I’m That Guy: The Gunpowder of Being Catholic in Public

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On the eve of a contentious election, pondering the explosive nexus of faith and politics.Please to remember The Fifth of November Gunpowder, Treason, and Strife . . .Back when I was in my Anglican interim, I loved commemorating Guy Fawkes Day. A haunting little historical nursery rhyme, bonfires, the burning of effigies, and children in raggedy clothes with ash-blackened faces accosting householders, begging A penny for the Guy!---what's not to love? I had a vague notion of the … [Read more...]

A Journal of My Council: A Book Review

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My Journal of the Council by Yves Congar, OP Liturgical Press, 2012Even as my arteries and my religious views harden with age, I remain a daughter of Vatican II. The first session of the council was officially convened on my 12th birthday in 1962, and the fruits of the council were the single most important influence on my faith formation. As I've written here before, I still consider myself a Catholic of the John XXIIIrd Generation, and proud of it. I carried a well-thumbed copy of the … [Read more...]

After Us, the Deluge: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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Image sourceA month ago, we were in Lourdes under a blazing sun, cooling ourselves with glimpses of the River Gave de Pau as it ran alongside the Sanctuaries. This past weekend, we watched the news and the Shrine's own YouTube channel dumbfounded as the rain-swollen river overflowed its banks, driven by storms in the Pyrenees. About 500 pilgrims, including malades seeking healing, had to be evacuated from riverside hotels like the one where we stayed. Water rose more than four feet in the … [Read more...]

A Conversation of Pilgrims

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Last week I had the great joy of talking with writer, speaker, and broadcaster---and my neighbor at the Patheos Catholic Channel---Pat Gohn about my recent pilgrimage experience, and about pilgrimage as a spiritual discipline and a metaphor for the journey of faith. Pat is a devoted pilgrim herself, and has a particular love for Fatima, the place that most moved and surprised me last month.Pat recorded our conversation for her Among Women podcast (#148: Coming Home on Pilgrimage), and it's … [Read more...]

Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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Everybody else in Paris was lined up to see Lady Gaga. But we were gaga for another Lady.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 10: Lourdes to ParisWe left Lourdes early on a Sunday morning, bidding our bus drivers farewell and gathering at the Gare de Lourdes to catch the high-speed train to Paris. We were clustered in little groups throughout several train cars---our guides Guida and Francoise later confessed to putting some time into choosing who would be compatible with whom on the 5-hour … [Read more...]

Let My Prayers Rise Like Incense

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We burned prayer cards last night at my friend Michael's house, on a truly cold evening under a last-quarter moon.It's an annual ritual, one that Michael---Director of the Stewardship Office of the Cincinnati Archdiocese---started a few years ago. As part of our annual archdiocesan appeal, we send donors a prayer card with their thank you letter from the Archbishop. We invite them to list their intentions on the cards and return them, to be prayed for at the three regional Appeal … [Read more...]

The Village of St Bernadette: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

People wondered why there is no statue of Bernadette in the Grotto. But at Lourdes, we are all Bernadette.

"There was everything hostile to my peace---an incalculable crowd, an oppressive heat, dust, noise, weariness; there was the disappointment of the churches and the image; there was the sour unfamiliarity of the place and the experience; and yet I was neither troubled nor depressed nor irritated nor disappointed. . . . To leave Lourdes at the end was like leaving home."Msgr Robert Hugh Benson, a convert from Anglicanism, wrote these words in his memoir of a visit to Lourdes in 1908. I … [Read more...]

Climb Ev’ry Mountain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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An hour in the Pyrenees, and you suddenly understand the deep ties between geography and belief. And you get a clue about why we're always fighting over territory. Gerald O'Hara was partly right: "It's land, Katie Scarlett! . . . Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts." Of course it doesn't, really. But since Eden was foreclosed on, that's the story we tell ourselves.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 8: … [Read more...]


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