Miley Cyrus and the Wisdom of Repugnance

Making the rounds on Facebook is a photo of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and their children taken while they watched Miley Cyrus perform at the Video Music Awards. Everyone looks aghast. Jaden, the son, is wincing like a man who feels a lamb vindaloo dinner coming back to haunt him. This much is [Read More...]

What Bottum Got Right

Joseph Bottum’s essay, “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Gay Marriage,” is long. Very long. On its way to and from its point, that preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage “ought to come low on [the Church's] list of priorities,” it zigs and zags — from Bottum’s personal history, through recent Supreme Court [Read More...]

In Praise of Light

In In Praise of Shadow, Junichiro Tanizaki…well, praises shadow. He likes how partial darkness creates ambiguity that lets his imagination romp off leash. Tanizaki even prefers his food dark. Eat yokan, or red bean paste, in a dark room from a dark lacquer dish, and “it is as if the very darkness of the room [Read More...]

Rest Among the Catholic Doodads

The Catholic Doodad Shop — not its real name — stands kitty-corner from the L.A. Fitness where I work out. It’s also about two miles northwest of the Pima reservation where I buy my tax-free cigarettes. (Though I’ve driven my monthly intake down below a carton, I still consider the discount worth the hike, even [Read More...]

The Hidden Blessings of a Feminist Mother

Rod Dreher thinks Lynn Messina’s a bad mother, and he thinks that’s a hoot. In the New York Times’ Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting blog, Messina, a YA novelist, complains that her 4-year-old’s preschool teacher lets the girls cut ahead of the boys on the line to the bathroom every day before naptime. “A gentleman lets [Read More...]

The Day the Pope Said ‘Gay’

Fielding questions from the press on his way home from World Youth Day, Pope Francis skirted the issue of whether or not a “gay lobby” exists in the Vatican. His expression of support for Institutional Works of Religion prelate Monsignor Battista Ricca, who stands accused of carrying on affairs with men while representing the Vatican [Read More...]

Darn Tootin’ Pope Francis Is A Liberal

Last month, Elizabeth Scalia, my managing editor, proposed a moratorium on “liberal,” “conservative,” and suchlike labels in discussions of intra-Church divisions. I’ve been a good boy ever since, but Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. In an interview with National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen, Jr., he remarked that people on “the [Read More...]

Deluge

The clouds, low-hanging and swollen, were spilling in from the east and purpling the sky over South Mountain and Ahwatukee. They didn’t concern me, though. Phoenix monsoons tend to be parochial affairs, showering one neighborhood while leaving others dry, if slightly sandblasted. Walking west on Van Buren Street, I judged myself and my route to [Read More...]

How It Feels to Be Received Like Christ

The first thing I noticed about the vocational discernment retreat was the median age of the guests, which I estimated at 65. Then I saw the girl in the wheelchair. I couldn’t put a name to her disability, but her legs appeared withered or stunted, and she was wearing child-sized shoes. Her hands, though normal-sized, [Read More...]

Francis’ Pontificate: No Rest for the Aesthetic-Minded?

Pope Francis Article at Huffington Post You’ve got to hand it to Katrina Fernandez. Yesterday on the Crescat blog, she really nails her colors — and spangles, and sequins, and possibly feathers — to the mast. Sighing that the baroque gewgaws Pope Francis has consigned to storage “spiritually feed me” and have “meaning…that I need [Read More...]

Renunciations

For the better part of last month, my brain wouldn’t work. Well, maybe that’s putting it a little strongly. Stout, loyal organ that it is, it went on functioning at a primitive level, linking names and faces, recognizing days of the week and colors, reminding me when it was time to use the bathroom and [Read More...]

Learning to Read Chesterton

A couple of days ago, in drawing a contrast to Pope Francis, National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters remarks that Philadelphia Archbishop Chaput may love God, but often seems not to like people. I see his point. It’s easy to imagine Chaput, for all his good qualities, starting each day by spelling out A-N-A-T-H-E-M-A in [Read More...]

The Witness of Mary Elizabeth Williams

Salon staffer Mary Elizabeth Williams calls herself “a gay-friendly, feminist, pro-choice, bigmouthed practicing Catholic.” In two weeks, she expects to watch as her older daughter is confirmed in the faith. In an essay published yesterday, she dissects her motives and expectations. In the Catholic press, the conflicted or cafeteria Catholic is most often represented as [Read More...]

How’s That “Culture of Encounter” Workin’ for Ya?

On Wednesday, May 22, Pope Francis called on Catholics and non-Catholics to build a “culture of encounter,” in which members of the opposing camps “meet one another doing good.” Apparently stealing a page from Fr. Z, he addressed some of his remarks to a caviling, composite EveryCatholic: The Lord created us in His image and [Read More...]

My Mother: Muse and Proxy Fighter

Last Thursday at the office, right in the middle of her work day, my mother received an urgent phone call. “Hey, Mom,” the caller began. “I know you’re busy running the ESOL program and compiling that annual review where your students write about being trapped in mudslides and bitten by mongeese and beaten with sjamboks [Read More...]

The Passion of Mr. B: A Salute to Bad Teachers

In honor of National Teacher Day, which was Tuesday, May 7, Slate is running an article titled “What’s the Worst Thing A Teacher Ever Said to You?” The staff writers who weigh in think they’ve got some doozies. One teacher told Matt Yglesias that Native Americans make up “a subset of yellow people.” A gym [Read More...]


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