Woof Guide to Popular Music: Bedlam Boys

In old times in England, "Tom O'Bedlam" was a name given to mad beggars (or to beggars who pretended to be mad as an aid to begging); the name comes from Bethlem Royal Hospital, or "Bedlam", a place in which the mad were confined. Bedlam spawned two different but related ballads; the first, "Tom O'Bedlam", goes more or less like this:From the hagg and hungry goblin That into raggs would rend ye, And the spirit that stands by the naked man In the Book of Moones - defend ye!That of … [Read more...]

Love, Sex, and other Inequalities

Katrina Fernandez, aka The Crescat, has knocked it out of the park with a post on love, sex, and the difference between them. According to her, a lot of the people she runs into assume that if you're not having sex with them you don't love them; and if you're having sex with them, you love them, and they love you. This strikes me as bizarre, but then, it strikes Katrina as bizarre, too:The implication here is that single people practicing chastity are not experiencing love. Also, it … [Read more...]

On Being a Conduit of Love

Receiving God's love is kind of like tuning in on a radio signal. God's love is always there: fifty-thousands watts straight out of paradise, and you can catch the signal anywhere on earth. And we're natural receivers, we men and women; God designed us to pick up on the signal with high fidelity. But we're almost all of us badly out of tune with that signal: we pick up it fitfully, now and then, here and there.Now, love is naturally expressive of itself, says St. Thomas, and it seems to … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Bad Language

“Dang Brodell,” Emmett said. Actually that isn’t what he said. But about a year ago I got a four-page letter from a woman in Wichita, Kansas, saying that she had read all of my reports and that as each of her fourteen grandchildren reached his or her twelfth birthday she gave him or her copies of three of them just to get them started. If I go ahead and report what Emmett Lake actually said I would almost certainly lose that nice old lady, and what about the grandchildren who aren’t twelve yet? I … [Read more...]

The Touchstone of Obedience: Medjugorge and Other Apparitions

I am not an apparitions kind of guy. I'm aware of Fatima and Guadalupe and Lourdes, and find them somewhat interesting, but they don't form a significant part of my daily spirituality. Thus, I have no particular dog in the fight over the apparitions in Medjugorge; but this week's statement about Medjugorge from the CDF (i.e., don't assume the apparitions are real) led me to reflect on obedience and humility, which I regard as perhaps the most important touchstones for the behavior of living … [Read more...]

The Dogmat Sez

Bad behavior on my enemy's part does not justify bad behavior on my part.Bad behavior by my enemy's friends does not justify bad behavior by my friends. … [Read more...]

Sixtus A Capella

In response to this post, the geographically named Joe Washingtoncatholic pointed me at a genuinely real and truly obscure Catholic Musical Group made up of seminarians from Washington DC: Sixtus A Capella. They are surprisingly good, and more than a little goofy.Here, for example, is an obviously lip-synced, gymnastically goofy, truly low budget video to a really good rendition of "A Man of Constant Sorrow":And here's a neat piece by another group called Breath of Soul, which I … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: Deacon Greg and the Dalmatics

New York cover band Deacon Greg and the Dalmatics is a regular sight on the charity benefit circuit, bringing their low-key mix of contemporary pop tunes and doo wop classics to galas and telethons up and down the east coast. The members of the band, Catholic deacons all, bring a straight-ahead aesthetic to their covers that makes the best use of their combined talents while respecting the source material. On particularly popular tunes the Dalmatics will occasionally add a topical reference or … [Read more...]

Faith Ain’t Nonsensical

The common view of faith is well represented by this speech from Jack McDevitt's novel Odyssey:Faith is conviction without evidence, and sometimes even in the face of contrary evidence. In some quarters, this quality is perceived as a virtue.In fact, this is not what the Catholic Church means by faith. Per Cardinal Schönborn,A blind faith, one that would simply demand a leap into the utter void of uncertainty, would be no human faith. If belief in the Creator were totally without … [Read more...]