Ten years later

Patheos is publishing a number of essays to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Mine begins on the morning after: On the morning of September 12, 2001, I awoke to the sound of sirens. My first thought, in bleary half-sleep:“Where am I?” And then I knew. I looked around at the pale walls of a [Read More...]

What's the worst church innovation of the last 50 years?

How about “crying rooms”? From All Things New: But is a crying baby really such a problem that it demands its own special room? Clearly, some priests think so. I once heard of a priest who would interrupt mass—smack in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer—if a baby started to howl. He’d wait until the [Read More...]

What do you wear to Mass?

Something like this, maybe? Or maybe not. It’s rare to see folks dressed like that today — even rarer in the heat of summer. I have a few thoughts on all that right here. [Read more...]

In the Weiner's circle

If anyone wonders what it’s like having the Anthony Weiner circus playing in your backyard, I can tell you.  Check out this week’s column, “All Things New”: Suddenly, a lot of us in the area are uncomfortably aware that some of the nice folks who sweep their sidewalks and water the azaleas and smile sweetly [Read More...]


Were you slapped at your confirmation? We don’t do that anymore and, in this week’s All Things New, I wonder if we need to bring back the slap: Earlier this month, I was serving as deacon at our parish confirmation in Queens. The bishop anointed each of the kids as they came forward and then—I [Read More...]

The writing on the wall

I recently experienced a growing trend in Catholic parishes, and wrote about it for this week’s column, “All Things New”: I have seen the writing on the wall. And I’m not impressed. A couple of Sundays ago, I found myself at a sparkling, sprawling parish in central Florida, in a church nave surrounded by stained [Read More...]

Bless this house, O Lord we pray…

The day after Easter, I stopped by a parishioner’s apartment to perform a favorite ritual, a house blessing.  That simple blessing, and all that it means, is the subject of this week’s “All Things New”: Whatever compels people to ask for these blessings, there is in every case a strong desire to make something old [Read More...]

Spy Wednesday, Judas, and us

Tomorrow begins the Triduum, but today is “Spy Wednesday,” when Judas set in motion the events that would lead to Christ’s passion. I reflect on what that means for all of us in this week’s column, “All Things New”: If you want to consider this merely a curious date that stands outside the proper of [Read More...]

Bracing for "The Week That Was"

We’re sliding into one of the busiest times for parishes, but it can be easy to forget what it’s really about. From this week’s “All Things New”: Back in the 1960s, there was a TV show called “That Was the Week That Was,” which satirized current events. It was a precursor to “Saturday Night Live” [Read More...]