In Support of Deacon Greg

This past week, Deacon Greg Kandra announced that he’s closing down comments on his site for an indefinite period. As his junior colleague at Patheos, I want him to know I understand that move and support it wholeheartedly. It’s amazing to see the things Greg goes through over at the Deacon’s Bench. In my month [Read More...]

The Magic of Family Entertainment

One Friday evening when I was about eight, my mother came home and announced that Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, recently re-released, had opened at a theater on 57th street, a little over a mile away. If we started walking that very minute, we could just catch it. It was an indescribably tense moment. On one [Read More...]

Why Michelle Bachmann is No Fun to Pick On

Sarah Palin spoiled the media. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say she spoiled the public, who spoiled the media with their patronage whenever they covered her. In either case, the woman was endlessly fascinating. From that line in her 2008 RNC convention speech about not seeking the media’s good opinion, she assumed a fighting [Read More...]

Evangelical Lutherans: Pope is Antichrist, Okay Guy

In yesterday’s Atlantic, Joshua Green reports that the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, which Michelle Bachmann attended for many years, teaches that the papacy is the Antichrist. Let me be the first to say, “Whatever.” The doctrine isn’t nearly as threatening as it sounds. To Green’s credit, he took the trouble to call synod communications director [Read More...]

No Homophobia? Okay. No Communism, Either

What do you do when both sides are tossing rhetorical bombs? Aside from ducking, the only thing is to try to defuse them. The best way to do that is to try to demonstrate how little relation each side’s words bear to reality.. Last week, in National Review Online, George Weigel accused Washington Post columnist [Read More...]

Malta: Nantucket with Flying Skulls

“If you’ve spent any time thinking about a chivalric order lately…” With these words do Happy Menocal and John Swansburg open their Slate piece on Malta and its guardian knights. Surely it wasn’t meant to, but the phrasing makes me think of an ad for a private school. All too easily, I can imagine the [Read More...]

Bring on the Dirt!

What a prince Bill Keller is. In reviewing John Julius Norwich’s Absolute Monarchs, he warns that this “rollicking narrative” featuring “265 popes (plus various usurpers and anti­popes), feral hordes of Vandals, Huns and Visigoths, expansionist emperors, Byzantine intriguers, Borgias and Medicis, heretic zealots, conspiring clerics, bestial inquisitors and more” might not appeal to “devout Catholics.” [Read More...]

The Dover Boys: Mindless Filler ‘Cause I’m Tired

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I wrote a crapload today. If I found the English language in a dark alley, I’d beat the living daylights out of it. Here’s a silly cartoon instead: [Read more...]

Scolding the Scolds, Cuddling the Curmudgeons

Yesterday, a friend and I were talking about a columnist whose work she esteems to a point, but which I find insufferable. If I’m being fair, I have to admit that this person has a lot to recommend him. He oozes integrity and wears diligence and passion like a set of (tastefully understated) cufflinks. If [Read More...]

Who Is John Galt? John Corapi, Of Course!

Yesterday, I noted approvingly that Fr. Gerard Sheehan, Fr. John Corapi’s SOLT superior, condemned Corapi in fairly plain English, rather than in the sort of obfuscatory Church-speak that once made John Allen, Jr. liken l’Osservatore Romano to Pravda. It seems to be contagious. Today, Corapi issued his rebuttal. No longer is he talking in terms [Read More...]

The Patron Saint of Celebrity Crime Casualties

A word to the wise: don’t ask NCR’s Michael Sean Winters if he’s been keeping up with the Casey Anthony case. He’ll probably tell you something along these lines: I refused to watch a single moment of the Casey Anthony trial. I refused to watch a single news story about the trial. This took some [Read More...]

Why the World Loves A Ham

In considering Fr. Corapi’s appeal, Fr. Dwight Longenecker makes the point that sanctity and flamboyance are easy to conflate — fatally so. The truly devout and holy are easy to miss, and often prefer it that way: It’s nauseating. Stop and consider that the real saints are hidden. They follow the little way. If you [Read More...]

Corapi and Fightin’ Words

“It’s not a fight, honey. It’s a disagreement.” Have you ever spoken thus to your kid when she caught you and your spouse circling each other with butcher knives? If so, you should consider drafting official statements for the Church. When it comes to conflict resolution, no one’s jargon is gummier or windier. Pope Benedict [Read More...]

Editors Are People, Too

. Back when people actually had valets, it was a truism that nobody could be a hero to his own. From that it must follow that no spiritual writer is holy in his editor’s eyes. Certainly, that’s the first impression I got from reading Orbis Books publisher Robert Ellsberg’s essay on editing Henri Nouwen. To [Read More...]

With New Fertility Techniques, Middle Class Becomes its Own Grandpa

Today’s New York Times reports that families who obtain children through new and unconventional means are finding themselves flummoxed when it comes to defining relationships: When Ms. Ashmore and her husband, Lee, learned a few years ago that they could not conceive a child, Ms. Williams stepped in and offered to become pregnant with a [Read More...]

Four Cool Things About Cardinal Scola

An old Catholic axiom holds that whoever enters the conclave a papabile, leaves a cardinal. If that’s true, what happens to ranking churchmen who are touted as papabile before the current pope so much as comes down with the sniffles? Nothing too bad, I hope. A startling number of Catholic pundits are pinning the Church’s [Read More...]


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