Thursday, July 2, 2015

The best article I've read on Obergefell v. Hodges

I've skimmed dozens of articles both before and after the Supreme Court's decision on Obergefell v. Hodges was handed down last week.  Most of them I'd begin to read, then grow bored and end up scanning paragraphs to see if there was anything truly new or intriguing or interesting.  For the most part, the articles I read seemed to miss the fundamental issues in the case, those lying more deeply than the demise of democracy in America.

But fortunately, I clicked on a new article this morning -- "Creation and the future of marriage" by Los Angeles' Archbishop Jose Gomez.  It is very much worth reading and sharing.

If I could, I would paste the entire column here, but instead I will share a piece or two, and send you on your way to Angelus: The Tidings Online to read it in full.  Bookmark it.  Share it.  Reread it.  Archbishop Gomez has really found the pulse of the problem, digging far deeper to find a remedy than most everyone else.

But the opinion of the five justices in the Court’s majority reflects the passions and priorities of many who lead and shape our society in the areas of law, government, education, science, industry and the media.

In fact, Obergefell expresses the same “anthropocentric” and “technocratic” mentality that Pope Francis warns about in his new encyclical, Laudato Si’ (“Praised Be”).

At the heart of this mentality is a rejection of the idea of creation and human nature. Everything — the natural world, our social institutions, our physical bodies, even our very “selves” — everything becomes a kind of “raw material” that we can engineer according to our will, using technology, psychology and even law and social policy. 

This “technocratic” mindset explains the audacious tone of the Obergefell ruling. The Court expresses noble thoughts about the “transcendent” purposes of marriage and its importance as a “keystone” of our social order. It acknowledges that marriage has existed “for millennia and across civilizations.”

But the five justices in the Court’s majority do not accept that human sexuality and marriage are part of the order of creation. For them, these are just “constructs” that we are free to “re-construct” according to our preferences.
That is why these justices can assume they have the wisdom to “recreate” this institution that has been the foundation of human civilization. That is why they can presume the power to discard the definition of marriage that has existed since the beginning of history — as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

Be sure to read the entire piece here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A decade ago ...

A decade ago, I remember exactly where I was.  My household at Franciscan University had been planning our once-a-semester retreat for weeks on the weekend of April 1-3.  On Saturday afternoon we were sitting on couches reflecting on something or distractedly attempting to listen to a talk when one girl received a phone call we had all been dreading.  

"He's gone," she barely whispered.

The crying commenced.  The praying continued.  And the sudden feeling of being orphaned, bewildered and lost began.

At 3:37 pm in Ohio (9:37 pm at the Vatican), the only Pope we had known in our lifetime died.  Ten years later, we have officially recognized John Paul II as a saint, as the cries of Santo Subito at his death and funeral predicted.  

We knew it was going to happen.  In fact, the day before, the most horrifying way to hear the news came on Fox News when a producer of some sort screamed that the Pope had died when her microphone was inadvertently audible on air.  It was a mistake.  He was not dead, but for several minutes dozens of students huddled around the small television screen mourning his life prematurely.  When we learned that it was all a mistake, that he was still living, we stood on the boundary of waiting to mourn again and hoping that somehow a miracle would occur.

But the next afternoon, hearing, "He's gone," jolted us to the reality that John Paul's race really was over.  He was no longer our Pope.  Now he was our intercessor.

It seems impossible that it has really been ten years since St. John Paul II went "to the house of the Father."  Yet here we are reflecting on the passage of time and the ever-strong intercession and inspiration of our Polish pontiff.  

As I've mentioned before, my blog writing is on hiatus as I devote more time to a writing project, but I couldn't let this day go by without a brief reflection.

My reflection on John Paul, "Remembering the Pope of the Family" can be read at Time for the Family.

And if you'd like to read a beautiful tribute to the particular influence of St. John Paul II on one young woman's life, read what Jenny Uebbing has to say in her piece, "He moved me."

St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Less blogging, more writing ...

Unshakeable Hope has been around for more than 4 years.  In the early days there were daily posts or even multiple posts per day.  As time has gone on, however, the writing has decreased.  In large part this is due to a change in my responsibilities at Ruah Woods, which are much more writing-centric than in the beginning.  

For the foreseeable future, new blog posts will become even rarer as I dedicate more time to completing an exciting project for high school students and teachers.  There will probably be moments from time to time when I can't help but share my thoughts on a particular topic, but I will not be regularly blogging.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse a new site -- -- which I co-founded with fellow alumni from the John Paul II Institute.  It is not affiliated with Ruah Woods or the John Paul II Institute.  As an independent venture of some JPII Institute alumni, it is a place to visit to reflect on the gift of marriage and family, and to learn more about what the Church teaches and why on these subjects.

Please pray for the project I am working on and for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as I move to less blogging and (ironically) more writing.