Fra Angelico and the Sex-Hating Church

A really rambling post.Now that my book is out I've been doing a lot of interviews, and in many of them I've been asked to tell my conversion story. A huge part of my conversion involved realizing that the Catholic Church wasn't what I'd thought it was. For example, I had this image that the Church opposed and rejected the human body--the beauty of the body, the joy of the senses--and denigrated all sensual beauty and pleasure, from the beauty of a Japanese maple to the ecstasy of sex. (I'm … [Read more...]

“Marilynne Robinson in Montgomery”

This essay takes a while to get going, but it's a good, steady look at the way aesthetics and theology can lead us to flatten human experience--especially when "us" is white Americans writing about race. As somebody with a very "suffering and humiliation keep you close to Christ, you should consider them sometime" spiritual style myself, it was good to get a reminder of the way that kind of spirituality can cut against a communal pursuit of justice. As somebody who loves Robinson's books, it was … [Read more...]

“A Meditation on the Bloody Octave of Christmas”

Reposting this piece from 2012 by Msgr Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington: Many are shocked to walk into daily Mass on December 26 and instead of hearing more of the “Baby Jesus” we are confronted with Martyrdom, “The Feast of Stephen” is ancient on the Church’s calendar. More ancient than the Christmas cycle and hence it was not removed to another time. Bu the martyrdom does not stop there. We are in the midst of the Christmas Octave, an Octave filled with blood as we shall see.more; an … [Read more...]

“The Season’s Upon Us”: Holiday Cheer from the Dropkick Murphys

Surprisingly heartwarming! … [Read more...]

Kathy Shaidle’s Poetry, Old and New

So I took part in this year-end books roundup with AmCon, and once again told everybody to read Kathy Shaidle's 1998 poetry collection, Lobotomy Magnificat. You can get a longer review from me here but really, it's a short book, why not throw it in your basket?Shaidle replied; I thought this bit was esp interesting: "A lot of people see 'compassion' in my poetry and other early writing that I simply don’t think is there. I think they’re seeing what they want to see."She also noted that he … [Read more...]

Kathy Shaidle, “Dream of the Rood”

Blessed be my branches’ shadows, sunsewn Mosesbaskets: they ‘byed the Infant sleeping on the grass.Blessed be my roots: weaving the Boy a fine cradle, they hovered Him just above Hell.Yes, bring on the beautiful saw— I will it. Dead I will live forever. more … [Read more...]

“Will Work for Meaning”: I review “Two Days, One Night”

at AmCon: The most tense scene I saw in any movie this year was Marion Cotillard leaning against a blank wall gulping from a bottle of water.Cotillard is playing Sandra in “Two Days, One Night,” yet another must-see from Belgium’s Dardenne brothers (“The Kid with a Bike,” “Rosetta,” “The Child,” “The Son”). Sandra is waiting for the results of a vote taken by the employees of Solwal, the company where she used to work. When the movie opens she has barely, partially overcome a severe depressi … [Read more...]


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