I'm honored to have received 3rd place in Dappled Things' annual Jacques Maritain essay contest, for my 2016 article on William Giraldi's Hold the Dark. I'm especially humbled to see the other names ahead of me--artist Daniel Mistui and the philosopher/writer James Matthew Wilson. Both are quite accomplished in their respective fields. Congrats to them and thanks to Dappled Things for the award.
Sorry for the sparse blogging of late. I hope to return soon, once some upcoming events and obligations are behind us.
See my original essay here: http://dappledthings.org/9303/catholic-novelist-confused-apologist-william-giraldi-and-the-nature-of-religious-fiction/
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I came across a great article published recently in The Journal of Catholic Higher Education (Villanova U.) that argues that the distinct identity of Catholic education lies in religious contemplation. The author, an Irish professor named Rik Van Nieuwenhove, draws heavily on one of my favorite essays, Simone Weil’s “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.” I would upload a .pdf of the article, but it I imagine it wouldn’t be kosher, since Villanova doesn’t make it available online. Thankfully, the author has posted the piece to his academia.edu profile, where you can view the article or even download it if you sign up for a free account, which I did.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Say it ain’t so! After much back-and-forth between the angel and devil on my shoulders, I decided to join the wide world of Twitter (I’m not sure who won the argument…but I don’t really think I want to know).
I don’t plan to do much original Twittering, but to use the medium to give more visibility to this blog and my writing in general. I will Tweet out new posts, and probably some old ones, too, so if that is your platform of choice, I invite you to follow me: @Mike_StThomas
And you can always contact me the (relatively) old-fashioned way: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, April 3, 2017
Commonweal Magazine’s latest issue contains my review of Nicholson Baker’s Substitute, in which the best-selling novelist observes classroom life in your everyday American public school. You can read the piece here. I found the book to be a painfully accurate depiction of life on the ground in our educational technocracy. In this post I'd like to include some observations that I didn’t have the space or time for in the review itself, not the least of which is the book’s relevance to Catholic educators.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
In my first post, I discussed Augustine’s idea that a community is bound by common “objects of love,” by real things which people experience in common. I hope here to use that definition to get a better handle on why the canon—the art and ideas that are foundational to our culture—needs to be central to any academic community.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
(By Unknown - http://gawain.ucalgary.ca, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=621711)
This is the third installment in my slow-to-develop “Literature for the Modern Mind” series. For an overview of what it’s all about, see here.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the role Catholic education plays in helping students understand the ways in which our Christian inheritance comes into conflict with the modern technocracy. My recent article on “St. Midas’ Prep” deals with this subject directly, and as I’ve thought about it more and more, I’ve come to conclude that everything at stake here can be boiled down to one essential question: Does the world exist for us, or do we exist for the world?