Measuring History

But the lesson for us moderns is, I hope, clear: phrases plucked from ancient documents, phrases such as “second marriage”, do not necessarily carry the same connotations today that they enjoyed in times past. Caution in reading them, and in reaching conclusions of law based on them, is therefore strongly advised.

Apart from the topic of this article there is a greater lesson here. Before we commit to a controversial position we should follow the old advice of carpenters everywhere, viz., measure twice, cut once.

I'll try to remember this lesson myself.

The Charge of Clericalism

There is a smear campaign currently underway against many young priests in the Catholic Church. However, this attack is not coming from the secular media or from dissenting advocacy groups. Instead, it is an attack from within the Church itself, even from fellow priests. What is the false charge being leveled against many of our younger priests? Clericalism.

Indeed. Often the pejorative use of Pharisaical serves the same purpose.

More Javascript Magic

Again, I must say that people are amazing! Thanks to Jesse Atkinson I have been able to introduce a new site feature. We now have Arrow Key Navigation![1] The introduction of this feature is part of my ongoing project to make everyone’s reading experience of this site even more pleasent.

This idea came to me the other day when I was at a meet-up with Merlin Mann.[2] He was extolling (as he does) the awesomeness of keyboard navigation in gmail. I thought that this would be a great feature to incorporate here at The Eighth Way.

This is what Keyboard Navigation does:

  1. Arrow Up/Down: Using these keys on any page on my site it will auto-scroll from one article to another.[3]
  2. Arrow Right/Left: Using these keys you will be able to navigate forward and back through pages of older to newer posts.[4]

Because this makes navigation a lot easier I will be increasing the number of posts that are visible on each page.

Try it out. It’s like magic!

  1. Javascript really is the duct tape of the Interwebs.  ↩

  2. Merlin is a font of super great ideas. He has keen instincts for what is helpful and what is extraneous.  ↩

  3. What’s cool is that the script recognizes where you are on the page so it’s smart enough to scroll up or down from your current position on the page.  ↩

  4. In other words, you don’t need to click the Older or Newer link at the bottom of the page. You can just use the right/left arrow keys.  ↩

No Need To Be A Poser

You would think that the one community I’d be okay with joining would be a community of outsiders like me: weird first because we’re Christian, weirder because we’re gay, and weirdest of all, maybe, because we’re those things and also celibate.

But as usual I’m hesitant and scared. As usual, there are some pretty good reasons; and as usual, those reasons aren’t a good excuse for standing on the outside.

I think we all feel this way at times regardless of our particular struggles.


I really like the idea of an app being comfortable. Comfortable means always knowing where you are. It means not worrying about making a mistake. It means information has an obvious visual hierarchy: bold titles, tidy paragraphs, and spacious margins. Comfortable means there’s not visual clutter to distract you, except for those items that are supposed to stand out, like buttons or the damn status bar.

Jared Sinclair has created a masterpiece with his new app Unread. It is one of a handful of apps that have capitalized on the design possibilities that have opened up with iOS 7. It's precisely what an RSS reader ought to be.

New Habit for Posting

I've been working on a new workflow to help facilitate a more frequent posting schedule. Now that I have a good way to format linkposts you will be seeing at least one per day. I also plan on posting at least one long form post per week. I'll be happy to share this new workflow with you in a future post. All I can say is that it's so much more efficient and significantly diminishes my anxiety to make the most of this this blog. I want to thank everyone for their patience and support.

The Gift of Monasticism

Today the need is as great as ever for religious orders and their houses of study to stand as both a refuge of spiritual purity and of intellectual insight as to how best to support the truth of the Catholic faith in an era of secular positivism. There is a great need to return to the foundational understanding of philosophy in particular and classical learning in general in support of theology and the dogmatic truths of the faith while addressing the issues of a technologically advanced age. As in the past, monasteries offer great hope in providing havens of spiritual and scholarly retreat where the Catholic Renaissance of tomorrow could be launched to address the need for advancing orthodox theological explanation and guidance at a time of what fairly may be termed considerable moral and intellectual confusion.

This article reminds me that John Senior is correct. The restoration of Christian Culture will only happen through the restoration of monastic life.

A Strong Critique

Balthasar then continues his assault upon the ancient Church, and its irrelevance for us today. Next he tries a clever maneuver to disarm anyone who would possibly be attached to these “useless” traditions.. He does so by making a reasonable claim, “...every formula that is discovered must be transparent to the event both of then and of today; it is to be made use of to the extend that it permits what was then to become reality today, and left unused to the extent that it impedes this. In the many complicated systems of thought, perhaps only one thing remains vital today: namely, that in them we can discover what other ages knew about encountering the mystery of God. Where this can no longer be discerned, the systems quite deserve to be utterly forgotten.” What systems he is referring to here is never really identified. This sets up a clever rule however to discard whatever the author sees fit to dispose of, under a noble banner indeed.

I mostly agree with this critique of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He states the case a little too strongly at some points. However, I fear that the theology of von Balthasar is very problematic. It's unfortunate because there are a lot of things to like about some of the things he has to say. However, like many theologians from the last century their error starts with their understanding of nature. This misunderstanding harms the rest of their work. The critique of von Balthasar and others like him by strong Thomists rings more and more true each passing day.