Catholics on the Arabian Peninsula, Three Mistakes About Francis, and More

from John L. Allen, Jr.: From the “not what you might expect” files, here’s a fact about Catholicism in the early 21st century that flies in the face of conventional wisdom: It’s growing by leaps and bounds in the heart of the Muslim world.Many Americans have heard or read reports about an exodus of Christians out of the Middle East, and in terms of the indigenous Arab Christian population that’s all too real. Christians now make up only 5 percent of the region’s population, down from 20 per … [Read more...]

From John Cardinal Newman, “Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. 4″

from Sermon 20: Consider for an instant. Let every one who hears me ask himself the question, what stake has he in the truth of Christ's promise? How would he be a whit the worse off, supposing (which is impossible), but, supposing it to fail? We know what it is to have a stake in any venture of this world. We venture our property in plans which promise a return; in plans which we trust, which {301} we have faith in. What have we ventured for Christ? What have we given to Him on a belief of His … [Read more...]

“Inside the Cloister”: Casey N. Cep on Joy Within the “Jesus Cage”

in the New Yorker: ...The community at Rockford, one of around fifty or so in the United States, was organized in 1916. It was first housed in a Victorian home, then in a former sanitarium. In 1962, it moved onto its current fourteen-acre campus. The Poor Clares at Rockford observe extreme poverty, by fasting and going barefoot. Theirs is a contemplative order, meaning that, unlike active orders, they separate themselves from the world, embracing solitude and silence, devoting themselves to … [Read more...]

The Martyrs’ Rose

Given my whole thing with roses, you know I had to link you to this. … [Read more...]

Today’s Saint: John of God

Patron of the sick. Here's a painting by Murillo:and here's the obvious Shane McGowan contribution: … [Read more...]

In Defense of Wasting Your Life

Speaking of contradictory truths... I often tell this story when I talk: A couple of years ago I received a poignant email from a man who said, among other things, that he did accept the Church’s teaching and was trying to live up to it. But he still wondered: What happens if I change my mind? What happens if, years from now, I look back on my celibate life—will I regret it? Will it seem like an enormous waste?I think it depends. If one’s celibacy is purely rule-following, then yeah, once yo … [Read more...]

Four Thoughts on Gay Catholic Whatnot

Overall, I loved Level Ground. By the end I was finally tired of yapping about Gay Catholic Whatnot, which I thought would never happen to me!, but it was a chance to meet many terrific people and see a truly extraordinary movie (which I'll write about very soon). I'm slowly winding my way back toward having thoughts and opinions about GCW again; here are four. As always, worth what you paid for them.1. Sins of Omission. So much of the "conservative" Christian world seems terrified of … [Read more...]


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