements of colonialism, the Seville Cathedral contains much that would alienate the modern visitor. But it really isn’t about the visitor’s experience—it’s about giving glory to God in a way that reflects the rich and strange myriad of narratives in the Church. A traditional cathedral is like a symphony: it exhibits pattern and repetition, but it is not predictable, or even symmetrical. Taken as a magnificent whole, it has an irreplaceable richness that reflects the diversity of the human family and the eclectic treasures of the Church he gave us.
“The Best Books I Read in 2015”
December 31, 2015
As a graduate student in scholastic theology, I spend most of my time reading Thomas Aquinas. While reading the Summa Theologica for extended periods of time is an experience I’d recommend to anyone, the privilege has left me little time and mental space to stray far off the beaten path in terms of other reading. Therefore, I hope you will forgive my recommending titles that may already be familiar, but reading these five books enhanced my life over the past year.
Finding God in “Absurd” Places: A Trip to the Holy Land (22 December 2015)
December 22, 2015
Like many of the faithful who live in the Western hemisphere, my imagination has often been drawn far to the east, where our Lord lived, died, and rose again. This is especially true around Christmas, when we celebrate what Kierkegaard called the “absurd” proposition of the Incarnation. In this season, we are called to literally “re-orient” ourselves by turning our attention east to where Jesus began his earthly life in the first century. In the life of Christ, we confront a present reality that affects every aspect of our daily lives, and yet is simultaneously so removed from us in time and space as a historical event that it can seem impossible to connect to it.
The Complementarity of Men and Women, Across the Religious Spectrum
September 11, 2015
Not Just Good, but Beautiful, although occasionally compromising on individual points for the sake of presenting a unified whole, makes a wonderful contribution to the Church in the modern world and sets the stage for more to come. Once again, the Catholic Faith distinguishes itself as a champion in the cause of men, women, and families, in a way that is not just good, but indeed, beautiful.
Hatred at Harvard
May 12, 2014
Ten thousand men and women of Harvard have spoken against the hateful event scheduled to take place tonight at Memorial Hall. Students, alumni, parents, and friends of the Harvard community are outraged, embarrassed, and, more than anything, deeply saddened that Harvard has permitted the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club to host a reenactment of the Satanic “Black Mass” on campus. This ritual is explicitly intended to parody the Catholic Mass in the most offensive way possible. The only response to such overwhelming hate is that of Christ Himself: love.
Subsidiarity: A Principle for the 25 Percent
October 17, 2012
While the issue of abortion has certainly cost the Democratic Party the votes of socially conservative Catholics who consider the issue paramount, it’s not the only point at which the Democratic platform sharply diverges from Catholic social principles. The Catholic Church draws a crucial distinction between its teachings in matters of faith and the principles of prudential judgment required to apply these teachings to political concerns. Two other ways in which the Democratic platform’s ideals conflict with moral principles of the Catholic Church are in subsidiarity and individual charity.
The Philosophical Argument for Life
November 29, 2011
If we can’t prove or disprove the personage of the fetus, the strongest argument of the pro-abortion viewpoint becomes one of the strongest philosophical defenses for the pro-life position. Abortion can only be permissible if the fetus is definitively not a person. Those who are pro-life believe that the fetus is a person, but even those who are skeptical of this point should not be advocates of abortion. And those who think they do know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the fetus is not human should engage in meaningful dialogue instead of throwing tantrums, calling names, and ripping down posters.