I Was on Death Row, and You Walked with Me: Being Prolife out on the Margins

 So a priest, a nurse, and a lawyer walk into a prison . . . and they're all the same guy. CNN had a great profile Friday of Fr Neil Kookoothe, pastor of St Clarence in the Diocese of Cleveland. Fr Kookoothe's unique skill set---he got a nursing license and a law degree before entering the seminary---helped him free a man from Death Row, and led to legislation widening Ohio's discovery rules. D'Ambrosio, Kookoothe said, had no previous criminal record. He had neither an alibi nor … [Read more...]

Everything But the Baby: Rethinking the Ed in Religious Ed

 I have updated my update to "What's Really Wrong with Catholic Religious Education? Everything" to include links to a wide variety of responses. The conversation continues here and in comboxes and on social media, and starting Monday the Patheos Catholic Channel home page will have a central link to posts tagged Rethinking Religious Education. But today's post from my friend and Patheos neighbor Sam Rocha deserves, I think, an endorsement all its own.Sam, a philosopher and father … [Read more...]

Being David’s Harp: Walking Mercifully with Mental Illness

 Save me, O God, for the waters have risen to my neck. I have sunk into the mud of the deep and there is no foothold. I have entered the waters of the deep and the waves overwhelm me.Two important posts to share with you today---not on the theme of Rethinking Catechesis, though I invite you to keep your cards and letters coming in, as it were. This is another critical issue that requires rethinking and merciful response, an issue with which readers of this blog know I have the … [Read more...]

The Blogger Who Kicked Over the Hornets’ Nest: More Buzz and Sting about Religious Education UPDATED

Now I know how Jonathan Swift felt when he proposed ending English famine by eating Irish babies. Friday's post suggesting that we quit catechizing children touched more of a nerve than I expected, opened more worm cans, and (best of all) sparked some great conversations. Thank you for commenting here and on Facebook and Twitter, for sharing the post and linking to it. We're talking out loud about our larger hunger, and no babies have been harmed in the process.As clarification and … [Read more...]

O Key of David! Opening Wide to the Thrill of Hope

We're all prisoners, every damn one of us. The more free we declare ourselves to be, the more restraints we chafe at and goads we prick against, the tighter we're bound. You're not the boss of me! we shout---at the Church, the government, each other, God---but inside, we know better. All our running and rebelling and freak-flag waving and commitment phobia is just distraction from the shadows the bars cast over our lonely lives.Guess what? That's GOOD news. Because it's only when we … [Read more...]

O Root of Jesse! Grant Us Patience, and Step On It!

Time. This time of year, we're obsessed with it, because there's never enough of it. Counting down the days, opening the doors of the Advent calendar, frantically checking the last-date-for-Christmas-delivery schedule. Weaving holiday parties and extra baking and penitential services and the kids' concerts and the trips to the airport into the already tightly stretched fabric of our daily schedules. Trying to squeeze a little peaceful anticipation from the 24/7 carols and jingling and very … [Read more...]

O Adonai! Because You’re God, and We’re Not

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!

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...]