Recent Articles and News:
• My new book Praying the Our Father in Lent is now available to order from Catholic Truth Society!
• "Who are we, really, as Americans?" (Jan. 6, 2020). My editorial for Catholic World Report argues that politics is no longer about arguments over policies and prudence, but about transgressors and the anointed righteous who must render judgment against such irredeemable sinners.
• "Carl Trueman’s Cultural Tour de Force" (Dec. 26, 2020). My review at National Catholic Register of Carl Trueman's new book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.
• "MY FAVORITE 40 (20+20) ALBUMS OF 2020: JAZZ" (Dec. 31, 2020). Twenty jazz favorites, posted on the Spirit of Cecilia site.
• "MY FAVORITE 40 (20+20) ALBUMS OF 2020: EVERYTHING ELSE!" (Jan. 5, 2020). Twenty non-jazz favorites, including some rock, country, prog, and, yes, sacred music.
My December 2017 appearance on EWTN's "Bookmark", in which I discuss Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? and Called To Be the Children of God.
Called To Be the Children of God
The Catholic Theology of Human Deification
The first generations of Christians saw in their new lives in Jesus Christ a way to transcend all the limitations of sin and death and become new creatures. St. Peter expressed this as "participating in the divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4), while St. Athanasius stated it succinctly 300 years later: "God became a human, so humans could become God." This is the heart of the Christian faith and the pledge of the Christian promise: that those baptized in Christ become "divine" through their partaking in God's own life and love. This is why Christians can live forever, this is the source of their charity and their holiness, this is why we do not need to live in a world ruled by fallen instinct and sinful desires. We have been made for more, for infinitely more.
This book gathers more than a dozen Catholic scholars and theologians to examine what this process of "deification" means in their respective areas of study. It offers fifteen chapters showing what "becoming God" meant for the early Church, for St. Thomas Aquinas and the greatest Dominicans, the significance it played in the thinking of St. Francis and the early Franciscans. It shows how such an understanding of salvation played out during the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent, as well as in French School of Spirituality, in various Thomist thinkers, in John Henry Newman and John Paul II, at the Vatican Councils, and where such thinking can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church today.
No other book has gathered such an array of scholars or provided such a deep study into how humanity's divinized life in Christ has received many rich and various perspectives over the past two thousand years. This book therefore hopes to bring readers into the central mystery of Christianity by allowing the Church's greatest thinkers and texts to speak for themselves, showing how becoming Christ-like, becoming truly the Body of Christ on earth, is the only ultimate purpose of the Christian faith.
"Rescue from sin and death is indeed a wonderful thing—but the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ is incomparably greater. And that is the subject of this book. In all its parts, this book, like Christianity in all its parts, is about salvation. But that means it's about everything that fills our lives, on earth and in heaven." — Dr. Scott Hahn, Author, Rome Sweet Home
"This is a wonderful collection of essays on an issue that has been largely ignored by Western Christianity, which has focused far too much attention on how you get into heaven rather than how heaven gets into you."
— Dr. Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, Baylor University.
"Theologians, pastors, students and laity alike would benefit immensely from reading this book, not only for developing their theological knowledge but also for deepening their love for the divine life they already live here on earth."
— Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., Member of the International Theological Commission
Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?
Questions and Answers about the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
Major feature films such The Passion of the Christ and Risen, and books such as Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus raise many questions about one of the greatest controversies in history--what really happened to the crucified body of Jesus of Nazareth.
Using a popular question-and-answer format, this book examines the historical evidence concerning the fate of Jesus.
Did Jesus really die on the cross? If so, what became of his body? Was it stolen? Misplaced? Is the resurrection a cleverly devised plot to found a new religion? Did the disciples of Jesus hallucinate? Is the Resurrection of Jesus a myth developed decades later, after the original disciples' experience of Jesus was distorted by a subsequent generation? Or did Jesus rise from the dead, as he promised and as his disciples came to believe and sacrifice their lives to proclaim?
Carl E. Olson carefully weighs the evidence with in-depth analysis. Whether you are a believer, a skeptic, or something in between, be prepared to have your thinking challenged by this provocative and insightful book.
"This is a doubly scandalous book. It's about the greatest scandal in history, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it's a scandal in its own right because it dares to argue (convincingly, I think) that the Resurrection actually occurred and that all the arguments against its historicity have fallen flat, including recent arguments from the New Atheists and others. Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? will give delight to believers and distress to unbelievers. What more can one ask?"
— Karl Keating, Founder, Catholic Answers
"Comprehensive, well-researched, and accessible, this is the best defense of the Resurrection from a Catholic perspective."
— Brandon Vogt, Content Director at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and founder of StrangeNotion
"Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? is a brilliant and lucid presentation of the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection." — Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, author, Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality
"This book is an essential resource, especially for teachers, catechists, and anyone involved in evangelization."
— Amy Welborn, author of the Prove It! series of apologetics for Catholic teens
"Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? is a brilliant and lucid presentation of the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection."
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, author, Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality
"The importance of this publication [Called To Be the Children of God], which is a major contribution to the study of Catholic soteriology, can hardly be exaggerated."
— Fr. D. Vincent Twomey, S.V.D., Author of Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age