Welcome to the new blog

June 29, 2021: The Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul

It has been quite a while since I have last written a blog post, and for good reasons. Since my last post, there have been many changes in my life: two graduations (2018, 2019), a move from Boston to Montreal (2019) and then Pittsburgh (2020), the beginning, interruption, and resuming of my doctoral studies, engagement (2019), marriage (2020), and now the birth of our first child (2021), a seminary investigation launched (2018) and completed (2019), a formal inquiry into Eastern Orthodoxy (2018-2020) before realizing my home is in communion with Rome (2021), and a year-long quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these circumstances and others, I realized it would be best if I took some time away from writing, with the exception of that writing necessary for my studies. Quite a bit has changed since my last post, and I am not sure I am the same person as I was in 2018. In fact, I know I am not. I mean, yes, ontologically, I am the same person. But much is not the same, including my location, my weight (a year of quarantine and Italian food will do that to you), my research interests, my marital status and family life, my career plans, the liturgies I attend, the conversations I entertain, the friends I keep, the time spent, my outlook on life, the Church, myself, and the LORD. And lastly, the name and mission of this blog.

I have been on WordPress for 11 years this month. Previously, my blog was entitled Inflammate Omnia, which is Latin for “Go, and set all [things] aflame.” Apocryphally, it is associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), in his farewell instructions to St. Francis Xavier before Francis sailed for the Far East. At the time, I was considering a vocation to the Society, later attending a Jesuit university, and pushed for Ignatian spirituality to be my own. My posts were infrequent but lengthy reflections on faith, current events, and the Church. I have kept a few posts up for those who found them helpful. But the time has come to change the blog’s mission and direction. Despite my love for the Jesuits, I clearly realized my road to sanctity was not through their Order, nor as a member of the Church’s consecrated religious or ordained priesthood. Perhaps, one day, I will explain more about my own discernment, and how I came to be on the path I am on. But for now, let’s say farewell to Inflammate Omnia (the blog– never to the phrase!) and see what lies ahead.

The title of this new blog is Roman Orthodoxy. That is meant to be provocative. On one hand, it can mean orthodoxy—that is, “right-glory” and “right-belief”—in the Roman Church. There are those who profess the orthodox Christian Faith, which is the “true faith” flowing from the “true light”, Jesus Christ. Roman orthodoxy is found in the authentic and definitive teachings of the Church’s magisterium, as passed down through two-millennia by Christ, to the Apostles, to the various Churches established by them, to our present day. Of course, in today’s denominationalist world, we often hear “Catholicism” attached to “Roman”, and “Orthodoxy” attached to “Eastern”. But if the Church Fathers were present on earth today, and they passed “St. James Catholic Church” and “St. George Orthodox Church”, they would not initially find any particular difference as defined by the titles. In saying “Roman Orthodoxy”, I am not suggesting that we create a third thing between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but that we approach the Christian faith without seeing the two terms, and—for the most partthe Churches, opposed. More on this idea in a future post.

This blog is intended to serve as a personal journal of sorts, one that, I hope, will prove to be beneficial to your own faith journey. I will write on those areas most dear to me: theology and philosophy, history and culture. I am not interested in the latest gossip in Church news, nor am I trying to pass myself off as a pundit with the hottest takes on what is happening in our Church and the world. I am a doctoral student in theology, a married man and father, and someone whose faith is constantly seeking understanding. For those in the academy, there are journals and monographs dedicated to particular theological minutiae. As someone on the scholarly road, I enjoy these, and hope to contribute to them now and in the future. But, given that the journals are accessible (both literally and conceptually) to a select few, I wanted to also share my writing with a wider audience, many of whom are men and women simply trying to live the Faith in the everyday, ordinary world. Unfortunately, much of the theological content on the Internet is sloppy, misinformed, anemic, and sensationalist. While academic theologians are busy typing away obscure arguments in jargon-infested prose, any given Christian in the pews is hardly aware of their existence, let alone their work! Meanwhile, Catholic commentators of all stripes are simply a YouTube link away, but their commentary is often utilized as a “parallel magisterium” of sorts, and soon enough develops a cult of personality. It is my hope that my work here is neither an obtuse academic exercise, nor the Catholic equivalent to “The View”. There exists a true need for theological education and formation, and that is something that should be available to everyone.

And so, welcome to Roman Orthodoxy. I will be writing here frequently, so feel free to subscribe below or keep the website addressed bookmarked. My writing will largely cover theological and philosophical topics, but I will also write posts on history and culture. There is one other section on spirituality. This will be, by far, the most personal and subjective of my posts, and should not be read as a guide or treatise on the spiritual life, but simply a simple layman’s reflection on his own. My main medium is writing, but I plan to begin a podcast and YouTube channel, for those who prefer aural and visual aids. You can also subscribe to my Substack, which is a newsletter of general reflections on current events and the Church.

A final note: a few people have asked me about monetization. Let me be very clear: I find advertisements very, very annoying and distracting. I also think there are some ethical issues involved with having “Big Tech” track your every interest and move. I also find advertisements, whether on WordPress or YouTube, podcasts or Facebook, to be completely opposed to the topics I treat. How can one truly read about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit while having to click ‘X’ out of a random advertisement about footwear? I will never utilize advertisements on my blog, nor on my YouTube channel, or on a podcast. That is my promise to you. Of course, the time involved with reading, writing, thinking, creating, and the like is time that could be spent working a 9-5, something I am unable to do given the requirements and agreement in my current doctoral program. Once I am finished, I hope to get a full-time job teaching; until then, there is my part-time work in the university, and Roman Orthodoxy. I will not charge for a single thing I write or produce on this blog, but just know that there are certain costs which accompany this project, including a yearly payment for this domain and various applications, books, and equipment needed to write, record, and film. St. Paul built tents to help support himself in his witnessing to Christ (Acts 18:3), and I write. Everything on this blog is, and will always be free. In terms of paid subscriptions, you can subscribe to the Roman Orthodoxy newsletter, something cheaper than a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription by far. You can also support this work on Patreon, which gives you access to numerous benefits as a paid subscriber. If you find this project to be beneficial to your life, then please consider supporting it however you can, whether through temporal or spiritual means. Even Mass cards or “spiritual bouquets” are appreciated!

For those who have followed this blog since the Inflammate Omnia days, thank you for your online presence and kinship! I hope Roman Orthodoxy is something you find interesting and worth reading. Let us pray for each other!

John

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