Welcome to Roman Orthodoxy on Substack, a newsletter that, I hope, becomes helpful for you in your own journey of faith. Before I explain what this project is, let me first introduce myself and explain why this project is, in the first place.
My name is John A. Monaco, and I am a doctoral student in theology. I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic, and grew up in a small city in Connecticut, famous for its Catholic heritage. From an early age, I felt a strong desire to know the LORD more deeply and pass on to others what I myself learned. After some time in seminary, I left to pursue an academic career in theology. Aside from my interests in philosophy & theology, I have studied voice and trumpet for years. In addition, I am a big fan of American football (Go Saints!) and a small fan of other sports. In the future, I will post more about myself, but for now, this should suffice.
What drew me to Substack?
Alongside my academic writing, I have written on platforms like Medium and my own WordPress blog. And, while I intend on continuing writing on these platforms, I know that not everyone wants to read a long essay, nor do people always check in or subscribe to these platforms. Twitter is decent, but it is hardly the place for nuanced thought (and after writing thread after thread, I knew I needed an alternative). Substack seems to be a good balance in between a blog and a tweet.
Moreover, as the world increasingly turns towards digital and virtual learning, there exists new opportunities to spread the Good News to audiences of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. Some of you may have your favorite websites, blogs, YouTube channels, etc. which cover philosophical, cultural, or theological topics. If you are like me, however, you will find that many of these are lacking, either in sound doctrine or in depth. Many Catholic personalities and “influencers” cash in on sensationalist headlines, Church gossip, and oversimplified analyses of theology.
Many academic theologians remain stuck in their ivory towers, putting all of their focus into writing obscure and myopic journal articles which only a handful of people read, and even fewer understand. And, while acknowledging the importance of writing for a targeted and specialized audience, the theological academy seems a far cry away from the medieval university, whose professors were able to discuss highly-technical concepts with their fellow intellectuals, and later preach to general audiences. One needs only to think of the example of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure as two theological ‘masters’ who dominated the intellectual landscape of medieval Europe, while preaching and teaching even the illiterate. Theological education should not be limited to only those able to have formal schooling. It is my hope that my years of study and reflection will bear fruit in both the academic and public sphere.
Now, what is Roman Orthodoxy? And what is the rationale for that name? This is something I will explain in my first official newsletter.
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In the meantime, tell your friends!