Who the Blank is Leah Libresco?

You know you’re hopelessely out of touch when a blog post manages to go viral without containing a single word you can make sense of. At a tender age of 24 hours, former atheist blogger Leah Libresco’s announcement that she’s joined an RCIA class in preparation for baptism is standing on 12,700 Facebook shares. Plus [Read More...]

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“I Wish I Could Quit You”

Last week, National Catholic Reporter published an essay by Joe Orso titled “The Power of the Dying Hierarchy Is An Illusion.” With lines comparing the Church leadership to a dying dragon and an impotent old man, it’s a challenging read, and easy to mistake for a rant. But Orso’s main point, that the Vatican and [Read More...]

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Of Mothers, Muppets and Sr. Margaret Farley

Maybe because she grew up hearing the Tridentine Mass daily, my mother has always had a passion for order that verged on the fetishistic. She could no more tolerate chaos than God can the presence of sin. If, say, I plucked her copy of Fear of Flying off the coffee table and failed to set [Read More...]

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The Paranoid Style of Church Politics

In 2010, InsideCatholic.com director Deal W. Hudson asked, “Is It Time for A Catholic Tea Party?” Whatever the answer might have been then, today it seems to be “Yes,” but on terms very different from those Hudson envisioned. Instead of a grassroots movement pressuring the Catholic bishops to marshal their authority in support of pro-life [Read More...]

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Vanity of Vanities

Some days, you just wake up to a big, wet kiss from life. This morning, when I logged on Facebook, I found a surprise waiting for me. A friend of mine, whom I will identify by his initial, T., had posted a message on my wall. It read: Max, Haha just saw some funny pictures [Read More...]

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Fr. Williams and the Grind of Celibacy

They say you know you’re getting old when cops start looking like kids. I say you catch your first whiff of your own grave-dirt when priests start looking like kids. This first occurred to me two years ago, when I attended an ordination ceremony for three new priests of the Diocese of Phoenix. One, whom [Read More...]

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Fair Play for the Girl Scouts!

A friend of mine, actually one of my old parish’s most accomplished busybodies, once talked her way into the hotel room of a 1950′s rock guitarist when he was performing in the Phoenix area. Her goal — her sole goal — was to get the legend’s autograph for a friend of hers. After sizing my [Read More...]

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Sendak’s Not-so-Wild Things

Researching last week’s piece on tattooing revived somewhat my old interest in Polynesian culture. With no pig to stick or roast, I had to indulge my enthusiasm the virtual way — by watching a YouTube clip in which a mixed group of Maoris performs a war chant. The effect was suitably horrifying. The performers managed [Read More...]

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Life After Sex?

Yesterday, at the Crescat blog, Katrina Fernandez wrote that nobody has ever died from not having sex. Initially, her statement struck me as a bit reductive. No, the body doesn’t need sex in the same way it needs food and water, but it does appreciate sex — so much so that it’ll thank people for [Read More...]

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In Defense of Tattoos

Several years ago, a friend of mine covered his enormous tricep with a portrait of his parents. On the whole, it was a good tattoo, even if the black-and-white fine-line work did resemble a style popular among inmates of Arizona’s state penitentiaries. For some reason, he’d had it superimposed on an older, cruder piece — [Read More...]

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Mark Shea and the Gay Saint

Mark Shea’s May 1 column, the one in which he informally canonizes the late Perry Lorenzo, might not qualify as a revolutionary act. But it will, I think, represent something — a subtle but important tonal shift in the intra-Church conversation on homosexuality. If Mark himself doubted his column represented something new, he probably wouldn’t [Read More...]

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A Confession About Confessions

It’s a shame I wasn’t in a church with an open confessional last Saturday. I would very much like to have seen the look on the priest’s face when I told him, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been…oh, about 15 minutes since my last confession.” It’s not that I’d committed any fresh [Read More...]

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The Best Hippy-Dippy Catholic Movie Ever

A naked blonde lies staked to the ground, straddled by a man who means to insult her, in the Victorian sense of the word. Gulping back terror, she warns her assailant that if he goes through with his plan, she’ll make sure he goes to jail for the rest of his life. Even in her [Read More...]

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The Prophecy of Sister Laurie

Many observers have a hard time believing that the LCWR really was “stunned,” as it has claimed, by the results of the CDF’s recent doctrinal assessment. In the past, after all, women religious leaders made no bones about mistrusting Rome. Claiming Our Truth, published by the LCWR in 1988, predicted: “fidelity to society and church [Read More...]

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How to Eat Like A Loser and Love It

Years ago, on a discussion board, someone started a thread titled: “What are your food confessions?” Broadly, the title meant: “What favorite dishes are you afraid to claim in polite company?” As so often happens, respondents seized on the call to confess as an excuse to show off. Responses ran along the lines of: “Gator’s [Read More...]

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Memories of A Man I’ll Call “Eddie”

Last night I learned another friend had fallen sick. This time, the illness was lymphoma. When I got the news, he was already in the ICU, hooked up to all sorts of things that go beep in the night. This morning, I learned he’d died. In calling this man a friend, I exaggerate a little. [Read More...]

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