Hail and farewell, fellow readers. I am quitting the column business-cold turkey. Total abstinence is the only way. As in other addictions, the build-up of tension followed by the release of handing in 900 words on deadline produces a dangerous high.
Manic euphoria is increased if I get praise and reinforcements from loyal Commonweal readers. Criticism counts as reinforcement too, since it proves someone out there has actually read you. One of my proudest moments was to have Walker Percy send a letter taking me to task for some criticism I made of the pope.
But alas, frequent highs have the baneful effect of immunizing me from working harder on longer writing projects that I have taken on. To do what I want in the long run, I have to give up satisfying bursts of steam.
No more excuses allowed now. I must finish my book on suffering. Then on to the book on the challenge of religious experience, to be followed by a rewrite of my 1991 book on conscience. When I wrote it I did not include theological considerations of conscience because I was too ignorant and had enough problems getting the psychological and ethical dimensions integrated.
I recently read an article in Theological Studies (September 2002) by Charles E. Bouchard, O.P., on "Recovering the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Moral Theology." In it he argues that Catholics must do a better job of integrating spirituality and morality. He is...