The Relics of Richard III: An older but provocative post on medieval bones and modern worship

by Eleanor Parker aka A Clerk of Oxford. The rest of this post is quite peaceable and non-polemical but I fastened my fangs on the very David Foster Wallace/"everybody worships" bit: There's no doubt that many people today are fascinated by the relics of kings, even as they look down on the medieval age for caring about the relics of saints. We're quite accustomed to the idea of a royal shrine as a place of historical pilgrimage - or else Westminster Abbey wouldn't be able to charge such steep … [Read more...]

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A Short Review of “The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement”

Going into this book I knew basically nothing about the beguines--not even how you pronounce it. (BEG-een, BEY-geen or buh-GEEN, according to dictionary.com.) All I really wanted from Laura Swan's short popular historical survey was an introduction to a vocation that has been almost entirely forgotten: laywomen, sometimes itinerant but sometimes living in communities from two or three people to a miniature city of over a thousand women, ministering to their neighbors and developing a unique … [Read more...]

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Christina the Astonishing: From Laura Swan, “The Wisdom of the Beguines”

(of which more soon) Once, while visiting the Benedictine nuns at St. Catherine's near Sint-Truiden and speaking of Christ, the nuns reported that "suddenly and unexpectedly she [Christina] would be ravished in the spirit and her body would whirl around like a hoop in a children's game. She whirled around with such extreme violence that the individual limbs of her body could not be distinguished. When she had whirled around for a long time in this manner, it seemed as if she became weakened by … [Read more...]

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When the Last Days Come, We Shall See Visions: A Holy Week Roundup That’s Really an Excuse…

...to talk about the Mountain Goats. Once more I did my annual Mountain Goats Holy Week and once more it was awesome. Notes from this year: 1. Whoa, my sense of when these albums were made is totally off. Assumed Get Lonely and Heretic Pride were early because I don't like them much but it turns out that's not at all true! I still ease in with Get Lonely, but I'm now fond of that one song about the Tianchi monster, the one that's kind of a knockoff "Bigfoot!" in subject matter and general … [Read more...]

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“The Saints You Missed in Sunday School”: Check Out This Great Project

from the Orthodox Church in America. My only caveat is that although the site is beautifully-designed, some of the write-ups of saints' lives can get pretty dry or full of jargon and historical detail. You want somebody to go through these and draw out what's most intriguing or relevant for random people who want to learn more about their faith and deepen their participation in the communion of the saints. But what a great idea. … [Read more...]

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The Three False Gods of Marriage, Freedom, And Morality

So I spent a long weekend in Holland, MI, the heart of Dutch Reform USA and home to Hope College. I was there to talk about Gay Catholic Whatnot, in a variety of settings--a mix of public and private, etc--organized by the St Benedict Forum, the college's small but growing papist posse. It was a fantastic experience. I'd esp like to note the way aesthetic concerns surfaced throughout the trip. Hope College people really care about sacred architecture and music; the chapel service I spoke at had … [Read more...]

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“You Are Bigger Than Even Your Biggest Mistake”: My friend Steven Christoforou

on St Dionysios of Zakynthos and the freedom of forgiveness:as you can tell, Steve has a million of these. Follow him on Twitter for more. … [Read more...]

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