The Myth of the Femuncula

Listening to MSNBC, Planned Parenthood, and other devout partisans of the new American sacrament of abortion rant about the reignited War on Women (if I have to hear Rachel Maddow repeat, grim frown in place, "THE GOP IS FORCING WOMEN TO BEAR THEIR RAPISTS' BABIES!!!" one more time . . .), one claim stands out: No man has a right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Funny thing is, it's a claim with which I agree 100%, even when I'm not crazy about some of the things we women choose to do … [Read more...]

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I Confess (but not frequently enough)–UPDATED

Over at The Deacon's Bench, Greg Kandra has shared a piece by John Cornwell from The Tablet on the decline of confession among Catholics worldwide. It's a fascinating article, reflecting the research Cornwell has done for a forthcoming book. For reverts of a certain age, like me, there's much that resonates.Among the reasons Cornwell posits for the decline (which in itself is more a presumption than a matter of fact, as statistics aren't tracked for confessions the way they are for Baptisms, … [Read more...]

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Sex and the Singular Woman: The Assumption and Helen Gurley Brown

When I was exactly three weeks old, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a truth of the Catholic faith. The year I turned 12, Helen Gurley Brown published Sex and the Single Girl. I have to admit that for most of our lives, women my age---Catholic or not, for good or for ill---have been more influenced by the latter event than by the former. Today, on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption, as the mainstream media fill with tributes to the late Gurley … [Read more...]

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Chiara, Lady of Light: A Renewed Prayer for Guidance in the Nun Wars

 UPDATE: I wrote this reflection on St Clare two years ago, at the start of the Nun Wars. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and its head-butting with the Vatican are in the news again, and on the feast of St Clare it's worth looking at (and praying for the intercession of) this singular woman religious who both challenged and obeyed the Church. At root, the word religious means "one who binds herself again." To what---and to whom---do today's women religious, sisters … [Read more...]

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Mea Maxima Culpa: An Upstart Blogger Eats Crow

 There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that, with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide, supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrie. ~ Robert Greene, The Groatsworth of Wit, 1597Robert Greene's oft-quoted smackdown of a rookie Renaissance playwright, generally assumed to be one of the first public references to William … [Read more...]

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Sister-tistics–UPDATED

 [Mea culpa UPDATE: Although I stand by the substance of this post, I recognize that I was out of line in the cheap shots I took at Fr Jim Martin's public persona. I have edited those out of this post, and deleted comments that found in my post an occasion of the sin of ad hominem attacks. I still disagree with Fr Martin's support of the LCWR against the CDF, but making it personal was inexcusable. Please go here for my fuller apology and further thoughts, and help keep me honest as we … [Read more...]

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Tone-Deaf on Religion–UPDATED

"Sikhism is a religion that originated about 500 years ago in Italy [sic]."~ CBS This Morning reporter on the shootings at a Wisconsin Sikh templeI've been bemoaning the media's inability to get Catholicism right for a very long time, but it struck me this morning that maybe there really isn't a specifically anti-Catholic bias out there in journalism land. The media's talent for being tone-deaf on religion appears to be wide-ranging and indiscriminate.The reporting on the tragic … [Read more...]

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