“Against Flameless Candles”

Overwritten, but he's totally right. … [Read more...]

“Unmaker’s Mark”: I review “What Happened to Sophie Wilder”

at AmCon: ...There’s a lot going on here. There’s Sophie’s quest for identity (she has three different surnames throughout the novel), a quest she seems to be trying to escape—she wants to surrender to an identity, sink into it, rather than having to go out and conquer and defend it. She doesn’t want her conversion and subsequent changed life to be about her search for self, but about her encounter with God.There’s a grim consideration of suffering and how it resists narrative. If you demand … [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...]

This Nun Is So Holy, She…

...farts pastry: While enjoying my Sucre and Orange Donut at Cafe Sardine in Montreal, the pastry chef pointed out a treat I'd not likely find outside the area: the Pet de Soeur. I laughed as he told me that it translates to Nun's Fart (or Sister's Fart), and learned that the pet de soeur has its roots in Acadia. more. How did I not know about this? Sounds delicious, too. … [Read more...]

“The Prayer of Honest Desire”: This is super-great

And it is here within his conception of moral practice as desire-discovery—or as he calls it, “practical wisdom”—that for Thomas a principal means of tracing the way back to what we really want, is prayer, oratio. And our only available starting point for that practice of self-discovery is our wants and desires as we actually experience them. Therefore, Thomas says, we ought to pray for what we think we want regardless. For prayer is “in a certain manner a hermeneutic of the human will,” so that … [Read more...]

“Being Gay, Having Faith”: A Series in NYC, Including Me

audio and other materials now online. And you can read a post I wrote riffing on my experience on the panel here. … [Read more...]

“Morally Exemplary Friendships”: Wesley Hill looks for examples

at First Things: ...When I originally announced that I was working on a book about friendship, Ben Myers suggested I pick up Uncommon Friendships: An Amicable History of Modern Religious Thought by William Young. The book focuses on three pairs of friends—Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, and Julia Kristeva and Catherine Clément, all of whom were influential twentieth century religious thinkers—and tries to show how their particular friendships … [Read more...]


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