That Papal Lightning Strike? It’s a GOOD Thing

 There's been quite a bit of buzz about this photograph of lightning striking the dome of St Peter's today, on the day that Pope Benedict XVI's intention to renounce the papacy was made public.Of course, there's been global buzz about every aspect of that announcement---from instantly produced Facebook memes to Vegas odds on the March Madness conclave brackets. Some of it's good buzz: the outpouring of respect for the Holy Father's candor, humility, and courage; the chance to … [Read more...]

Strength of Mind and Body: Praying for the Pope, the Church, the World

 My eyes popped open at 3:01 am PST, the TV still on the overnight news. A few minutes later, a special report: POPE BENEDICT XVI TO RESIGN.If, as it seems now, the reports of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation are true, there is special reason to invoke the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes on this her feast day.According to the text of the pope's message, which has been posted on the website of Vatican Radio, the Holy Father---"after having repeatedly examined my … [Read more...]

Our Left Foot: Downton Abbey & Anti-Catholic Snobbery

 Not a few American Catholic fans of Downton Abbey were taken aback by a couple of scenes in last night's episode from Season 3. [Spoiler warning, if you're a DA follower who's behind on your dvr.] When Lady Sybil's widower---the Irishman Tom Branson, who was also once the family chauffeur---announces his intentions to have their newborn daughter baptized a Catholic, he triggers an explosion of protest from Lord Grantham. "A left-FOOTER?" Robert blurts at the breakfast table.In … [Read more...]

Dear Cardinal Mahony, Please Stop

As events in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles continue to unfold, Deacon Greg Kandra brings to our attention a post by Cardinal Roger Mahony published this morning on the cardinal's personal blog. In the immediate wake of Archbishop Jose Gomez's announcement that Cardinal Mahony had been relieved of all official archdiocesan duties as a result of his mishandling of the clergy abuse scandal in Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony's blog post has, I am saddened to say, a particularly unpleasant note of … [Read more...]

“They Failed”: Thank You, Archbishop Gomez

Tonight, Archbishop Jose Gomez broke his silence on the recently released documents concerning efforts by his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, to cover up instances of clergy abuse. Like me, Archbishop Gomez found the documents "brutal and painful reading." He did not stop at repugnance, however, but in a letter to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, assigned accountability: "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. … [Read more...]

Songs of Innocents and Expedience–UPDATED

Remembering the Slaughter of the Innocents means mourning them all . . . or none of them.Herod, the king, in his raging, Charged he hath this day His men of might, in his own sight, All young children to slay. (The Coventry Carol)On December 28, the Church recalls the massacre of infants and toddlers recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. Having heard from the Magi of the birth of a great king, the tetrarch Herod, anxious to hold on to his precarious puppet rule of Judea under his Roman … [Read more...]

It’s Always Apocalypse, Now

One more midnight gone, but for Christians---especially in Advent---we live always in the end-times. And that's good. As a small, fearful child with a galloping case of scruples, I was terrified of the End of the World. Those were apocalyptic times for Catholic school kids, the late fifties and early sixties. There were the weekly drop drills intended to prepare us for the nuclear annihilation that was always thisclose; Sister Maria Consuelo, our Cuban refugee third-grade teacher, was always … [Read more...]

‘VAGINAS WIN! VAGINAS WIN!’: Reductio ad Lady Parts

My lady parts, what's left of 'em, are feeling mighty marginalized this morning, after waking up to the news that they did not get invited to the Grrrrrl Power party that reelected President Obama. Being respectable card-carrying feminist lady parts, activated in the 1960s, they are astonished to learn how far the mighty have fallen. "WTF?" they are asking. "Didn't we already fight this battle? Didn't they hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore that women are more than the sum of their lady … [Read more...]


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