The Catholic Liberal’s Lament

Is Obama a moron, or evil Lord Sauron? Here Catholic opinion’s divided: His accomodations of abominations Are being quite roundly derided. With bowdlerized cusses, George Weigel now fusses O’er relativists and their schemes. “No way” from Chaput creates great ado; Defiance becomes the new meme. Scalia, so sorely, sings “Roddy McCorley” And stirs up the [Read More...]

“She Made Opera out of Oprah”

When I was an undergrad, I sometimes chanced to meet up in the Student Recreation Complex weight room with a kid named Raul. Raul suffered from what I now realize was Tourette’s syndrome, snorting and jerking his head in mid-sentence before going on to complete his thoughts. Spotting him on the bench or military press [Read More...]

Obama’s Compromise: Something for Everyone?

Here’s an old joke: Sometime in the 1930s, one Jew spots another Jew scanning an issue of Der Stürmer, the Nazi party’s official newspaper. He asks, “How come you’re reading that trash?” “Well,” says his friend, “all the Jewish papers talk about is how we’re being beaten up and oppressed. This one says we control [Read More...]

Trojan War A-Comin’?

In the battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Catholics are sitting on a string of small victories. Richard Doerflinger of the Bishop’s Conference’s Secretariat on Pro-Life Activities has declared compromise a no sale. For every pundit defending President Obama outright — as Salon’s Joan Walsh does when she calls on Catholics to [Read More...]

Make Way for Castro…on the Communion Line?

The international rumor mill has it that Fidel Castro — El Jefe, El Commandante, or El Barbudo, to those who know him best — will be returning to the Catholic fold during Pope Benedict’s upcoming visit to Cuba. According to a post on GetReligion.org, the “anti-clerical” Italian paper La Republicca is claiming Castro has “turned [Read More...]

M.I.A. and Randall Terry: Co-Victors

There’s a strange symmetry between British singer M.I.A. and pro-life activist Randall Terry. Both have dedicated their careers, to one degree or another, to raising awareness of genocide. In her songs and videos, M.I.A. (born Maya Arulpragasam) refers to the repression of her people, Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority, at the hands of the nation’s Sinhalese [Read More...]

Catholics and the War on Football

When it comes to football and its risks, writes Ken Briggs in National Catholic Reporter, Catholic scholars may be caught in a spiral of silence. Briggs finds that a sampling of these scholars, while believing “the medical hazards exposed by the research raise serious questions” about the wisdom of continuing the game, has chosen to [Read More...]

Here Comes Everybody? Don’t Bet on It

According to an old aphorism, a little anti-Semitism is good for Jews. Since the Obama administration announced the guidelines for its Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a new consensus has emerged that a little anti-Catholicism is good for Catholics. On its blog, the USCCB proudly declares “a true ‘here comes everybody’ moment,” and dsplays [Read More...]

Stepping out on a Patron Saint

I totally spaced my patron saint’s feast day. Indeed, I might have gone all day without being any the wiser, but some friends posted clues to my Facebook wall. One, a video commemorating the fourth centennary of the founding of the Order of the Visitation, just made me go, “Mm. Very nice for the, er, [Read More...]

Cigarettes: The End of the Affair?

Maybe I should make like Mark Wahlberg (whose brother, Donnie, I was said in happier times to resemble) and mark the end of my youth by getting my tattoos lasered away. But — nah. They’re not hurting anyone. At least one of them, a cross formed by the title of Pushkin’s poem “Ne dai mne, [Read More...]

A Fine New Place for Feeding

Joanne McPortland is one of those very rare, too-modest writers who deserves to be read more than she actually wants to be read. For the sake of Catholic letters’ good name, I am going to drag her, kicking and screaming, into my own small sliver of the limelight. By the age of 60, Joanne’s made [Read More...]

Callista Gingrich: Sign of the Times?

James Dobson, scourge of Spongebob and the Teletubbies, has found a live target. Speaking this weekend at a conference in Texas, he condemned Callista Gingrich as “a mistress for eight years.” Karen Santorum, who “set aside two professional careers to raise those seven children,” he said, would “make a fabulous first lady role model.” Dobson’s [Read More...]

To Gingrich: A Little Less Honesty on Race, Please

The people in my mother’s family, on the whole, have always been warm-hearted, decent and tolerant. But the 1968 Trenton riots threw two or three into a state of race paranoia. They weren’t in that state all alone, either. My mother’s boss, a middle-aged insurance man who’d never in his life shot anything but the [Read More...]

Tim Tebow: Nice Guy Becomes Clanging Symbol

Say whatever you like about Tim Tebow — and my friend, the Broncos fan, says a lot, not much of it good — the man is a regular Colorado gold rush for bloggers and pundits. Three days ago, in exchange for six lines of copy, a two-paragraph block quote and a link, the Friendly Atheist [Read More...]

Twenty at 40?

Today I turned 40. No longer will I be eligible to enlist in the French Foreign Legion. For any broader meaning, I’m stumped. The bromide “40 is the New 30″ — which would have started looking mighty wise about now no matter what — may reflect a scientific reality. People are living longer, so middle [Read More...]

Readers and Writers on Social Media: In Each Other’s Heads

A few months ago, Peggy Noonan made my day — my whole week, in fact — by accepting my Facebook friendship request. I’d always thought she was a good soul and a true lady. I looked forward to reading status updates like “Just threw on my jammies. Am sitting up with a glass of Merlot, [Read More...]


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