“Humiliation and Reconciliation”: I’m at AmCon

as usual I seem to have kept the most important stuff for the last three paragraphs, but here's the opener: My poolside reading this July has been Mary C. Mansfield’s 1995 work The Humiliation of Sinners: Public Penance in Thirteenth-Century France. The book illuminates human questions we still have not resolved with stories from civilizational past. You don’t have to care as much about the Rogation dragon as I do to see echoes of Mansfield’s medieval world in our own rituals of public abase … [Read more...]

The Relics of Richard III: An older but provocative post on medieval bones and modern worship

by Eleanor Parker aka A Clerk of Oxford. The rest of this post is quite peaceable and non-polemical but I fastened my fangs on the very David Foster Wallace/"everybody worships" bit: There's no doubt that many people today are fascinated by the relics of kings, even as they look down on the medieval age for caring about the relics of saints. We're quite accustomed to the idea of a royal shrine as a place of historical pilgrimage - or else Westminster Abbey wouldn't be able to charge such steep … [Read more...]

Cinema Paradiso? Some Things to Consider Before You Throw that Movie Reference into Your Homily

Steven Greydanus is the movie critic for Crux and the National Catholic Register, and he's also a newly-ordained deacon. (Woohoo! PARTY AT STEVE'S HOUSE) But he noted, "FWIW, I have now preached two homilies and have not used any movie references or analogies. No one believes I will keep this up.""It's actually kind of important to me that I *not* use movie references in my homilies, or at least try to avoid them as much as possible," he continued. He noted that this was a limited … [Read more...]

Who Is Doing Good Ministry to Corrections Officers?

Last Saturday was the feast of Sts Processus and Martinian, patrons of wardens, guards, and prison police. Legend says that they were the jailers of St Peter and St Paul, who were converted when the apostles were miraculously freed (Acts 16).This got me wondering. In certain Christian circles we hear a lot about prison ministry. Visiting prisoners is one the basic Catholic corporal works of mercy. Pope Francis has been phenomenal when it comes to loving the prisoners in his flock--it's not … [Read more...]

What Might Apology and Amends to LGBT People Look Like? I’m at Vox

doin' my thing:On June 26, while flying back from a trip to Armenia, Pope Francis told a reporter that he agreed with Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany: The Catholic Church owes an apology to gay people. The Pope's comments were short but rambling — not as deft and pithy as his well-known statement from an earlier airplane interview, "If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?" — but even the best apology is only a beginning. Good apologies allow us to live to … [Read more...]

“If the Church Were a Haven”: Wesley Hill

at First Things: Or I think of a story I’ve heard Shane Claiborne recount, in which a frustrated young lesbian woman confided her discomfort with traditional Catholic sexual ethics to Mother Teresa. Afterwards, the young woman came to Claiborne beaming. What had Mother Teresa said to cause such joy? Claiborne wondered. It turned out, instead of rebuffing the woman’s questions or offering an easy solution to her uncertainty about whether or not to embrace celibacy, Mother Teresa had mostly lis … [Read more...]

Nun on the Run: Check out Zach Clark’s great new indie charmer, “Little Sister”

I wrote it up for AmCon: The summary for Zach Clark’s new indie flick Little Sister walks a razor’s edge of “could be great, could be awful.” Addison Timlin stars as ex-goth, now aspiring nun C0lleen, who receives an urgent email from her estranged mother (Ally Sheedy). Her brother (Keith Poulson), disfiguringly wounded in Iraq, has come out of the hospital, but he won’t talk to anyone. Will Colleen come home, reconcile with her family, help her brother reenter normal life, and figure out if she … [Read more...]