The Church and Gays: No Earthly Reason

Yesterday morning, ten LGBT-rights activists gathered outside St. Patrick’s cathedral for Mass and found themselves, so to speak, stonewalled. They were warned — first by New York City police officers, then by a cathedral functionary — that they would face criminal trespassing charges if they tried to enter. But the ten had more than liturgy [Read More...]

This Week in the Military: Duelling Moral Panic

Military Religious Freedom Foundation head Mikey Weinstein takes pains to remind fellow Americans that he’s a Republican. There’s no need. He sounds just like one, or anyway, like some talk-radio character who thinks the GOP went soft when Reagan’s promise to outlaw Russia turned out to be a joke. Granted, his targets are a little [Read More...]

The Limits of Companionship

In a piece on her Sexual Authenticity blog, Melinda Selmys calls loneliness and isolation “the most common cause of sexual sin.” In many respects, Selmys’ piece is wonderful — a real breath of fresh air. Unusually for a Catholic writer, she focuses on sexual sinners’ subjective sense of well-being, their happiness. Also somewhat off-script, she [Read More...]

Confessions of A Wannabe Chechen

Some people are wannabe Chechens. In actual fact, they could be Kurds, Azeris, Tajiks, Sandžak Turks, or members of almost any other group with a small or still-nascent homeland, a big diaspora, and maybe an historic chip on its shoulder. According to Robert Schaefer, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and author of The Insurgency [Read More...]

Now Thank We All Our God

In the Boston suburb of Watertown, law-enforcement officers have killed marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and captured Dzokhar, his fellow suspect and younger brother. Following a carjacking, a “rolling gun battle” (as the Yahoo! News puts it) that left an MIT police officer dead and a transit officer wounded, and a house-by-house search of a [Read More...]

Fun with Muslims

Mr. D. was choking. Clutching his throat and gagging, he mananged to spit out a single word in his native Urdu: Pani. I don’t speak Urdu — not even “Up yours.” But that one word was enough to trigger a literary association. As Mr. D’s face turned the color of a blood orange, I remembered [Read More...]

For the Love of Conspiracy Theorists

Though not religious in any conventional way, Rick, my best friend, believes strongly in a personal, capital-D Devil. This Devil of Rick’s has a lot of say in world affairs. Through a loyal cadre of mortals who have made a bad trade on their souls, he runs Proctor and Gamble, Capitol Records, and even Nickelodeon. [Read More...]

Kermit Gosnell and the Bursting Bubble

On LifeNews, Jill Stanek offers a good summary of the media establishent’s recent come-to-Jesus moment. Thanks to pro-life activists and social media, a number of very high-profile journalists are lining up to admit that, yeah, they ought to have paid more attention to the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. With prosecutors painting a mural of [Read More...]

But They Couldn’t Call Her A Kike

In 2005, Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier slain in Iraq, was becoming the official face of the antiwar movement. The profundity of her loss and the sincerity of her bereavement made her moral authority seem, for a time, unassailable. Then Christopher Hitchens spotted, or thought he spotted, a crack in her armor. In an [Read More...]

A Prayer for Suicides

On Friday morning, Matthew Warren, son of Saddleback Valley Community Church pastor and Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren, died from what Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies describe as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Pastor Warren has called his son’s suicide the culmination of “mental illness resulting in deep depression.” Yesterday, Tom McDonald, of the God in the [Read More...]

Broken Silence

On Saturday afteroons, there’s a special stillness in the air of churches, a vacuum like a collective holding of breath that contrasts favorably with the outside weekend buzz. With the electric lights catching a break and the stained-glass windows granting some vent to Brother Sun, brightness and gloom split their differences, settling in the end [Read More...]

In Praise of the Carnival

As soon as I stepped out of my apartment Easter morning, I saw my upstairs neighbor, Consuelo, relaxing on her balcony. She and I have worked out a barter economy, cigarettes being the chief commodity. I asked if she could spare one, and she tossed one down. As she did, she asked, “Where are you [Read More...]

An Act of Kindness

I’m in the habit of keeping my front door open, at least a few inches. Mainly, I do it for the sake of the fresh air, but among other fringe benefits, this constant accessibility to the world has widenend my social network. Rusty the Cat aside, there’s a Somali guy who asked my help in [Read More...]

Why I’m Catholic, in 200 Words

This morning, I received a copy of an e-mail from Elizabeth Scalia, inviting all the writers of the Catholic Portal to explain why we’re Catholic. Here’s why I became Catholic in the first place: I’m a fuckup. After earning a degree and a half from a third-rate university, I figured I’d never lead a life [Read More...]

Come Back, Magdi Allam!

I’m still hoping that Pope Francis’ election won’t serve as the starting gun in a race out the Church doors, the finish line being sects and denominations that seem somehow less Francis-like. But if my hopes on that score do end up dashed, that race is already won, with Magdi Allam claiming the gold. Allam, [Read More...]

Keep it Simple…For Now?

One day in the agora, tradition has it, Diogenes passed a group of spiffily dressed Athenians and dismissed their finery as “mere affectation.” A little later, a group of Spartans wearing homespun and noble, haunted expressions impressed him no better. “More affectation,” he said, and stomped on home to his jug. I think of this [Read More...]


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