“Meet the Monks Who Spend Their Lives Praying for Ireland’s Priests”: Crux

feature: Prayer, reparation, and praising God are the focus of a new Benedictine priory in Ireland, which focuses especially on reparation for the sins of priests.“It was never our predetermined plan to come to Ireland,” Silverstream Priory’s Father Benedict Anderson, O.S.B., told Catholic News Agency. “But we believe that, through circumstances that we could never have foreseen, Divine Providence placed us here to play some sort of role, however modest, in the life of the Irish Church. … [Read more...]

Settling Accounts With Torturers

I recently finished A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers, Lawrence Wechsler's 1990 reports on post-dictatorship attempts at truth-telling and justice-seeking in Brazil and Uruguay. Wechsler is mostly an excellent writer; the book is really well-paced and there are sharp little descriptions ("his commanding wreck of a voice") and insightful uses of poetry. The afterword is overwritten but mostly Wechsler restrains the ego-driven need to assure his readers that he knows what … [Read more...]

“Piety and Hunger”: Nice intro essay on “Kristin Lavransdatter”

why not start your journey w/Kristin during Lent? Undset was an obsessive researcher, and her 14th-century Norway has texture down to the dirt of the smithy floor. She captures annual agricultural rhythms of shortage and plenty, obscure ecclesiastical laws governing punishments for adultery, and the way the men douse themselves in ice water to sober up for church after Christmas festivities. Her descriptions of food, decor, and clothing are precise: the way Kristin strews juniper and flowers on … [Read more...]

“Their Wives and Their Wealth Have Made Them So Mute”: Reading Waugh’s biographies of Campion & Knox

Recently finished Two Lives, which encloses in one volume Evelyn Waugh's biographies of St Edmund Campion, a martyr of the English Reformation, and Ronald Knox, a semirandom priest. You should absolutely read the Campion biography. It's passionate and the prose hangs in garlands, with thorns tipped in blood. It isn't swoony or silly (like the sentence I just wrote), it isn't sentimental or polemical although this is Waugh so he does stick a shiv in occasionally; in general it's crisp and acrid, … [Read more...]

“To Fast Again”: Eamon Duffy

says a lot of important things: The ritual observance of dietary rules—fasting and abstinence from meat in Lent, and abstinence from meat and meat products every Friday, as well as the eucharistic fast from midnight before the reception of Communion—were as much defining marks of Catholicism before the council as abstention from pork is a defining characteristic of Judaism. The Friday abstinence in particular was a focus of Catholic identity which transcended class and educational barriers, uni … [Read more...]

Two Short Gay Catholic Whatnot Notes: An Apology (Mine) And Possible Specifics (Yours)

LOL what a terrible title.Okay, so I did a couple speaking engagements last week, including one at the Catholic University of America (go whatever their mascot is! Doves?). At CUA I got a couple questions which I didn't think I answered well, and which are general enough that I think it makes sense to say something about them on the blog.One guy connected my general support for Pope Francis's call for the Church to apologize to gay people with something I said in this Atlantic piece: "I … [Read more...]

Catholic Churches in the Philippines Sheltering Targets of Duterte’s “Reign of Terror”: The Guardian

reports, with good historical background: The Catholic church in the Philippines is operating a network that hides addicts and others targeted in president Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war, priests have told the Guardian.More than 7,000 people have been killed by Philippine law enforcement officers and vigilantes in Duterte’s crusade against alleged addicts and dealers, often in hit-and-run style attacks by gunmen on motorcycles.Victims are occasionally tipped off in advance that they a … [Read more...]