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Virgin Birth—Incarnation

Godfrey Diekmann, OSB,  exploded with this statement in the students’ dining hall at St. John’s.
It’s not the Resurrection, dammit! It’s the Incarnation! An editorial in National Catholic Reporter reminded me of this story in The Monk’s Tale, a biography of Diekmann by Kathleen Hughes. When I was at the School of Theology, she came onto the Collegeville campus to gather stories for her book about our colorful and inspirational professor, Godfrey, as he was known by students and fellow professors. The first-name basis at SOT is one of my fond memories of those years, and I’m proud to have my own memories of Godfrey Diekmann, who played an important role in contemporary Church history.

Godfrey passionately preached the implications of the Mystical Body—that we share divinity. This is the Incarnation, and Christmas is the feast of the Incarnation. In the traditional Christian perspective, God’s entry into time and history happened at the birth of the Nazarene, Jesus. But let’s not worship…

Virgin Birth

Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.
Lk 2:19

After the Holy Spirit has brought forth something new in us, we have to take time out to contemplate the wonder. When the Divine has fertilized our wombs—male and female—we need to ponder these things in our hearts. The wondrous new thing always is a surprise thought impossible until now.

Here I make a sharp turn. When I saw the title “Surprised by Faith,” I thought it possible that a little book sent to me would convey a helpful message, but it echoes hundreds of other books/articles/tracts/letters written by a reconverted former skeptic who returns to childhood faith. Like the hundreds—no, I’m sure it must be thousands—of other such writers, he assumes that the only alternative to atheism is Christianity, and a specific, getting-smaller-but-louder group of Christians—evangelicals, the Christians who avert their eyes from the wealth of spiritual riches outside the Christian box.

It reminds me of a comment to my …

Why I stay Catholic

I’m often asked why I stay in the Church, and I give answers in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky, but the subject is never exhausted. An article in NCR Reasons to stay renewed the question in me.

Maine’s effort to legislate marriage equality failed recently after Catholic bishops spent thousands of dollars to defeat a bill granting rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, despite research showing that 58 percent of Catholics favor acceptance of homosexuals.

A greater rift between hierarchy and most American Catholics exists on the issue of contraception, with most people in the Church ignoring the bishops’ prohibition. That “each sexual act must be open to the possibility of children” violates plain sense, as it would ban sex to all people incapable of having children.

The bishops’ understanding of procreation as the primary purpose of marriage is obsolete by more than 1500 years. When Pope Paul VI imposed the ban on contraception with the encyclical Humanae Vitae, he …