Papal Fever: Prayer Grotto and Pope Plushies in Phila…. Security Barriers and Metro Madness in DC

So this country is kind of losing what remains of its mind over the Pope, yes? You guys know that the pope makes me feel minty, and this mintiness is not decreased by proximity. I will be sheltering in place for the duration of his visit.That said, I was in Philadelphia recently and they have done one fantastic thing. The city is pope-mad, the train station is just covered in giant scary Francis faces that turn out to be ads for Jesuit colleges, and you can buy stuffed Pope Francises in the … [Read more...]

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“An Unlikely Nun Every Snake Person Should Meet”: Joel J. Miller

on Mother Maria Skobtsova, and I STILL don't have a tag for Orthodox Christianity, sorry!! ...For a nun, Maria’s story is more than a little unconventional. At Bishop Anthony Bloom’s first encounter with her, Maria sat at a cafe table with a beer. She was often seen shambling around the Paris market in her tattered habit, cigarette perched on her lip, haggling for deals. And she kept company with the lowest of the low.That was her calling. Twice divorced, she knew the meaning of God’s mercy … [Read more...]

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“Love, Covenant, and Friendship”: Ron Belgau Looks at the Biblical Models

at Spiritual Friendship:In my previous post, I drew attention to the way the Catholic Church frequently references friendship in her pastoral advice related to homosexuality. In this post, I want to examine the nature of friendship itself more deeply, particularly as it relates to two other crucial Biblical concepts: love and covenant. The relationship between love and covenant will be obvious to most contemporary readers; the connection between covenant and friendship, however, is … [Read more...]

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Take Me to Church–But Not the Ones that Hurt: Starting a Book Project

Hey y'all. This is all in the very, very first stages, but I'm talking with a publisher about the possibility of doing a book of essays by Catholics who were badly mistreated by their churches or by Catholic communities or institutions, but who continue to practice the faith. My working title is Wounded in the House of a Friend, so that gives you sort of the idea. I'm looking for a wide range of experiences--there are so many different sorrows--and a wide range of genres, from personal memoir to … [Read more...]

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The Human Heart Is a Cactus, The Desert Makes It Bloom: Notes on Friendship and a Courage Conference

So I was invited to a conference run by Courage, a Catholic ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Prof. Janet Smith and I had a dialogue which I thought went fairly well, and which I think they'll eventually make available online. I also have an essay in the book that resulted from the conference, Living the Truth in Love. Here are three smallish thoughts about friendship, in light of what got said at that conference.1. One of the speakers was Dan Mattson, and as always I was so … [Read more...]

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It Always Rains on Ben Affleck: Short Movie Reviews

The Leopard: Burt Lancaster is the patriarch of an aristocratic Sicilian family whose role in society is inevitably being usurped by the rising middle class during the period of Italian unification. Directed in sun-soaked autumnal shade and color by Caravaggio--I mean, Visconti.Lancaster is so good at these autumnal roles (The Swimmer) and everything here is gorgeous to look at. My favorite social or psychological note was the complex role played by the Church/the family priest. The … [Read more...]

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Wesley Hill: “Eve Tushnet’s Spirituality of Humiliation”

a super-neat piece that connects my new novel to some themes in my nonfiction writing: Eve Tushnet’s new self-published novel Amends (available as an e-book or a paperback) is peak Tushnet: there are more quirky one-liners than the best standup you’ve seen, more offbeat metaphors than even Michael Chabon can conjure; there are themes of friendship and sacrifice, themes of recovery and religion; there are gay characters, and there’s even a Christian one (the latter features in an extended scene n … [Read more...]

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