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...]

The Hard Grace of Receiving: Prayers for the Margaret Marys, All

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When the story of the hard life and lonely death of former Duquesne University adjunct Margaret Mary Vojtko first lit up the Internet (prompted by labor lawyer Daniel Kovalik's September op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), attention focused on the harsh treatment of adjuncts by universities in general, and the supposed Grinchishly unChristian treatment of this adjunct by Catholic Duquesne in particular. Beyond tweeting #IAmMargaretMary in righteous solidarity, very few saw Madame Vojtko as … [Read more...]

Hans Kueng and the Grace of a Good Death

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Saw this Reuters story, Catholic rebel Kueng, 85, considers assisted suicide, today courtesy of my Patheos neighbor Frank Weathers, who's painting pillars and has no time to comment on those who like to pull them down. Hans Kueng, Roman Catholicism's best known rebel theologian, is considering capping a life of challenges to the Vatican with a final act of dissent - assisted suicide.Kueng, now 85 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, writes in final volume of his memoirs that people have … [Read more...]

You Can Lead a Beggar to Bread: Pope Francis on Evangelization & Proselytism

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It's Tuesday, and Pope Francis is smacking gobs again. We're still waiting for a better English translation of his latest published conversation with La Repubblica founder Eugenio Scalfari , but it's safe to say there's a lot of seasickness aboard ye olde Barque of Peter this morning. Again.My gob has been so far pretty unsmackable, but a few pull quotes from this latest piece made me reach for the spiritual Dramamine. One, in particular, seemed to be a stunningly insensitive and snarky way … [Read more...]

Busting the Myth of Jesus-Myth Busting

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When will writers bent on revealing the shocking / faith-shattering / never before heard or imagined / this proves you believers are stupid / all of the above facts about the "historical Jesus" ever learn that it doesn't matter? The worship and love Jesus' followers have for him, the witness and sacrifice and courage and charity he inspires in them, depend not one whit---not a jot or a tittle, to put it scripturally---on what passes for objective historical fact.The business (and it is big … [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...]


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