“My Side of the Confessional: What Is It Like for a Priest?”: LifeTeen

w/a very touching piece--last anecdote is esp striking: I was once riding in a shuttle-bus with a number of older folks on the way from an airport. They noticed that I was a priest and started asking questions about it.“Do you do all of the priest stuff?”“Yep.”“Even the Confession thing?”“Yeah. All the time.”One older lady gasped, “Well, I think that that would be the worst. It would be so depressing; hearing all about people’s sins.”I told them that it was the exact oppo … [Read more...]

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“The Night I Outran My Demons”: A British Doctor

check out the tags on this article...: Looking back over my 29 years as a medic, I think my year at the cancer hospital was the hardest. Every fourth day and weekend without fail, I would cover the intensive care unit for 24 hours as the resident middle-grade doctor. In all my time there, not one patient survived, though not for lack of trying. Not one. more … [Read more...]

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“On Abstaining from Communion”: Poignant, Funny Post from Max Lindemann

on a recurring theme here: ...As the episode with the baffled usher illustrates, some people simply aren’t used to non-communicants. During one early-morning Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan, I approached the celebrant with my arms crossed. (This was before I had been properly briefed on how barbarous an abuse of the liturgy abuse this constitutes.) The poor priest tried to thrust the Host into my mouth, forcing me to block his hand with the crux of my arms and clamp my mouth s … [Read more...]

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“The Wisdom of the Beguines”: Commonweal Book Review on Medieval Laywomen Mystics

with tons of fascinating stuff: In the twelfth century, single women began moving in large numbers from farms to cities of the Low Countries to work in the textile industry. Many of these women formed communal living arrangements that offered safe, affordable accommodation, and a life of service to their neighbors. According to Laura Swan’s recent book, The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement, the beguines, who flourished for several hundred years, were one … [Read more...]

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From “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears”

When the train rushes above ground, we've already crossed into the outskirts of the city. The buildings, old brick factories and warehouses, are all marked with the familiar bright red and yellow bubble letters of Disco Dan. The name is everywhere, tagged onto the side of the tracks, buildings, and rusted water towers. A running billboard competing with the ads for Schlitz malt liquor and used-car lots. Disco Dan--offering nothing but himself and his vanity--has them all beat. For as long as … [Read more...]

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“Common Hells, Private Heavens”: I’m in Commonweal

reviewing a show at the National Museum of African Art: I’m sitting in hell with a couple of little boys, who are trying to prove they’re not scared. We’re watching a cloth-wrapped figure prostrate itself and bang its fists against the floor, as sobs and wordless singing give way to a howled “I, I, I surrender!” Behind us stretches a huge black coiling thing that looks like a well-fed python. “It’s just a video,” one kid says in a subdued voice.We’re in the depths of the National Museum of A … [Read more...]

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“Confessions of a Former Bad Catholic”: A Queer Calling

w/a lot of substance: ...As I thought about this last night, I was taken back to my college and early graduate school days. Without hesitation, I can say that I was a deeply devoted Catholic. I attended Mass almost every day, not out of compulsion but because I woke up each morning with an eagerness to hear that day’s Gospel proclaimed, to be present with the very small daily Mass-going community in my college town, and to be in the same chapel where bread and wine mysteriously became Christ’s B … [Read more...]

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