12 Jan 2015

Why the Reformation is About Much More than Religion

History is not an exact science. While people, places, dates, and events are factual, we receive history through first-hand accounts that may be biased, through second-hand accounts of history books that are influenced by years of interpretation, and finally through our own lens, shaded by how we understand the world around us. In church history, there is no better example of this inexactness and misinterpretation of history than the Reformation and what most call the

Laura Norris 0
09 Jan 2015

Dare We Hope for the Salvation of All?

1 Timothy 2:1–4:  “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Peter 3:8–9: “But do not ignore

Benjamin Winter 14
05 Jan 2015

The Problem of Predestination: Reformed and Catholic Theology in Dialogue

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s

George Aldhizer 65
29 Dec 2014

Lectio Divina and Christmas

One of the oldest practices of prayer and meditation in the Christian tradition is lectio divina. Lectio divina, Latin for “divine reading,” is a practice which originated in the monasteries of Saint Benedict in the 6th century. The practice of lectio divina continued throughout the centuries until the present day. It has evolved from a monastic practice to a spiritual practice commended for Christians in all walks of life. Dei Verbum, the Catholic Church’s dogmatic

Laura Norris 4
16 Dec 2014

Round Table: Incarnation

‘Tis the Christmas season. Our music, parties, concerts and plays, nativity scenes, lights, eggnog, and (if you’re lucky enough) snow tell us that Christmas comes swiftly. Gifts are being purchased. Plans to see family are being finalized. The busyness and joys of the Christmas season are pervasive, even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. But why do we celebrate Christmas? The “Christmas Wars” rightfully remind us the real reason for the season: the birth of

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15 Dec 2014

The Immaculate Conception and Martin Luther

Last week, the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. While there is common confusion that the immaculate conception celebrates the conception of Christ without sin, the doctrine actually refers to the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary without original sin. Because Mary was destined to be the Mother of God, God by his grace intervened so that Mary would be free of the stain of original sin. The immaculate conception officially

Laura Norris 13
12 Dec 2014

Grace and Catholicism, Part I: Catechism

In this desire to love, humans work with that grace that is given them—in the vocations within which they are placed and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit they have received (1 Cor 12:4–11). Our humanity does not disappear when we do good works: it becomes more evident. Nourished by the Word, the Sacraments, and the Church, we grow in loving God and our neighbors. This very growth in love, for Catholics, cannot be divorced from our salvation.

Benjamin Winter 9
01 Dec 2014

Why Study Church History?

I recently completed my Master of Arts in Theological Studies at the University of Dayton. My emphasis was not in the traditional systematic theological studies, where I contemplated the Trinity, the Incarnation, and grace; nor did I focus on Biblical Studies, delving into the ancient languages, the context, and the literatures that produced what we understand as the Word of God (although I did dabble in Hebrew for three semester and can discuss the influence

Laura Norris 2
28 Nov 2014

In Principium

“In principio, Primum principium invoco…” (In the beginning, I call upon the First beginning…) These words are taken from the opening statement of St. Bonaventure’s Journey of the Soul Into God.1 The Seraphic Doctor, like all articulate and responsible philosophers and theologians, lays out his first principles before engaging readers in a formative intellectual project. Likewise, my aim in this essay is to elaborate some of the theological assumptions that guide my thoughts, submitting them

Benjamin Winter 4
13 Nov 2014

Round Table: Image of God

Round Tables are where several Conciliar Post writers get together and offer their thoughts on a particular topic or question. These forums are intended to demonstrate the similarities and differences between various Christian viewpoints, to foster civil and meaningful discussion, and to provide a place to wrestle with important issues. At the heart of all discussions are central questions, sometimes explicit, but more often assumed: Is there a God? Where do we come from? Why

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03 Nov 2014

Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer holds a special place in Christian practice and worship. According to Scripture, it is the prayer handed down from Jesus Christ himself. Christians have prayed it since the conception of the Church, and over the centuries theologians have analyzed its spiritual meaning. One of the greatest and most renowned theologians, Saint Thomas Aquinas, emphasized the Lord’s Prayer as the prayer which cultivates right worship of God and brings the believer closer to

Laura Norris 0
Dante
20 Oct 2014

Dante: Poet or Mystic?

In my previous article I discussed medieval mysticism and some of the many factors surrounding its rise, including an increased literacy among lay people and the booming presence of vernacular languages in literature. When considering late medieval literacy and the rise of vernacular literature, the beloved poet Dante Alighieri is one of the most renowned and remarkable examples. His Divina Commedia journeys through hell (Inferno), purgatory (Purgatorio), and heaven (Paradiso). Dante is known now as

Laura Norris 1
01 Oct 2014

Round Table: Communion

Perhaps no facet of Christian theology is more important and more often debated than understandings of Communion. Instituted by the Lord Jesus the night before his death, the practice of communing with fellow Christians using bread and wine (or, in some early Christian communities, cheese and wine) reaches back to the earliest Jesus Movement and continues to form and define Christians today. In order to demonstrate both the unity and diversity of Christian perspectives on

Various 40
22 Sep 2014

Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp, and English Vernacular Mysticism

Most historians of Christianity will note that mysticism peaked in the later centuries of the Middle Ages. Christian mystics experienced direct encounters with God, often through ecstatic visions of heaven and the divine. In relation to the increase in literacy of the laity during these centuries, many mystics wrote in their vernacular languages and gained followings among the laity. Thus mysticism itself bears different traits depending upon the region and language. Furthermore, while there were

Laura Norris 2
08 Sep 2014

Five Ways to Pray in Everyday Life

To be completely honest, it is much easier to cultivate a healthy prayer life during the major liturgical seasons than during the most ordinary days of ordinary time. Aside from morning Scripture readings, blessings before meals, and nighttime Our Fathers, most of us do not pray a lot during the day, especially days outside of Lenten fasting and Advent devotionals. Prayer, however, ought to be central to the everyday life of the Christian, even in

Laura Norris 1
03 Sep 2014

Round Table: Christian Warfare

Every month Conciliar Post offers a Round Table discussion, bringing together various Christian voices to reflect upon an important question or topic. Today’s Round Table considers the following question: Are Christians ever justified in supporting or advocating warfare, either on their own behalf or by the nation of which they are a part? Represented in this Round Table are some fascinating perspectives, including that of a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and that

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13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

Ryan Shinkel 0
11 Aug 2014

The Virgin Mary in “The Lord of the Rings”

Author’s Note: This post falls as part of a series on female saints, but since there is so much that can be said about the greatest of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I chose to focus on her as represented in the literature and movies of the Lord of the Rings, which provides a familiar common ground for many of us. The Lord of the Rings books and movies depict some of the strongest

Laura Norris 5
08 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part I

What the New Evangelization Can Learn from the Aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Mallick “Humility is the luxurious art of reducing ourselves to a point, not to a small thing or a large one, but to a thing with no size at all, so that to it all the cosmic things are what they really are–of immeasurable stature…to the spirit which has stripped off for a moment its own idle temporal standards the grass is

Ryan Shinkel 1
06 Aug 2014

Round Table: Christian Unity

A central task of Conciliar Post involves the gathering together of Christians from various traditions in order to reflect upon important issues. As author Stephen Sutherland reminded us in a post a few weeks ago, however, we must understand the purpose and appropriate use of ecumenism: “If good rules make for good neighbors and housemates, maybe a clearer understanding of what it means to be ecumenical can do the same here.” The topic of this

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