“The whole earth is our hospital”: Good Friday in Painting and Poetry

710px-Mantegna_Andrea_Dead_Christ

Some reflections on the Passion in art and poetry, from last year's Good Friday post.I find myself longing for the respectful quiet of the earlier Good Fridays in my life. I know that Church and State were, if anything, even more clearly separated when I was a child, but in the Catholic (with occasional threads of Bulgarian Orthodoxy) ghetto of our little neighborhood on the seamy side of Hollywood, you wouldn't have known it. The TV, the radio were shut off for the day. We could play, but … [Read more...]

Muslims & Convicts & Girls’ Toes, Oh My!

footwashing

Stop it. Stop it right this minute.Stop looking at the coverage of Pope Francis's visit to the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper and then going into full Three Stooges Slapfest Mode on social media about it.Stop charging the Holy Father with heresy for deviating from a liturgical instruction (reserving the washing of feet on Holy Thursday to males) that can technically only be dispensed with by Rome. The Holy Father IS Rome. No heresy … [Read more...]

“Something to Love, Something to Be Bugged By”: Pummeled by The Anchoress

A 24-foot long cast bronze arm and fist monument to boxer Joe Louis is seen hanging from a balance suspension on Jefferson Ave at Woodward in downtown Detroit

I didn't sleep last night, playing out my crankiness over the Pope Wars in mental and spoken potential posts of staggering snarkiness. I raised my moralistic eyebrow higher and more uncontrollably than The Bachelor's notorious Tierra, whose eyebrow had its own Twitter handle. What made me so cranky was the inevitable rebound effect. Lots of those folks who, early on, so resented enthusiasm for Team Francis expressed as criticism of Team Benedict are now turning the tables and expressing their … [Read more...]

“To Know the Unsurpassable Joy”: A Message from The Hermit

Benedict and Francis kneeling

In the wake of yesterday's post on the futility of picking papal teams, I received the following message from My Friend The Hermit (Br Rex Anthony Norris of The Little Portion Hermitage). He thought it should be for my eyes only, but I think differently. Thank you, dear Brother. This is wonderful advice to carry with us into Holy Week: It is to know and to make known Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen that is the beginning and end of the mission of the Church. For that, dear reader, you … [Read more...]

When It Comes to Popes, I’m on Team Jesus

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I hate choosing sides. It might be the Libra in me, or the hoarder's inability to make decisions, or the hideous memory of being picked last for everything in grammar school. I can't even fill out a decent NCAA bracket, because I can find some reason why just about any team should win the mirror-ball trophy from the Big Dance with the Stars.So I am particularly peeved by the swelling tendency to pit papal clique against papal claque, as though Catholics had to wear their popes on their … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: Intervention for a Hoarder Church

hoarder

I got my wish. Last week, the conclave elected as a successor to St Peter and to the retired Pope Benedict XVI a man who seems to embody the best of my two favorite popes (John XXIII and Benedict)---doctrinal faithfulness and pastoral joy. I even called St Joseph's Day as the perfect date for the inaugural Mass. What I couldn't predict is that the erstwhile Cardinal Bergoglio, with whose name I wasn't even familiar when it was announced, would take the papal name and embody the best of my … [Read more...]

Salus Populi Romani—A New Pope Goes Home to Mamma: UPDATED

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Image sourceJorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, you've just been elected pope. What're you going to do next?According to a tweet from the always knowledgeable Rocco Palmo, Papa Francesco is not going to Disneyland. He's doing what every good Italian boy---and the new pontiff, though hailing from Argentina, is of Italian extraction---and every good Bishop of Rome does first. He's going home to Mamma.Specifically, in this case, Pope Francis will make a private visit sometime tomorrow to … [Read more...]

A Clock Set to Eternity: Why It’s Never ‘Time’ for the Church to Do Something

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What time is it? For Catholics, it's always eternity.My Patheos Catholic Channel colleague Mark Shea asked for prayers yesterday because he'd been invited to participate in a HuffPost discussion about "whether it's time to end the celibate priesthood." Leaving aside the chances (nil) that what the Huffington Post wants to do with this topic is anything resembling discussion, the question itself gives me fidgets. It's emblematic of the cluelessness of so much of the interregnum blather, from … [Read more...]


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