It’s Wednesday (Lilla Will Return)

The desire to write, or more rather blog, has been in short supply as of late, the reasons for which are many. Since announcing that I planned to write on Mark Lilla’s recent work, The Last and Future Liberal, Islamic jihadists continue spreading terror in Europe, a lone nut job massacred over 50 people in Las Vegas, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs began. My personal life, which is undergoing more than a few upheavals, has, by necessity, been the center of my attention more than writing words or, sadly, reading books. My hope to make 2017 a “Year of 100 Books” jumped the rails a couple months back and at this point, I’m going to be happy if I hit 70 (though at this juncture, where I can’t seem to bring myself to finish one every two weeks, it’s going to be a struggle). The will right itself. It always does. Even now as I type I can see flashes of normalcy, even peace, in my life. How long that lasts remains to be seen; I am feeling uncharacteristically optimistic.

Distracted though I have been, it has not been an unproductive state of distraction. One of the glorious side effects of steering clear of blogging and, by extension, most social media (outside of pro-wrestling forums and news streams) is that you can mostly avoid things like the senseless and hyperbolic fallout over the recent “Filial Correction” of Pope Francis or which Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction has broken communion with another. (Truth be told, I don’t know if this has happened recently; I just assume it’s a semi-annual occurrence.) I saw that the irascible David Bentley Hart gave a lecture on “Orthodoxy in America.” My suspicion, without having yet seen it, is that it ticked more than a few people off.

So, without religious news to fill my brain and crush my heart, I took time to read two recent books by that most edifying of American jurists, Richard A. Posner. (I forgot to mention that in my time away, he managed to shock the legal world by retiring as Senior Judge for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.) In the span of a month, Posner released two books on the federal judiciary (one self-published), neither of which is particularly flattering toward the American legal system. And that’s fine. While I found a great deal to disagree with in both books, including Posner’s childish swipes at legal theorist and Catholic convert extraordinaire Adrian Vermeule, it occurred to me that Posner has no heir apparent on the bench or in the academy. Sure, there are more than a few rookie and veteran legal academics who seek to publish at a Posnerian pace, but arguably none are close to achieving Posner’s gadfly status. As for the judiciary, while Posner’s jurisprudence has been maddeningly inconsistent, flippant, and self-absorbed at times (some would argue “most of the time”), his lucid writing style and frank approach to the inadequacies of law to contemplate an increasingly complex world will be missed. His decisionmaking? Eh, not so much.

Posner today, as he was for me over a decade ago, is really just a gateway drug into the larger world of legal scholarship—a world I have largely ignored for the past five years. Having put one foot back into the legal world recently, I have felt strangely compelled to start catching up on all that I’ve missed even if, practically speaking, most legal scholarship is bereft of utility. Lawyers, many of whom haven’t read a law review article since it was assigned to them in school, perhaps need toolkits comprised of basic economic knowledge, empirical research methods, and a bit of theory for flash, often lack the time and/or inclination to read anything they can’t bill a client for. (In fact, as I discovered recently, there are lawyers who, despite graduating law school and passing the bar, can’t be bothered to read court rules closely enough to realize that you must serve a complaint on an opposing party. Perhaps he thought people just regularly pop their heads into the local district court to see if there is a pending suit against them.) For my part, I would be pleased if lawyers just spent a bit of time learning Roman law, if only because it might assist them in putting together a coherent argument. But I digress…

Thank you as always dear reader(s) for reading the byproduct of my mental wanderings. I know that I have pledged to “get back on track” more times than any soul need recall, but maybe, just maybe, this is where I turn the corner. Or maybe life, as it is wont to do, gets in the way of simple pleasures like reflecting on the world around me and offering up a thought or two which, whether you agree or not, at least keeps you coming back for more.

Opus Publicum On The Move (Again)

Several months ago I made the imprudent decision to migrate my web-blogging efforts over to a personal site hosted by Squarespace. I had, at the time, bought into the hype about what Squarespace could deliver without taking account of my own limitations with regard to time and technical proficiency. Moreover, several complaints from longtime readers concerning the Squarespace site coupled with the fact that my pieces weren’t being “noticed” at anywhere near the same volume as the WordPress site convinced me that it was time to throw in the towel and return to my home.

I will, in due course, be migrating much of the content from the previous Squarespace site ( and will try, to the best of my abilities, to “get the word out” that is back in business.

I apologize for my flip-flopping on this and to those web-logs who have graciously updated their links with my various moves, your support has been appreciated.

Update: The posts from the Squarespace site have been migrated. Unfortunately, I am having trouble getting the “Comments” to turn on for all but the most recent posts.

For the time being, new posts will appear under this pinned post.

Opus Publicum on the Move

Crossposted from Opus Publicum’s new home:

After nearly six years and two resets, Opus Publicum is making a move to my personal website. While the second iteration of my web-log and its contents will remain dormant online for the indefinite future, this “version” of Opus Publicum is intended to house longer, more detailed pieces with a greater emphasis on examining law, politics, and religion through an authentically integralist lens. This decision has been made for primarily two reasons.

First, as proud as I am of much of my writing (and the combox discussions it generated) on the old Opus Publicum, the blog came to be cluttered with too many asides, ephemeral remarks, and incomplete observations for my tastes. That’s on me, of course. At this juncture, it seems best to make a semi-clean break with the hopes of attracting a larger audience likely unconcerned with what I have to say on professional wrestling and watching the movie Silence with Protestants.

Second, and more important, I have come to realize that if I have something to say on a given topic, then I should do everything in my power to say it well. Blogging, like other forms of social media, can lend itself to a certain degree of irresponsibility when it comes to truth. Although I have never intentionally misquoted, misreported, or mischaracterized any other writer’s position when responding to them critically, the ease with which a blog post can be penned and published sometimes does not allow certain ideas to percolate. I hope to rectify that matter here.

As you may notice, I have migrated some recent content from the old Opus Publicum over here and may, on occasion, populate this blog with revised archival material as need be. Fresh additions to the website as a whole will be made in due course.

Though I hesitate to seek any favors, if you enjoy reading my material, then I please ask that you do what you can to promote Opus Publicum‘s move online. And for those interested, you can follow me on Twitter @OpusPublicum.

P.S. If you notice anything wonky on the website, feel free to let me know through the Contact form.


Today, Advent begins for the Latin Church; tomorrow it will commence for Eastern Catholics and Orthodox following the Julian Calendar. I know I have reposted this before, but for some reason it remains one of the most popular pieces I’ve ever written. So here it is, one more time.

Links Updated

Dear All,

I have finally gotten around to starting my overdue project of updating the Links sections on Opus Publicum. If you do not see yourself listed and think you should be, please shoot me a line. I am open to suggestions. I am just very bad at keeping track of such things.

For those interested, here are a few new additions I highly recommend you check out.

Urgent Prayer Request for the Charron Family – Updated


Dear readers, the following urgent prayer request from Fr. Jason Charron and his wife Halyna of Carnegie, PA (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) came across my e-mail a little while ago. Father’s daughter Martha is gravely ill and he is asking for prayers to Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky for her recovery. The request they sent out is copied below.

Update 7/8/16: A friend passed on the following update concerning young Martha’s condition:

“Martha had an emergency surgery on Wednesday and was brought out of her coma this afternoon and opened her eyes.”

Please continue to pray for this little girl’s healing and consolations for her family. Ask Metropolitan Andrey for his intercession and offer your petitions to our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary for her full recovery.

Something for the Fourth

Garrison Keillor’s run on Prairie Home Companion (PHC) came to an end this weekend. 14 years ago, when I first became acquainted with the show through my former girlfriend’s parents, I wouldn’t have cared less. Like a noticeable contingent of the NPR-listening population, I found Keillor’s voice grating, his humor uninspiring, and his musical choices bland. I thought nothing much of PHC for nearly a decade until it started to dawn on me why so many in my generation—particular white folk in my generation—professed to despise it. Because instead of offering up skewed depictions of American life and culture populated primarily by atheists, tech entrepreneurs, avant-garde artists, and transsexuals, PHC offered up a glimpse of what life is/was/might be like for a sizable slice of Americana who have been, and shall forever be, underrepresented and unnoticed by the sophisticated elites who run this country’s various media machines. It is little wonder then that PHC’s under-50 defenders are quick to point to Keillor’s “Democratic politics” and wry sense of humor to justify the show while quietly setting to the side the show’s willingness to take the Midwest’s (primarily Protestant and somewhat liberal) Christian temperament seriously while casting its gaze on the folk artistry that orientation has produced for more than a century. Though I often felt rather detached from Keillor’s monologues and the quirky observations he made along the way, I grew to appreciate what he was trying to capture without simplemindedly regarding it as “nostalgic,” “hokey,” or (the worst disparagement available) “too white.” Besides, the only times I can ever recall my children imploring me to “turn it up” is when the banjo plucking began or an old hymn recited on Mr. Keillor’s rather remarkable show.

The annual Fortnight for Freedom (FFF)—sponsored by the American Catholic Church—has come and gone, and just like in previous years, the event has nothing to show for itself. It has been several years since I attended any FFF events, and the ones I did go to were only worth attending because some wise men I know decided to drop the gloves by giving frank explications of the vacuous nature of America’s concept of “religious freedom.” Over the years, U.S. Catholics have been forced to watch in horror as the last vestiges of public morality have succumbed to the zeitgeist and those holding to orthodox Christian beliefs are forced to undergo the process of public ostracism. The few remaining culture warriors who hoped there was still a way to pushback against the country’s moral revolution which sanctions abominations too ghastly to speak about are officially a defeated lot. Whatever comes next, whatever there is to be done, cannot be accomplished on the secularists’ terms. And that is the great, pathetic error of the FFF. After everything we have seen for half-a-century, the “elites” running Catholic America are still desperate to play ball with the powers that be—and for what? In days gone by it used to be for a seat at the discussion table; now they’re just elated if their restroom privileges aren’t revoked. Trust me, if the FFF had any force, influence, or widespread support, “mainstream America” would have taken notice and mocked this sorry spectacle some time ago. May this be the last year we cling so desperately to what matters not. (I am not holding my breath, however.)

This leads me to my next point, which shouldn’t surprise a soul. I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July. To me, this day is my eldest son’s birthday and that is all. So, fellow Catholics (and Orthodox and Protestants), feel free to celebrate that or, better yet, put away the explosives, grab your rosary (or prayer rope), and start making reparations for this nation’s great sins which began 240 years ago today.

Personal Comments on Fr. Hunwicke on “Blogging”

Back in April 2014 Fr. John Hunwicke wrote a customarily pithy piece on blogging. This section struck me in particular when I first read it two years ago.

2. Anonymity/Pseudonymity. I don’t like it. I think people should put their (real) names to what they do. Especially if they wish to express themselves strongly; even more so if they wish to attack vigorously, even for plausible reasons, another named person. I accept that there can be exceptions justifying anonymity; a scholar may wish to float an idea without being held to it in foro academico ... I have been told that some Catholic priests and seminarians are afraid of their bishops or seminary rectors reading their views … I don’t think this says much for the health of the culture concerned, but, well, there you go …Anyway; I have decided that attacks on other living people will not be accepted on this blog, even when thoroughly justified, if the comment is anonymous.


Those who follow me on Facebook are already aware of this, but for those who do not I wanted to announce two things.

First, I have accepted an offer to become assistant editor at Angelus Press, the publishing arm of the Society of St. Pius X. In addition to my day-to-day editorial duties, I will also be concentrating more on contributing original pieces for their various publishing endeavors. (For those interested in my prior contributions to the Society’s English-language magazine, The Angelus, please consult the “Writings” section of this web-log.)

Second, in order to concentrate my energies on my new position, I am putting a moratorium on new writing for Opus Publicum with the caveat that I will begin re-posting pieces from earlier iterations of this blog which readers have been requesting for some time. I will also use the blog to keep people posted on my off-blog writings and other matters which may be of interest.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not the end of Opus Publicum and certainly not the end of my online presence. Your prayers during this time of transition are most appreciated.

Thank You

Thank you to all of you who tossed a couple of nickels into the hat for Opus Publicum. The WordPress costs have been covered with money to spare for my parish. Your generosity is much appreciated.