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...]

Martin Sheen: Broken, Bowed and Happy

Making Apocalypse Now pulled Martin Sheen into the heart of his own personal darkness. His latest project, The Way, the story of a bereaved father making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, stirs memories of his countermarch back toward the light. If the film turns out to be half as moving as this [Read More...]

What Price Perfection?

John Belushi and Humphrey Bogart were born too late. On the other hand, if you’re reading this, and haven’t yet died of lung cancer, or from shooting up a speedball, you might be right on time. According to the New York Times, researchers at San Diego’s Scripps Institute are planning work on a vaccine that [Read More...]

The Renaissance of the Man-Cuddle?

I hadn’t been in Russia twelve hours before some guy kissed me on the neck. Having flown into Sheremeteevo Airport early in the morning, I checked into the hostel where my study group was to be quartered and spent the afternoon sightseeing. Upon returning early that evening, I discovered that — providentially — someone had [Read More...]

How to End Illegal Immigration

School officials in Alabama are reporting a sudden disappearance of Hispanic students. The Associated Press reports that some parents said they planned to leave the state “to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.” Like that old joke about 100,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, this is [Read More...]

Wanted for Baseball: A Strong Pope

To all appearances, the Boston Red Sox broke their curse once and for all during the 2004 World Series, when they took the Cardinals in four straight games. Now, in view of Boston’s late loss to Baltimore, some are saying that the hoodoo is still very much operational and under warranty. In Slate, Brian Palmer [Read More...]

Beware the Coach with An Artistic Temperament

High school football just went gothic. After Marcellus High’s junior varsity squad lost a game, head coach Jim Marsh ordered the team bus to stop at a local cemetery. Exactly what happened next is still subject to dispute, but some are claiming Marsh used this visit to the abode of the dead as the backdrop [Read More...]


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