My American Idol

It’s a weird thing to do, but I have to start this post on the evil of idols by talking about my idol. Her name is Elizabeth Scalia. She’ll hate that. She can’t stand it when people make a fuss over her. And she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a miserable, worthless, slobbering [Read More...]

“A Light That Is Well Placed Does Not Repel Others…”

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Strange Gods, the first book by our own Elizabeth Scalia.  (I’m working my way through it now and hope to write about it in the next few days; I can report that my wife, who rarely reads anything other than her Bible, read the book in one [Read More...]

“The Great Gatsby” as sermon

From the canny mind of Fr. Robert Barron:  Fitzgerald saw that, given the breakdown of traditional morality and the marginalization of God, many people in the postwar West simply surrendered themselves to wealth and pleasure. Commitment, marriage, sexual responsibility, and the cultivation of a spiritual life were seen as, at best, holdovers from the Victorian [Read More...]

Our Pope, the Page-Turner

Pope Francis has sparked a mini publishing boom.  And recently I looked at three new books about him:  While people may have different opinions about Pope Francis, we can all agree on this: he has been very good for the publishing industry. In the short time since his election and inauguration, publishers have rushed to [Read More...]

All That Jazz: How F. Scott Fitzgerald Wound Up in a Catholic Cemetery

Some days back, I wrote about the Fitzgerald grave, which rests just outside the church where I was married 27 years ago. The Washington Post recently revisited the churchyard, and offers more about the fabled author’s final resting place: Things have changed for Scott and Zelda. “We usually see a handful of people visiting the cemetery [Read More...]

“Gatsby,” great and otherwise

With all the attention being lavished on the new adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” I was reminded of a visit I paid to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave a couple years ago — and my bemusement at finding there a bottle, a glass and a book (see above.) The grave, at St. Marcy’s Catholic Church in [Read More...]

Man spends four years writing out the Bible by hand

Wow:  A man in upstate New York has just about finished a task that was common enough until the invention of the printing press: Over the past four years, he has copied the King James Bible by hand, the Associated Press reports. Phillip Patterson, a 63-year-old resident of Philmont, N.Y., a town near the Massachusetts border, may [Read More...]

How is Catholicism like politics?

E.J. Dionne has some interesting answers in the Washington Post today, and draws insight from Fr. Timothy Radcliffe: The conflict goes back to competing reactions to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council inaugurated in the 1960s by Pope John XXIII. The relevant camps — Radcliffe describes them in his 2005 book, “What Is the [Read More...]

What about the pope’s last, unfinished encyclical?

His planned trilogy on the theological virtues will remain, it seems, incomplete.  Catholic News Service has some interesting background:  In December, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said that Pope Benedict’s fourth encyclical would be released in the first half of 2013. Treating the subject of faith, the encyclical would complete a trilogy on [Read More...]

Yes, it’s still Christmas

The lights are still ablaze in Princeton, New Jersey, where I stepped into St. Paul’s Church Thursday night and encountered the glorious scene above. The church was just lovely. Thanks to Msgr. Joseph Rosie, Deacon Jim Knipper and the wonderful folks at St. Paul’s for their hospitality and warm welcome in support of “Hungry and You [Read More...]