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...]

Herman Cain Betrays Smokers

For a while there, it looked like the Cain campaign bus was headed for a Passenger 57 moment. No, I don’t mean doubters would soon be given to understand that they should, in the words of the Wesley Snipes character, always bet on black. Rather, there emerged the possibility that the candidate would seize each [Read More...]

How Halloween Turned Me into A Godawful Misogynist

For the men’s movement, the proprietors of the Chateau Heartiste blog serve as a pack of John the Baptists, proclaiming that the Kingdom of Woman is at hand. Thanks to overly liberated, “hypergamous,” women and laws that may force men to pay child support for children they did not, in fact, sire, the mating game [Read More...]

To Find Redeeming Value in the Crucifix

In The Tower, news site of the Catholic University of America, Travis Bichoso makes an excellent case why building a non-sectarian worship space for Muslim students would be a wonderful gesture of interfaith good will. The five-times-daily prayer obligation presents Muslims with serious challenges. To meet them, many “find empty classrooms, or maybe a corner [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...]

Snob in a Sacred Space

I can’t believe I’m saying this openly, but last Sunday, for the first time ever, the Novus Ordo Mass started looking cheesy. My reaction did not reflect any evolution in my liturgical tastes: the previous week, I’d fled a church whose ambience was wound so tightly that I expected the priest and altar servers to [Read More...]

The Cain Mutiny

The acronym TINA — There Is No Other Alternative — may explain Herman Cain’s recent surge in the polls. As far as the Republican base is concerned, Rick Perry’s mandatory vaccinations and his provision of in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants put him in the same RINO pen with Mitt Romney. Quick — [Read More...]

The Church, the Dirty War and Taking Bad News

Argentina’s Guerra Sucia, or Dirty War, didn’t get that name by accident. From 1976, when a military junta seized control of the government, until 1983, when the country’s National Reorganization Process held general elections, thousands of citizens — some claim as many as 30,000 — were made to disappear. Argentina’s Commission on the Disappearance of [Read More...]