The Bull of Gubbio

A priest I used to know hated St. Francis bird baths. He was Italian-American; judging by his stature and complexion, his ancestors hailed from one of those places south of Naples that the American popular imagination was once quick to associate with malaria and the mob. His rejection of Franciscan kitsch, then, might have formed [Read More...]

The Science of Saintly Mashups

Something frivolous. A mashup, according to Wiki, is “a work of fiction which combines a pre-existing text, often a classic work of fiction, with a certain popular genre.” If you translate the catchphrase from those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials into cultural terms — “You got your schlock in my classic!” “No, you got [Read More...]

The Boy Magdalen

It always tickled me that Oscar Wilde and Maria Goretti share a birthday. (It’s October 16, which makes them both Libras — horribly fitting when you consider how both of them, in their various ways, ended up in court.) The two make such a study in contrasts as to beggar the imagination: one sprawling, sensual [Read More...]