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

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 to experience through my senses,” she [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...]

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...]


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