Drawn to the Women Saints

“I am not Catholic, and yet I find myself drawn to the women saints,” admits Jessa Crispin in a recent New York Times op-ed.  Crispin is not alone in this fascination, nor should she be.  She touts St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) as independent woman, one engaged in meaningful work rather the traditional woman’s lot [Read More…]

Museum Catechesis

The tourist arrives in a city like Florence, Italy, ready to gape at the Renaissance. Though postured to appreciate it, book in hand and eyes directed up, he might find himself at a loss, like the man ahead of me at the Florentine baptistery who, under the mosaic of Christ Pantocrator, asked the Italian leading [Read More…]

You are not still working on that

Though Thanksgiving is rooted in real historical events, intentional misremembering of those events is a big part of our holiday observance.   In his new documentary about the Pilgrims, Ric Burns rues the way we “forget almost everything actual about the Pilgrims when we sit down to eat turkey on Thanksgiving.” What we honor as authentic [Read More…]

The Problem of Inequality–for Puritans

It’s that time of year when New England muscles into the spotlight, showing off Patriots and scarlet maples, clear skies and Salem-witch shenanigans. But showing off–and the way that exacerbates anxieties of economic inequality—is not the New England way, at least not from the region’s seventeenth-century colonial beginnings. It should be said straightaway that the [Read More…]

Pope Francis and Our America

At the end of the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States, we should remember that his Holiness came to us by way of Cuba. And coming by way of Cuba, his travels might remind us of the shared historical experience of the United States and those Spanish-speaking lands south of the border, [Read More…]

This is not about abortion

In case you were unaware of your need for a book titled A History of Pregnancy in Christianity, University of Oslo religious history professor Anne Stensvold’s new release, consider this. Every person on the planet exists because of a reproductive act (sex, usually) and a nine-month period of a care by a particular woman, inside [Read More…]

How we view the fetus

Recent release of video footage showing Planned Parenthood official Deborah Nucatola describing collection and costs of fetal tissue has attracted attention and controversy.  With this controversy playing out in background, the Wall Street Journal published a new report on the overuse of ultrasounds. The Journal article argues that low-risk pregnancies do not need the average [Read More…]

Road Trip, with Manasseh Cutler

‘Tis the season for the road trip, not just for getting from point A to B, but for attending to history and geography along the way.  On the Old Bay Road going toward Ipswich, Massachusetts, now 1A North of Boston, a roadside marker identifies the site where the first covered wagon set off from Massachusetts [Read More…]

Gaudium et Spes for Mother’s Day

Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) was one of the remarkable documents of the Second Vatican Council, whose closing fifty years ago we currently commemorate. Perhaps an unexpected source for Mother’s Day tidings, this Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (1965) gives winsome, concise statement of Catholic teaching on the family.  For [Read More…]

Not an execution, but an execution sermon

Last week Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on thirty counts.   Jurors—and everyone else in and around Boston—now contemplate sentencing. Discussions about the death penalty have a strange ring in Massachusetts, a state that renounced it in 1984 and had its last execution 1947.   Residents debate capital punishment for the Boston Marathon bomber, with the Boston [Read More…]