The Unprepared-For Death Is Not Worth Dying

The traditional Litany of Saints ends with a series of petitions to God that he might “save his people” from various things: evil, sin, the snares of the devil. Among them is also the entreaty to be saved, freed (”libera nos”), from “a sudden and unprovided death.” Much of traditional piety understood death, that ultimate moment of human existence, as one in dire need of grace and attention. In the last petition of the Angelic Salutation—better known as the Hail Mary— for example, Catholics ask t … [Read more...]

The Way, It’s True, Is a Life

A recent pilgrim recounts some of his impressions coming home from walking 1,000 miles on the Camino de Santiago. I begin with the end. Just after I got into the car, there was a crash. I had finished my pilgrimage two days before this, on the Feast of All Saints, and then on All Souls Day I had explored the rainy city of Santiago de Compostela. Now on this morning, November 3rd, a generous pilgrim friend was waiting for me with his car in the 5:45AM mist. I buckled into the passenger seat and … [Read more...]

The Culture We Live in

A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definative Guide to Identifying and  Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture by Virginia Savage McAlester Food/Clothing/ShelterOf the well-known basic physical needs, “shelter” generates the most durable artifacts. You can see clothing from Colonial America in museums, and there are ways of finding old recipe-books, but you’ll almost never see a person wearing two-hundred year old pants, and you’ll certainly never find and eat leftovers of such age … [Read more...]

And We Behold His Glory

Most major mythologies say that humanity will end up in either a hades or a heaven. Their destination might be based on merit, usually on wealth, sometimes on whim. But there they go, either through a series of perfection or an interrupting rapture. It’s hard to imagine an ending to the world other than one or the other. This cosmic threshing remains a philosophical option. The mythology lives on.Take, for instance, the first season of HBO’s “True Detective.” Much has been written about the s … [Read more...]

This Is What We Do, Panel Edition

This past Saturday Fare Forward held a panel discussion in Washington, DC on Will Seath's article "This Is What We Do", published in the most recent issue of FF. The piece was a profile on Chris Currie, a local official in Hyattsville, MD who has been a lead player in building up an organic Catholic community in this streetcar suburb. In particular, Currie helped to save a parish school, St. Jerome's, and has facilitated young Catholic families moving into the area, creating a community life c … [Read more...]

Why You Must Read Shakespeare to Understand OITNB’s Second Season

 In its first season, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) was a show about a motley crew of women prisoners premised on the fact that these women were much more than criminals. They were mothers, wisecracks, lovers, entrepreneurs, dreamers and, most of all, friends (albeit among racial lines). It was also, on the other hand, a show about how there are “criminal” desires in all of us, even in bourgeois, educated people like Piper, the protagonist in the first season, who finds herself mal … [Read more...]

Our Independence Day

The neighborhood where I grew up traditionally hosts its Fourth of July festivities on the Friday before the holiday.  The theory, so I understand, is to be able to draw revelers from adjacent communities by avoiding competing with everyone else’s Independence Day events.  I’m tempted to speculate that this profit-maximization logic makes this late June party more American than its July 4th counterparts.Though the celebration is supported by local government, it’s actually hosted by a shoppin … [Read more...]