“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...]

Ask Melinda Selmys Your NFP Questions!

Would you like a practical, philosophical, and psychological look at natural family planning from someone for whom it has been at times a grueling and frightening struggle? Someone who understands why you might be bitter and exhausted, who has experienced some of the beauty and promises of NFP but also been harmed by the Pollyannaish or judgmental attitudes with which it's often promoted? You are in luck: Eve Tushnet has been twisting my arm a bit to try to get me to write an NFP book. My basic … [Read more...]

“Some Possibilities for Narratives of Friendship”: I’m at Spiritual Friendship

readin' books: I loved Wes’s post on writing about friendship, and figured I’d throw some specific examples out there to see what actual novels and movies suggest about the nature of friendship. These are very much first-draft thoughts, as I hope you guys will riff on them.“The Body” & Stand By Me–friendship as childhood. This heartbreaking Stephen King novella, which was turned into probably the best adaptation of his work for the screen, tells the story of a group of boys who go on a j … [Read more...]

Amoris Laetitia: Pregnancy Counseling, Penitence, And Pudding

my take at First Things:Philip Larkin lamented that whether or not anybody refills your drink at a party “seems to turn on where you are. Or who.” In our divided Catholic Church, pastoral care is a lot like Larkin's cocktails. Catholics who sincerely desire to submit themselves to the Church they love come to their local parish seeking the wine of resurrection; and receive sometimes water, sometimes vinegar. If you're in an especially culturally-contentious position, you may be favored with a … [Read more...]

“Married, With Roommates: Why My Wife and I Choose to Live in a Group House”: Vox

voxes: ...Once we saved up enough money to buy a house of our own in Washington, DC's Petworth neighborhood, we deliberately chose a place in which we would always have room for housemates, even if we had kids in the future. As soon as we closed on our house, our first purchase was a long dining room table that could accommodate our group dinners.For us, living in a group house was not a phase to grow out of but a lifestyle choice that valued people over privacy. Sure, we lose certain … [Read more...]

“Fragile Unions Like the One That Conceived Me”: Matthew Loftus

on the way two recovering alcoholics' troubled marriage is still bearing fruit, decades after they almost split up: I was six months old, and my mother was ready to leave. My dad had been remarking for some time that he did not want to be married anymore, that it just wasn’t working out for him. My mother had tired of saying that that was fine.They couldn’t communicate much beyond that, though she did know how to make things dramatic. Lacking funds for a suitcase, she piled our belongings in … [Read more...]

“Can You Be Catholic and Gay? These Young Churchgoers Weigh In”: Fusion Media

w/Jorge Ramos: “Can you be a gay man, a lesbian, or a transgender person, and still be a Catholic?”That was just one of the questions Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asked a group of young Roman Catholics during a recent discussion about the changing nature of Catholicism in the U.S.Half of the panelists were members of the LGBT community, while the other half was comprised of conservative Catholics, including one young priest.“We’re doing it, right?” Eve Tushnet, a lesbian Catholic author and … [Read more...]