Dear Jamie Stiehm & US News: Leave Jefferson Out of Your Know-Nothing Screed

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Image sourceIn a US News op-ed this morning, columnist Jamie Stiehm has put forth some of the most brazenly bigoted anti-Catholic crapola in this country's example-studded history of the stuff. Reactions have been immediate and pointed, with Elizabeth Scalia's "Fisking Stiehm's Bigotry at US News" the most cogent and damning.The nouveau Know Nothings have been stirring for a couple of years, but this marks a new low. It's not really surprising; the media's love affair with Pope Francis, … [Read more...]

O Key of David! Opening Wide to the Thrill of Hope

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We're all prisoners, every damn one of us. The more free we declare ourselves to be, the more restraints we chafe at and goads we prick against, the tighter we're bound. You're not the boss of me! we shout---at the Church, the government, each other, God---but inside, we know better. All our running and rebelling and freak-flag waving and commitment phobia is just distraction from the shadows the bars cast over our lonely lives.Guess what? That's GOOD news. Because it's only when we … [Read more...]

O Root of Jesse! Grant Us Patience, and Step On It!

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Time. This time of year, we're obsessed with it, because there's never enough of it. Counting down the days, opening the doors of the Advent calendar, frantically checking the last-date-for-Christmas-delivery schedule. Weaving holiday parties and extra baking and penitential services and the kids' concerts and the trips to the airport into the already tightly stretched fabric of our daily schedules. Trying to squeeze a little peaceful anticipation from the 24/7 carols and jingling and very … [Read more...]

O Adonai! Because You’re God, and We’re Not

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Names mean something. In the ancient world, the cauldron of cultures where Israel took shape, all words were performative: they called into existence what they described. Names and titles defined relationship. One's true name was a word of immense power, guarded carefully. To entrust another with one's name was an act of the deepest intimacy because of the vulnerability such a revelation implied.Tonight we chant the second of the O Antiphons, and we invoke the Messiah by one of God's most … [Read more...]

O Wisdom! Pile on the Prudence, Please!

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Tonight they begin, the seven prophetic antiphons chanted before and after the Magnificat at Vespers. Each invokes the Messiah by one of his scriptural titles, and each calls on us to prepare a place for him--at his coming now and at his Final Coming--with an attitude that demonstrates our readiness.So, for December 17, O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. O Wisdom, who … [Read more...]

Where We Were, When: One Boomer’s Apology for Carrying the Kennedy Torch

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Long stood Sir Bedivere Revolving many memories, till the hull Look’d one black dot against the verge of dawn, And on the mere the wailing died away. ---Alfred Tennyson, "The Passing of Arthur," from Idylls of the KingWhat changed that day was everything.Yes, with apologies to post-Boomers, this anniversary---like the past 50 years---is all about us. Of course we remember Where We Were, and not just because that was the day nonstop media coverage sprang to life to remind us. I t … [Read more...]

“Someone In the Family Is Suffering”

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Image SourceWhile we in the US---Catholics, the media---are still parsing and praying over last week's papal interview, Pope Francis himself is wasting no time in issuing marching orders (H/T The Deacon's Bench). "Am I indifferent or is it like someone in the family is suffering?" he asked.He asked everyone to be honest with themselves and respond in their hearts: "How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted" and for those who are in difficulty for professing and defending … [Read more...]

Oh, Lord, Come by Here!: Letting Our Longings Out

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No matter how you spin it, the papal interview published last Thursday has prompted some remarkable soul-searching. When that seed fell on the good ground here in the Patheos Catholic neighborhood and environs, it was as though the spring rains had come to California's high desert. Something impossibly beautiful is blooming in the way that Catholics of all ages and conditions and walks of life and places on the gameboard are wrangling personally with what they hear in Pope Francis's … [Read more...]


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