Amends: A Novel, Reviewed

Eve Tushnet’s debut novel, Amends, is a novel of ideas – the ideas she’s been working out in bits and pieces through her essays. It’s an ambitious and risky project but Eve mostly pulls it off. At last raising the bushel from her gift for shtick, she carries off a story that’s almost always engrossing, and often a real hoot.The plot: Six addicts of diverse backgrounds sign on to appear on a reality show. The show, Amends, is the brainchild of Bentley, herself a recovering addict, who aims … [Read More...]

“Jewish Schindler” Working to Liberate ISIS Sex Slaves

As of this writing, Montreal businessman Steve Maman has been instrumental in rescuing 128 women and young girls from sex slavery under the Islamic State.Maman, who has six children of his own, told the Times of Israel that the “defining moment” came for him when ISIS broadcast pictures of caged children in orange prisoner jumpsuits being menaced by a man holding a flamethrower. “I said to myself, ‘Steve, you’re going to act.’”Numbering nearly 3,000, most of them Christians and Yazidis, … [Read More...]

Wherein I Manslpain Virtue Like A Prissy Little White Knight

Long before Darren Aronofsky dreamed of casting Russell Crowe as Noah, I amused myself wondering how he would fare in the role of Jesus. Crowe is a Method actor whose ego was just then winning infamy for its Himalayan scope, so it seemed a dead cert that being addressed as “Rabbi” or “Master” by the … [Read More...]

St. Maximilian and the Two Crowns

A couple of my readers reminded me that yesterday was the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan who earned the martyr’s palm in an Auschwitz starvation bunker. At first I protested that I’m a Max, not a Maximilian, but they said it made no difference. Rather than wait for the Chu … [Read More...]

The Feast of the Assumption for the Downwardly Mobile

I almost always manage to skip Mass on the Feast of the Assumption. Although I would not swear this is the reason, the whole idea of Mary’s being assumed bodily into heaven sticks in my craw. The problem isn’t the thinness of the scriptural evidence for such an event, or the fanciful depictions, lik … [Read More...]

When the Customer Was Wrong

Like most of the stylists on the floor, she was young – probably about 22. I patronize the place mainly because, at $16 for a haircut, plus an extra $5 for a shampoo, the price is right. I can’t afford to pay a lot, and rookie hairstylists can’t afford to charge a lot. But the service is mostly go … [Read More...]

The Old Church in Tempe, AZ Needs You

The doors of St. Mary’s Church, on the corner of University and College, in Tempe, are locked. Black plastic covers the steeple. Chain-link fences surround it. Behind those fences sit backhoes and earth-movers. The place is under repair, but to the uninformed eye it might almost be under s … [Read More...]

Farther, My God, from Thee: The Life of Faith for Short People

The average American man stands 5’9 ½ tall. The average non-Hispanic white American man stands 5’10”. I measure five feet eight inches in my stocking feet. Among my own people, I may not be microscopic, or even pocket-sized, but it is beyond dispute that I am a delicately scaled-down version of wha … [Read More...]

Margie Winters: The Making of A Rebel

When I first read the story of how Waldron Mercy fired Margie Winters, a lesbian married to another woman, from her post as head of religious education, I argued that she’d been treated shabbily, and not in accordance with the best of Catholic teaching. Even so, only half aware of doing so, I f … [Read More...]

Turkish Wedding Party Feeds Syrian Multitudes

Sometimes you run across a real-life event that echoes the Gospel almost too loudly to remark on without feeling as though you’re striking the obvious note, taking the easy way out, writing that the butler did it.Consider, for example, the case of the Turkish bride and groom who transformed t … [Read More...]

ISIS Gains A New Enemy: My Former Student

If you wait long enough on a balcony overlooking the main street of a Turkish village, you might see a convoy of cars filled with exuberant young men honking their horns and shouting. Some will be brandishing small copies of the al sancak, or the flag -- blood-red, marked by a star and the waxing … [Read More...]

Israel Rules Duma Attack Terror, Indicts Two in Church Arson Attack

From Israel and the West Bank: good news and bad news. First, the good news: Israeli courts have indicted two men for last month’s arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, at Taghba. Second, the Israeli government has officially declared a similar attack in the P … [Read More...]

Planned Parenthood, Risk Management, and Divine Mercy at St. Vincent Ferrer

Today at 3:00 PM, Manhattan’s St. Vincent Ferrer Church on 66th and Lexington is hosting a “Holy Hour with Eucharistic Exposition for Mercy, Healing and Reparation.” Following the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, attendees will pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Those who can’t attend in person ca … [Read More...]

On Going to Mass in A Pissy Mood

Masses: I’ve taken ‘em high, I’ve taken ‘em low. I’ve parked my mortal coil in pews at every stop on the long road from Trent to Broadway and back again. I’ve listened to homilies delivered by mumbling mummies called forth from retirement and young fogies fresh from the seminary and still unsure wh … [Read More...]