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...]

The Supreme Validity of the Church Lady

I know that the old ladies forever praying rosaries at the back of the Church don't really live in the sacristy. I know that the women who eternally surround the Mary-statue didn't come with a "Buy Our Statue, Get an Aging Filipino!" deal. I know that the "Church-lady" is a person like the rest of us, chock full of her own doubts and insecurities, and yet -- the Church-lady is also a type, just like the 'hero,' 'celebrity,' or the 'starving artist.' I want to investigate the creature.The b … [Read more...]

On theism without religion and atheism with it

"Religion" is typically considered as a "belief system" or a "structure of beliefs and practices concerning the divine." It's a recent development in the meaning of the word, and it would have been foreign to, say, Aquinas, for whom religion was a virtue.A virtue is the perfection of a power of the soul, or, in modern parlance, an excellence of the human person. We see a height of humanity in courageous actions, a greatness we are all capable of. We admire courage, not as something for just … [Read more...]

Benedict-hearts in the Age of Francis

There's nothing worse than theology. Its affirmations frighten me -- I avoid it like the plague. But I want to articulate why I am so amped, stoked, tickled and pumped about Pope Francis. This thrusts me into theological modes, Bible-based speculations and doctrine-flavored thoughts. Many apologies to the Very Hip Agnostics who frequent these pixels, as to Those Who Actually Do Theology.I think Francis is detested and loved for the same reason. Detested, because his openness to the world … [Read more...]

My Spot on The Vortex

I was featured on Michael Voris' The Vortex yesterday. I'm on at 4:15.Sorry, Michael.I know you didn't ask for a hype man.But I was in a minivan.Full of hope. … [Read more...]

An Idiotic Hierarchy

I needed to make restitution for my sins. So I exposed my body to that combox anti-Catholicism that spits out the word "hierarchy" like it's Greek for "storm troopers" or "really bad STDs." I learned two things. First, one really ought to consult a spiritual director before undertaking any extreme forms of penance. Secondly -- hierarchy ain't no dirty word.Its earliest use was religious -- a "system of orders of angels and heavenly beings." In modern usage (devoid, like most of modernity, of … [Read more...]

Masculine and Feminine Time

I know it's hardly with-it to draw distinctions between men and women. And yes, I know humans are androgynous, non-gendered ghosts suffering the misfortune of being smooshed into bodies with gendery bits that delude everyone into thinking: "Look, there goes a dude." But bear with me, I'm feeling ambitious.Femininity is more cyclical than masculinity. If the female body is dizzying for men, it is only because it is made out of circles. It cannot be encountered in the same way each day, but re … [Read more...]

A Sudden Encounter With The Collection

Remember when I wrote about The Collection's splendafrickinriffable album The Art of Dying? (Well I don't care. (That's what hyperlinks are for. (Forgetful punks.))) The band were so kind as to add The Harmonium Project​ to their tour last spring -- a non-profit music venue full of world-changing potential that my friends and I run in Steubenville, OH.They murdered the stage. We ate pancakes, Hope (clarinet) stole my copy of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling (the address I wrote on the inside … [Read more...]

Notes on Lust

Every moment of erotic love contains the potential to create a new world -- a mother, a father, children, a home, a place, a community, a lifelong project and the definite content of a life.A lustful age is an age frightened of life, of really being someone, really living somewhere, really doing something -- of being inaugurated, through love, into a new kind of life.Lust is love frightened of family.Lust is love frightened of its own creativity, frightened of being swept into the … [Read more...]

Let’s Murder the Non-Negotiables!

Every time someone says "non-negotiable moral issues" in the context of a Catholic's voting responsibility, a puppy full of hope, wonder, and plans for the future is thrown off a cliff. By me. And I don't even cry.So let's be absolutely clear. There is not, has never been, and probably never will be a definitive list of non-negotiable political issues that Catholics may not vote in favor of.This myth has been unintentionally promoted by folks like CatholicVote and Catholic Answers, … [Read more...]