John L. Allen, Jr. on Pope Francis’s Anti-Abuse Commission

here: Francis also showed sensitivity by ensuring that a victim was part of the team, in this case a well-known Irish campaigner for victims’ rights named Marie Collins. Among other things, Collins is known to have the ear of Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who, like O’Malley, is a prelate known around the world for taking strong stands in favor of coming clean on the abuse scandals. much more; and do scroll down to the final item in this column as well.ETA: But see. … [Read more...]

“The Top Five Under-Covered Catholic Stories of 2013″

In effect, Benedict has gone from infallibility to near-invisibility, and entirely by his own choice. If that's not a "miracle of humility in an era of vanity," to invoke Elton John's Vanity Fair tribute to Francis back in June, it's hard to know what would be. --plus much more … [Read more...]

Feast of Sts Cosmas and Damien

who were brothers, and doctors who treated poor patients without requiring payment. This is something my grandfather did also, and in fact one of my relatives recently received an email from a man who remembered how my grandfather had treated his family. So if you pray, and if you pray to saints, please pray for Sts Cosmas and Damien's intercession for the soul of Leonard Tushnet. … [Read more...]

“This Is Because of Their Similarity to the Human Head”: Orthodox Customs to Commemorate the Beheading of John the Baptist

which is what we're doing today. Commemorating it, I mean, not doing it. … [Read more...]

Two Tributes to Mary Magdalene

with two very different portraits of the saint. (Five minutes left in her feast day!) First, Katrina Fernandez offers a sheaf of portraits, of which my favorite by far is the muscular, off-center, whirlingly ecstatic interpretation of Giambattista Pittoni. Then Joanne McPortland writes about her ongoing relationship with the saint, and offers a hushed, serene, almost doll-like portrayal by Georges de la Tour. … [Read more...]

It’s the Feast of the Jailers of Sts Peter and Paul

St Processus and St Martinian, who converted under the influence of their prisoners; they're the patron saints of wardens, jailers, and prison police. … [Read more...]

“Holy Agony”: I’m at Commonweal

reviewing the Met's recent Dialogues of the Carmelites:The Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Dialogues of the Carmelites opens with a group of habited women prostrating themselves on the floor with their arms spread. Their bodies are individual crosses that make up one big cross. This opening for Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera, adapted from a play by Georges Bernanos and based on a real incident during the French Revolution, seems to subsume the women into a collective identity: the … [Read more...]


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