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Author Archive: Jeffrey McLeod, PhD

Jeff McLeod holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He works as a data scientist, researcher, statistician, psychometrician, and software developer. His passion is to express the tenets of Catholicism without compromise, faithful to the magisterium, in confident dialog with the modern world. In his spare time he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Mary's University of Minnesota, and teaches at the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute in St. Paul. He and his lovely Catholic convert wife have been married for 25 years and share their home with two exceedingly accomplished children.

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Edith Stein On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

August 26, AD2015 5 Comments
Edith Stein On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

Is the idea of destiny just a useful fiction, a dramatic device to move a story along or is it something more than that? Consider the classic movie When Harry Met Sally, where the man and woman cross paths over the course of years, destined to be together, but always miss the mark. Why are […]

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Who Is the Valiant Woman in the Book of Maccabees

July 2, AD2015 10 Comments
Who Is the Valiant Woman in the Book of Maccabees

After the death of Alexander the Great, his generals divided his empire into regional sections. Soon, the holy land of Judaea was controlled by a dynasty of kings known as the Seleucids. There were good kings and bad kings in the Seleucid dynasty. King Antiochus Epiphenes IV was a bad king. At first, he “spoke peaceable […]

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The Edgy Poetry of our Newest Church Doctor

May 6, AD2015 6 Comments
The Edgy Poetry of our Newest Church Doctor

Last February, Pope Francis announced he would name Armenian monk St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003) to be the newest Doctor of the Catholic Church. This is important because the title of Doctor has been granted to just thirty-six figures in Church history. St. Gregory of Narek joins a small number of saints who are deemed […]

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A Catechesis on Emotions

April 10, AD2015 4 Comments
A Catechesis on Emotions

Have you ever wondered what emotions are for, and how they fit in with a life of faith and reflection? Emotions are important because they give texture to experience, even though at times we feel as though our emotions confound us or get in the way. Many believe that emotions are nothing more than a […]

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Born to Rest in Truth

February 11, AD2015 1 Comment
Born to Rest in Truth

Is your washing machine running? Maybe you’ve had the experience I’ve had. Wet clothes, especially towels, get unevenly distributed in the tub, causing it to spin madly and make frightening noises. Sometimes it sounds like the beating of a large bass drum, a beating that escalates in frequency and intensity. Some washing machine models automatically […]

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Barking Up the Wrong Tree

December 16, AD2014 15 Comments
Barking Up the Wrong Tree

First, let’s get the facts straight about the Holy Father’s comments in the Vatican, the so called “All Dogs go to Heaven” episode. Pope Francis did not console a boy about his dog — that was Pope Paul VI many years ago, and I have no idea how that ever made it past an editor. […]

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St. Thomas on the Psychology of Advent

November 20, AD2014 3 Comments
St. Thomas on the Psychology of Advent

The phrase lumen fidei, the light of faith, is becoming a familiar part of our lexicon. The phrase plays a key part in the psychology of St. Thomas. As the season of Advent is now approaching, I decided to meditate, with St. Thomas Aquinas as my guide, on how it is that a baby in […]

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Christianity is Freedom

October 24, AD2014 5 Comments
Christianity is Freedom

The Christian faith from the beginning is the sacrifice of all freedom…. –Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.  –Saint John Paul II I know it sounds like a slogan, but freedom is under attack. Look at Nietzsche’s […]

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How God Reveals Himself in Memory

September 23, AD2014 5 Comments
How God Reveals Himself in Memory

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard. A metaphysical principle observed by St. Thomas Aquinas says that “whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.” He is referring to how created beings acquire knowledge of reality. By created beings, he means that we […]

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Review of “Science was Born of Christianity”

August 27, AD2014 44 Comments
Review of “Science was Born of Christianity”

In 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tried in vain to explain to the Washington Press Corps that the most difficult stage of risk assessment is identifying the information you don’t know you don’t know, what he called “the unknown unknowns.” In every project plan, there are impediments we can’t identify because they don’t stand […]

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Realism: Incarnation, Relics, and Buddy Holly’s Glasses

July 29, AD2014 5 Comments
Realism: Incarnation, Relics, and Buddy Holly’s Glasses

The philosophical error of our times is to stay stuck inside our heads seeking meaning and coherence in subjectivity, a meaning and coherence that subjectivity cannot give on its own. Catholic realism is a much needed counterpoint to this error. The Catholic tradition recognizes that ideas can’t dwell forever in the hypothetical mode; they demand […]

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Did Jonah Really Get Eaten by a Whale?

July 1, AD2014 350 Comments
Did Jonah Really Get Eaten by a Whale?

Yes he did, and it can happen to you too. The story in a nutshell is about an obscure prophet named Jonah who was sent by Yahweh to change hearts in the rough town of Nineveh. Jonah tried to escape in the opposite direction but his ship was hit by a storm at sea, a […]

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Science is a Servant, Not a Master

June 3, AD2014 7 Comments
Science is a Servant, Not a Master

What used to be an annoyance to me has grown into a concern. Some who are hostile to Christianity invoke science not as the fruit of our gift of intelligence, but as something superior to faith or even incompatible with it. Yet we Christians have known for millennia that the two are fully compatible and […]

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The New York Times and the Big Fish That Got Away

May 23, AD2014 8 Comments
The New York Times and the Big Fish That Got Away

In a few days it will be time for the 2014 Tony Awards. These awards define the standard of excellence in theater. I am a fan of Broadway and also of New York City so I will be watching. But I will be watching in protest because of a noteworthy absence in this year’s nominations […]

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Pope Francis and the Culture of Encounter

May 6, AD2014 5 Comments
Pope Francis and the Culture of Encounter

As we’ve learned, Pope Francis is not one for detailed expositions of philosophical principles. He makes his points using simple one-liners and neologisms, expressions like, “We cannot be Christians part-time.” Once he even called us “riff-raff.” He leaves it to us to work out the details. One phrase that recurs in the homilies of Pope […]

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The Radically Subversive Philosophy of Dr. Seuss

April 28, AD2014 15 Comments
The Radically Subversive Philosophy of Dr. Seuss

The following actually happened during one of my lectures. I said, “Neuroscience does not deal with the person; it is concerned strictly with the human organism, with things that happen inside the skull. Mind you, some neuroscientists mistakenly believe their field eliminates the concept of the person altogether. They are wrong. The person is separate […]

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Good Friday and the Two Mobs

April 8, AD2014 5 Comments
Good Friday and the Two Mobs

In the days leading up to Good Friday, Jesus was encountered by two different kinds of mobs that had entirely different responses to him and thereby suffered two different fates. Both mobs were convicted and condemned, but in very different ways. “This Mob is Cursed” (John 7:49) There were many people in Israel who were […]

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Virtue is Like Jazz Improvisation

March 12, AD2014 13 Comments
Virtue is Like Jazz Improvisation

What exactly is virtue, and what does it mean to live a good life? Once again, the Catholic tradition views this question much differently than the modern world does, and the modern world seems to be struggling with its solution. Therefore I think the question deserves a second look. Two Views of Virtue The Rationalist […]

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Edith Stein on Living Fully in the Present

January 14, AD2014 7 Comments
Edith Stein on Living Fully in the Present

Edith Stein was an admirer of St. Thomas Aquinas, and like Aquinas, she understood that words mean things, but they do not always mean them unambiguously. President Bill Clinton, for example, testified that what he meant by his testimony in Federal Court depended on the meaning of the word “is.” America laughed not because he was wrong, but because we knew what he was up to. One in the […]

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When Did Jesus Know He was God?

December 17, AD2013 15 Comments
When Did Jesus Know He was God?

Little is known about the time between our LORD’s birth in Bethlehem and the Wedding at Cana where he began his public mission. So the question of when Jesus in his human nature assimilated his knowledge of his divine nature is a little more speculative than many other questions. For that reason I’d like to give a disclaimer that this essay is not so much an answer to the question as […]

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Memoria Futuri: Living our Faith Forward

November 19, AD2013 5 Comments
Memoria Futuri: Living our Faith Forward

What a year it has been!  And now, as the Year of Faith draws to a close, our inclination is to wonder how our efforts will fare. This occurs in our personal life as well. Knowing we are spiritually transformed by faith, the question arises, what can we do, individually and collectively, to animate or […]

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Out: Leap of Faith, In: Light of Faith

October 24, AD2013 5 Comments
Out: Leap of Faith, In: Light of Faith

Maybe you’ve seen videos of wedding couples celebrating their vows by bungee cording off high bridges together. I suppose the imagery suggests that getting married is like leaping into the abyss, terrified, screaming for dear life. For the record, my marriage has never felt like that. But let’s not dismiss the metaphor too quickly, because […]

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Don’t Believe in Modern Love

September 25, AD2013 16 Comments
Don’t Believe in Modern Love

  It might sound like a throwaway question along the lines of “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” But St. Thomas asked in all earnestness how many souls we have. More precisely, “Whether there are other souls besides the intellectual soul, essentially different from the intellectual soul, in man” (ST I, 76, Art. 3). […]

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The Universe Was Created for the Sake of the Church

August 27, AD2013 15 Comments
The Universe Was Created for the Sake of the Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church drops this bombshell: Christians of the first centuries said, “The world was created for the sake of the Church.” God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the “convocation” of men in Christ, and this “convocation” is the Church. The Church […]

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