“Humiliation and Reconciliation”: I’m at AmCon

as usual I seem to have kept the most important stuff for the last three paragraphs, but here's the opener: My poolside reading this July has been Mary C. Mansfield’s 1995 work The Humiliation of Sinners: Public Penance in Thirteenth-Century France. The book illuminates human questions we still have not resolved with stories from civilizational past. You don’t have to care as much about the Rogation dragon as I do to see echoes of Mansfield’s medieval world in our own rituals of public abase … [Read more...]

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What Might Apology and Amends to LGBT People Look Like? I’m at Vox

doin' my thing:On June 26, while flying back from a trip to Armenia, Pope Francis told a reporter that he agreed with Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany: The Catholic Church owes an apology to gay people. The Pope's comments were short but rambling — not as deft and pithy as his well-known statement from an earlier airplane interview, "If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?" — but even the best apology is only a beginning. Good apologies allow us to live to … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton (or, What If Addiction Isn’t a Thing?)

Three blind men are feeling around with their hands, trying to determine what's in front of them."I feel something long and ropy, with a bristly end," one says."I feel something thick and wrinkly, muscular and prehensile," one says."I feel something curved and hard and smooth, like a shofar," one says."I've got it!" the first one exclaims. "It's an elephant!"And they spend the next five days trying to feed hay to a table with a rope, a shedding python, and a shofar on it. … [Read more...]

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“Amends” reviewed by Rachel Manija Brown

author of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: ...The prose and dialogue of Amends is a real pleasure, biting and clever and snappy, quotable and re-readable. At times it’s almost too polished. One of the points of Amends is how modern American society is constructed to allow us an endless amount of shallow quick fixes we can use to stave off whatever raw and terrifying emotions or reality we’re hiding from. Reach out, and there’s always something there to grab, whether it’s drugs and booze, TV an … [Read more...]

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Double Review: My Reality-TV Rehab Novel, Gil Fagiani’s Rehab Survivor Poetry

reviewed by Jendi Reiter: ...Logos is a collection of persona poems set at a heroin treatment center of that name, in the South Bronx in the 1960s. It comes out of Fagiani’s own experience, first as an inpatient there, and later as a social worker at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and the director of a rehab center in Brooklyn. The desperation of addiction has a way of levelling distinctions between races, classes, and professional backgrounds. The first-person narrator of some of these poems, p … [Read more...]

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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...]

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A Principal, A Senator, And Two Stories of Second Chances

I'm esp struck by the role of Christian faith in both of these pieces.Nancy Hanks, "A Principal Met a Student She Expelled, And It Changed Her Approach to Discipline": ...I prayed for forgiveness for that time and any other time I betrayed the privilege given to me to be a steward and protector over the children I serve. For anytime I never just let my students just be kids. Goofy, carefree kids that make mistakes — sometimes big and sometimes small. For holding kids to standards that I d … [Read more...]

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