Herman Cain: One Freaky Dude?

After some impressive displays of loyalty, a segment of the Republican base is losing patience with Herman Cain. A Reuters/ipsos poll conducted several days after the media reported allegations that Cain had sexually harassed former employees showed the percentage of Republicans who viewed him favorably had dropped to 57% from 66%. A 53% majority of [Read More...]

Between Heaven and Mirth…and Snark

I’m proud to report that my patron and heavenly protector, St. Francis de Sales, delivered the best one-liner in Church history since Jesus did his bit about the egg and the scorpion. On seeing his friend St. Jeanne-Francoise de Chantal, a consecrated celibate following her widowhood, in a decolletee gown, he advised, “If you’re not [Read More...]

Lego Advent Calendar

All right, you happy culture warriors, keep your powder dry. Wait until Thanksgiving before you start kvetching about how Christmas is turning back into Saturnalia. Better yet, wait until you check out the Lego Advent calendar. It’s fun, it’s liturgical year-friendly. One sells on Amazon for $38 — almost exactly what a carton of Pall [Read More...]

Herman Cain: the Candidate Who Cried “Liberal Racism”

Apparently, Iowans don’t give a hoot whether or not Herman Cain has ever sexually harassed anyone. A Washington Post poll reports that Cain’s popularity nearly matches Mitt Romney’s, at a rate of 23 percent to 24 percent. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Republicans have stated that the allegations will make no difference in their choice of [Read More...]

The Catholic Pundits Drinking Game

According to a recovery protocol I just made up, when a person is rounding out his seventh straight week of sobriety, he can get nostalgic about his old life. Last week, while writing my weekly Patheos column, it occurred to me that Catholic writers tend to reach for certain stock phrases and fall into other [Read More...]

Lesson from Obama’s HHS: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

St. Teresa of Avila is reported to have snapped at God: “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.” This is a point the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops could, with some justification, toss in the teeth of the Obama administration, now that the body has been denied [Read More...]

Off to the Eye Doctor

Hey, gang. Originally, I had scheduled an eye doctor appointment for last Wednesday. I ended up breaking it and re-scheduling for today. Since there’s only so much re-scheduling a man can do in good taste, I’ve decided to keep this appointment. Wish me luck! Will resume blogging on the morrow. Your pal and humble narrator, [Read More...]

The Accents of Holiness

I thought all Irish-born American priests were dead and gone, surviving solely on celluloid — until last Sunday, that is. Then, for the first time, I heard a real, live brogue trilling from the pulpit. I can’t trace it to any particular city or county, although I’m sure it came from somewhere in the southern [Read More...]

Qadaffi, Video, and the Magic of Martyrdom

If you’re going to kill a bad man, you might as well put on a show. As I understand it, that’s the thesis Simon Sebeg Motefiore pushes in his recent New York Times essay on the death of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Qadaffi, whose killers recorded their handiwork for posterity on their cell phones. If [Read More...]

Cardinal Turkson: Beyond Wall Street

By now, it’s been pretty well established that “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” the document issued Monday by the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, is not binding on the simple faithful. Anyone who disagrees with its proposal for new regulations on the global economy, [Read More...]

Vatican to Main Street, U.S.A.: The (Tea) Party’s Over

Poor Bill Donahue. The Catholic League president has made it his mission to rebut any prominent evangelical pastor who identifies the pope with the Antichrist — a tough job, even in the best of times. Today’s pronouncement from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace should make him want to clone himself. It’ll take at [Read More...]

Why All My Facebook Friends Are Right-Wingers

In an essay for Salon’s “Life Stories” section, Kim Brooks asks: “Is my Facebook page a liberal echo chamber?” Her answer: yes. She made this discovery after friending an old high-school chum, a marching band veteran she remembers as pleasant and quiet — never the type to affix cattle horns to the hood of his [Read More...]

For Today’s Kids, Is Playtime Over?

You know that childhood play has become a serious business when there’s a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to studying it. According to an article in the Atlantic, the Journal of Play reports, with all due gravitas, that kids have been playing with decreasing frequency since 1955. The disappearance of playtime is making it more difficult for [Read More...]

Lacrosse: Sport of the North American Martyrs

Rugby is a gentleman’s sport played by savages; lacrosse is a savage’s sport played by gentlemen. Don’t ask me where I first heard that formula — it works best as a nugget of bona fide sports folk wisdom, an aphorism too perfect even for Yogi Berra to have coined. Brazenly racist, elitist and sexist — [Read More...]

Just Kidding!

The humor concocted in parish kitchens can aim surprisingly low. One afternoon in December of 2009, I was hanging around, helping someone do something, when the the subject of upcoming changes to the diocesan marriage prep program arose. As is often the case with Church scuttlebutt, nobody had a very clear idea what was coming, [Read More...]

Cartoons and the Pious Mind

James Thurber claimed that he first gained a sense of the surreal from hearing the cliches of his neighbors and family in Columbus, Ohio. In the world of his childish mind, men left town under actual clouds, and women existed who were literally all ears. Hearing about Mrs. Huston, who was all cut up when [Read More...]


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