Elliot Milco, my friend and author of The Paraphasic web-log, may have just produced his best (blogging) work to date. “In the Absence of a Shepherd” recounts Milco’s days as a student and, later, teacher at a prestigious Jesuit high school in Chicago. More than an autobiographical reminiscence, the post takes a hard look at the chimera of “Ignatian Catholicism” and the deplorable state of Catholic education before concluding with some pointed remarks aimed at the “chief shepherd” of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Blase Cupich. Having first-hand experience with another form of qualified Catholicism, in this case “Vincentian Catholicism,” I sympathize with Milco’s account and wonder what, if anything, can be done to overcome the worldliness of contemporary Catholic education at every stage along life’s way. Setting up alternative, orthodox, centers of Catholic learning is course necessary, but without sizable private contributions and strong institutional support from the Church, they will never amount to more than marginal enterprises benefiting only a select number of souls.
Sticking with the topic of Catholic education for a brief moment, Rod Dreher has come to the defense of New York Times columnist Russ Douthat, who is currently under attack from liberal elites at Catholic colleges and universities for the crime of “heresy hunting.” As a side note, I was shocked to see that my alma mater, DePaul University, is not represented on the list of witch hunters.
As for witches and other demonic things that go bump in the night, an Eastern Orthodox friend of mine, Geoffrey Thompson, offers a pithy critique of the tendency for some Orthodox (and, undoubtedly, other Christians as well) to overly “spiritualize” physical and psychological ailments. Thompson’s observations may not be for everybody, but anyone who has been around certain Orthodox environs more notable for their superstition than spirituality will quickly understand what he’s talking about.
Finally, over at Ethika Politika, Daniel Schwindt reminds us that “The Popes Want Justice, Not Capitalism.” The piece serves as something of a preview for Schwindt’s forthcoming critique of Michael Novak and Paul Adams’s Social Justice is Not What You Think and warns against the liberal project of “reduc[ing] social justice to an individualized virtue.”