LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture


Publication Date

Winter 2020

Document Type




First Page


Last Page



It is impossible, Heraclitus tells us, to step into the same river twice. But what if it's the river in the Eternal City? Though I once swam in the Mediterranean, I never actually set foot in the Tiber. But I did return to Rome this October for the canonization of John Henry Newman. The first time I was in Rome was nearly twenty-five years ago in my junior year in college. That visit followed a longer period, a semester in Oxford, the place Newman said "made us Catholics." That semester was formative for me in a number of ways, and I think that many experiences there did indeed play a role in my own conversion years ago. The philosopher Richard Cross of Oriel College led a seminar on the thought of Thomas Aquinas that convinced me Aquinas's way of thinking about many topics concerning the human person and salvation was solid and profound, even if I was not a born-again Thomist. In a bit of providential irony, Cross is now the successor of Alvin Plantinga as John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame; much of my first introduction to philosophy had come from Plantinga when he was substitute teaching Sunday school classes at my childhood Christian Reformed Church in South Bend, Indiana. (I was one of the few of my age group, or perhaps any age group, to get excited about topics such as Anselm's ontological argument.)


Full text also available with a paid subscription at Project MUSE: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/743593