The Sleazy Moral Greatness of “Phone Booth”

Last night I watched Phone Booth, the 2003 thriller (brilliantly directed by Joel Schumacher, for real) in which an unseen killer traps Colin Farrell in a public phone booth and makes increasingly painful demands. It's terrifically intense--I couldn't look away. The high concept is so great: the man suffering in public, while nobody around him has any idea what he's going through. Both Farrell and his character are fun (he's a publicist, rather than a human being) and, by the end, surprisingly … [Read more...]

From “Priests Among Men,” by Emmanuel Celestin Cdl Suhard

a reader notes that MacIntyre may have been paraphrasing or quoting this guy: To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist. from here with some rough historical context … [Read more...]

From John Cardinal Newman, “Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. 4″

from Sermon 20: Consider for an instant. Let every one who hears me ask himself the question, what stake has he in the truth of Christ's promise? How would he be a whit the worse off, supposing (which is impossible), but, supposing it to fail? We know what it is to have a stake in any venture of this world. We venture our property in plans which promise a return; in plans which we trust, which {301} we have faith in. What have we ventured for Christ? What have we given to Him on a belief of His … [Read more...]

“Inside the Cloister”: Casey N. Cep on Joy Within the “Jesus Cage”

in the New Yorker: ...The community at Rockford, one of around fifty or so in the United States, was organized in 1916. It was first housed in a Victorian home, then in a former sanitarium. In 1962, it moved onto its current fourteen-acre campus. The Poor Clares at Rockford observe extreme poverty, by fasting and going barefoot. Theirs is a contemplative order, meaning that, unlike active orders, they separate themselves from the world, embracing solitude and silence, devoting themselves to … [Read more...]

In Defense of Wasting Your Life

Speaking of contradictory truths... I often tell this story when I talk: A couple of years ago I received a poignant email from a man who said, among other things, that he did accept the Church’s teaching and was trying to live up to it. But he still wondered: What happens if I change my mind? What happens if, years from now, I look back on my celibate life—will I regret it? Will it seem like an enormous waste?I think it depends. If one’s celibacy is purely rule-following, then yeah, once yo … [Read more...]

The Prison of My Person, The Shackles of My Skin

Wesley Hill quotes some powerful words from CS Lewis on masturbation and lustful fantasy: For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever … [Read more...]

St Makarii of Optino, quoted in “The Orthodox Way”

[St Isaac the Syrian] also says, "God's grace comes of itself, suddenly, without our seeing it approach. It comes when the place is clean." Therefore, carefully, diligently, constantly clean the place; sweep it with the broom of humility. … [Read more...]


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