Cocaine/Communion: The Holy Contradictions of David Ramirez

David Ramirez is too sharp a songwriter to serve as a mere springboard for theological discussion. It would be a horrible kind of lust to strip his lyrics down to their "Christian" elements while ignoring their total depth. But his latest record, Fables, tackles a particular theological concern with a hammer, and it would be insane to review it without asking its question -- where, when, and how is communion possible?Ramirez is prone to reflection on the craft of songwriting itself, and the h … [Read more...]

Eucharistic Eyes

Protestants puzzle over how Catholics can see the person of Christ in a piece of bread. But the greater mystery seems to be how Catholics see the person in the face of the Protestant. Both parties live in a world in which the gaze sees, not people, but tools, objects, social classes, races -- a media world full of media types. The idea of seeing a particular person rather than this or that thing, really seeing her as an unrepeatable life, an unfathomable mystery and an infinite value -- it's ab … [Read more...]

The Power of the Priestess

As motherhood is given by the child, as the husband is given by the wife, as the gift always comes from the gift-giver, so the priesthood is always received from another. This is true in individual ordinations, in which the priesthood is conferred through the bishop, and it is true for the priesthood as a whole, instituted by God, not by man. No one can make himself a priest.Neither can anyone earn, deserve, or become worthy of the priesthood. The priest is always unworthy of being a priest, … [Read more...]

The Christian case for gay marriage: The Smackdown

So a certain Mr. Osler wrote a wonderful piece for CNN entitled My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage. I take mild issue with it. Just to warn ye secular-fantastics, I know the Bible's all ridiculous and sexist and fake and even if it's not it's old and has stuff like violence in it so why bother a discussion about it plus there's no God. However, this is a conversation that makes the [idiotic] assumption that Sacred Scripture is sacred. So do bear with me.Mr. Osler, then:I am a … [Read more...]

The Terrible Weakness of Our God

Sometime before the Christmas break, I had the pleasure of eating dinner with four Sisters of Life. In a very certain sense, these Sisters are an awful lot like crack cocaine: Any interaction with them, however brief, leaves me with a stupid smile, the belief that hey, maybe the world isn't going to plunged into a fiery abyss after all, and a powerful feeling of happiness that lasts for the rest of the day. Their joy is as beautiful as it is infectious.But I mention this only to mention … [Read more...]

Eucharistic Blasphemy

There is a prayer said by the Roman Catholic priest before he receives the Holy Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, usually muttered so quietly that the congregation cannot hear. I'll give you the version from the New Translation, because its awesome, you're awesome, and thus you and the New Translation are going to get along dandily: "May receiving your Body and Blood, Lord Jesus Christ, not bring me to judgment and condemnation, but through your love and mercy let it be my p … [Read more...]

Eucharistic Addiction

(Spoiler Alert: The Eucharist is God in the form of bread and wine.)To hear your average Catholics - alright, let's be honest, to hear some Catholics who actually care about the faith - speak on the Eucharist, I would sympathize with the modern eavesdropper who would leave the conversation thinking that he had overhead a couple of junkies praising a life-consuming drug. Our phrases our peppered with a fiendish, ravenous hunger, from Flannery's "it is the center of existence for me; all the … [Read more...]

Damming God

Happy Sabbath!Today - in a rather pointed rebellion against Protestant boredom - we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ meant what he said and said what he meant, when he told that confused and bewildered crowd to eat His flesh and drink his blood. It's really what separates the person of Christ from the "good moral teacher" the crowds of the world wish to consecrate Him into. No matter how peaceful and tolerant the lecture, and no matter the extent to which you are convinced that he "just … [Read more...]

Where is God? (clue – it’s edible)

Ain't that the question? We hear it asked in the obligatory religious/existential/identity crisis episode of just about any TV series, usually spewed by some stupid, emotional minor character who ends up settling for some vague, silly form of religion. We hear it asked by children and adults alike, only children have the sense to ask the real question, while adults waffle, asking things like "What is the higher purpose of my life?" or "how can I be happy?" Every now and then we hear it asked … [Read more...]

If Angels Could Be Jealous…

Happy Sabbath! Hold your heads up high Roman Catholics, today you will receive the Holy Eucharist. Your venial sins will be melted away and you will be brought into the closest communion with God that you can experience while on Earth, and why? Because God wants you to. I thank God that I am not Protestant, not because they are not holy, but because I am not holy enough. I do not have the attention, the desire, the spiritual openness, the fervor, the humility, and the patience to achieve the … [Read more...]