The Primacy of Christ and World Religions: A Lecture at the Newman Institute of the University of Nebraska

As a product of Newman Center ministries where I first discovered my love for the Catholic intellectual tradition, I am pleased to be able to share this lecture that I delivered last week at the Newman Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This topic, which echoes themes I treated in the book Christ’s Church and World Religions by Sophia Institute Press, contains a brief distillation of the Catholic Church’s approach to other traditions and the role of Jesus in it all.  NOTE: To listen to the full podcast, you may need to click in the middle of the image below and go to Spotify’s website.

A New Textbook: Christ’s Church & World Religions

My latest book contribution has recently been released.  This one is a high school textbook for World Religions classes.  Actually, as its title Christ’s Church and World Religions clarifies, it’s not just about these religions but also about understanding and evaluating them in light of Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Catholic Church. Following the teachings of our popes and the Second Vatican Council, it also explores how studying these traditions can enrich the faith of Christians.

I authored the main essays that comprise the body of this volume, which also includes  supplementary materials composed by teachers for use in the high school classroom.  There’s also a separate teacher’s guide authored by experienced high school teachers.  I can’t recommend this text highly enough to those who have high school kids, to homeschooling families, to and really anyone who wants a basic introduction to this subject that follows the bishops’ guidelines for its teaching.

PS: The book’s title speaks of world religions, but it is also a book about ecumenism, as it includes chapters that treat Protestant and Orthodox Christianity.  And, as a bonus, it also treats atheism as a religious phenomenon!

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus & the Substance of Catholic Doctrine: Towards a Realization of Benedict XVI’s “Hermeneutic of Reform”

Over the past fifty years, there have been dissenting Catholics of various stripes who based their rejection of the Magisterium on the seeming contradiction between what Vatican II taught regarding who is able to be saved over and against the ancient doctrine extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the church there is no salvation).  I have just published a paper in the journal Nova et Vetera which takes up the thorny question of whether salvation is possible for those outside of the visible Catholic Church and, further, whether the teaching of Vatican II may be reconciled with the magisterial teaching ecclesiam nulla salus that preceded it. You can read the full article Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus & the Substance of Catholic Doctrine: Towards a Realization of Benedict XVI’s “Hermeneutic of Reform” here.  If you are into theology and want a serious quarterly journal that seeks to wed the new and the old within the Christian tradition, I highly recommend subscribing to Nova et Vetera.

A Reflection on Eastern Catholicism on the Feast of St. Thomas

Fr. Matthew, vicar-general of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, showing us the local St. Thomas cross with lotus flower underneath signifying that the Cross reaches out to the whole worldSyro-Malabar. Syro-Malankara. Syro-what? It would be a safe bet to say that most U.S. Catholics have never heard of these terms, let alone understand what it means to say that they are liturgical rites of the Catholic Church. Yet for the twenty million Catholics living in India, they point to the very heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ in the world today.

Continue reading

India Pictures

Meeting with His Beatitude George Cardinal Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic ChurchSome of us took upwards of 1,000 pictures, and here I’ve posted just “a few” so as to tell our India story in a little more detail. Later I’ll collect some of the best taken from others in our group and get them up as well. UPDATE: For other pictures of the BC 2013 India odyssey, click here and here.  My travelogue can be found here and here.

Continue reading

India Travelogue, Part II

Mother's Teresa's tomb is decorated with a different quote every dayWell, I woke up at 3:30 and never fell back asleep, so it turns out I was able to finish the broad strokes of my India chronicle a couple days earlier than expected. Since I have all kinds of time today and tomorrow, I should get pictures up soon as well!  UPDATE: For pictures of the BC 2013 India odyssey, click here and here and here.  My travelogue can be found here and here.

Continue reading

India Travelogue, Part I

Monkey about to attack RobertThanks be to God, we are back from India and home in the U.S.A. with family, friends, hamburgers, and the rest. As India is a third-world country, I had limited access to a computer over the past few weeks, so what I’m now posting a brief chronicle of our journey in two posts.  I have my camera equipment back in my possession after my bag was returned to from Chicago yesterday. The same bag, incidentally, was lost by the airline  on the way to India and on the way back!

Continue reading