“Chesterton was married? I didn’t know that.”

Here’s an intriguing glimpse at a side of the celebrated writer’s life that many may not know about, from Nancy Carpentier Brown: G.K. Chesterton is perhaps the most famous writer of the 20th Century, and yet we still know very little about him and his family life. One of the reasons is because his wife [Read More…]

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Thank you, William Zinsser

When I was in college—wearing pretentious tweed caps and drinking gallons of bad coffee and sneering at freshmen while fancying myself a writer—there were two books that were always close at hand: Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” and “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. They held the keys that unlocked the treasure chest of [Read More…]

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What a small town obituary writer learned about living

This is something to read and share—and, I suspect, there is abundant material here for a good homily. From Huffington Post: In the healthiest sense possible, Heather Lende has an intimate relationship with death. She is the longtime obituary writer in her small Alaska hometown of Haines, having memorialized some 400 departed locals, neighbors, friends. She volunteers [Read More…]

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Bringing it all back to Jesus

Writer (and former Paulist priest) James Carroll offers his thoughts on what’s ailing the Catholic Church in Sunday’s New York Times: Sometimes, when I kneel alone in a pew in the far back shadows of a church, face buried in my hands, a forbidden thought intrudes: You should have left all this behind a long time [Read More…]

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Flannery O’Connor added to American Poet’s Corner at Episcopal cathedral

Details:  The writer Flannery O’Connor was inducted into The American Poet’s Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014. The induction ceremony included a traditional Choral Evensong featuring excerpts from O’Connor’s writing and reflections on the religious implications of her work. A procession led the assembled congregation, [Read More…]

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What we have come to: language blogger fired for writing about “homophones”

Really:  Homophones, as any English grammarian can tell you, are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as be and bee, through and threw, which and witch, their and there. This concept is taught early on to foreign students learning English because it can be confusing to [Read More…]

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“These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc”

Incredibly, this Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Which means this marks the 30th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s remarkable speech commemorating that event. Written by Peggy Noonan—using the skills she honed writing at CBS News Radio—it still stands the test of time. Radio writers like to talk about how their medium occupies [Read More…]

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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…]

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The peculiar Catholicism of Roger Ebert

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic takes note of recent papal news, waxes nostalgically about his Catholic upbringing (complete with Dominican nuns) and then concludes: I consider myself Catholic, lock, stock and barrel, with this technical loophole: I cannot believe in God. I refuse to call myself an atheist, however, because that indicates too great a [Read More…]

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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…]

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