Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

This is the last entry for the year. The next blog posting will be in the second week of January 2021. A new year; a new hope; an ending to our global horror; a fervent farewell to plague.

The liturgical year and the chronological year do not always mesh. Sometimes there is creative conjunction, and sometimes there is distressing disjunction.

2020 is a strange one on several counts but our Advent coincides with the arrival of the vaccine(s) and the Nativity—the enfleshment of divinity—reminds us in arresting terms that we are redeemed matter.

Yes, matter. The physical defines us. The full recovery of the material presence as opposed to the virtual presence that is our indispensable companion, is on the horizon for 2021. We yearn for social intercourse, for the palpable, the tangible, something more than the visual icon, the immaterial reality that has become our common diet.

Time for healthier food; time to move beyond connectivity to communion. Our technology has enabled us to be more than disparate and lonely individuals aching for contact, and that is a glorious boon. But the physical presence, the material presence, is a greater gift and we pray for its return. Its absence reminds us of the scandal, the disruption in time of the Incarnation.

Have a blessed and peaceful holy season. The varied responses to the blog over the last term—supportive, critical, insightful, corrective—are always welcome.


- Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC

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