The End, and a Beginning

There have been a lot of changes for me this past year. Games Magazine, where I was Editor-at-Large for about 17 years, was folded into a sister publication, reducing my responsibility to only two pages a month. I left Maximum PC magazine after being one of its original writers and longest-running columnist, a tenure of almost two decades. I went through a period of illness and finally returned to a more regular work schedule with the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit. I stopped … [Read More...]

A Clarification: Difficult Times, Difficult Thoughts

Some clarifications. There were some who took exception to my calling the pope "wrong" yesterday. I want to be clear: I believe it was a mistake to open up a rejected proposal for debate and bring discredited theologians and leaders back into prominence. Most troubling is his personal support of Cardinal Danneels, which is inexcusable and reflects very poorly on his judgement.  The record is clear, and there is no place for men who sheltered and protected abusers, and further damaged their vic … [Read More...]

Benedict and the Bishops on Communion for the Divorced

The current synod is certainly not the first synod to consider the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried. In October 2005 the synod kicked around these issues, and in February 2007 Pope Benedict XVI published the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis (the Sacrament of Charity). Note well the long passage of time between synod and publication. Benedict's very sound teaching should have put this matter to rest, but Pope Francis dragged Cardinal Kasper back into the … [Read More...]

NY Times Joins the Temple Truthers

My history column for the Register this week is on Temple Trutherism. It's like 9/11 Trutherism, only with slightly more anti-semitism!Reporter Rick Gladstone shows us some of those high-quality skills you only get from journalism school by utterly ignoring the experts he interviewed and concocting a story about scholarly doubt as to whether the Temples were on the Temple Mount.The New York Times found itself at the center of a firestorm last week after publishing an article that s … [Read More...]

Verdict on German Plan?: “Schismatical, heretical.”

At the Register this week, I write about an idea floated by the German episcopate to go their own way on matters of "pastoral care" and damn what the Universal Church has to say. Trent's already rendered the verdict on this approach, and pretending "pastoral care" isn't the same as "discipline" doesn't make it any less of a schismatic act.Here's the beginning: Gallicanism, and its German sibling Febronianism, was the French notion that regional and state authority and custom have equal or g … [Read More...]

How Scrivener Lost Me to Ulysses

My coverage of the papal visit was a test bed for mobile computing and reporting. I did all of my writing on an iPad 2 with a Zagg keyboard. It was light, extremely portable, fit in a confined space, and did every single thing I needed.When we were crammed into the chapel of the Basilica covering the papal mass, everyone was tripping over each other's bulky laptops. (Some media are probably compelled to run some sort of enterprise software for submitting copy, but it's 2015: let's get with th … [Read More...]

Want Some More Catholic History and Archaeology?

No?Well tough, you're getting it anyway.This piece (which I talk about here) marks the first of a weekly series, appearing Mondays in the National Catholic Register. I plan to use the space to explore odd corners of Church history, sometimes just for fun, sometimes in order to shed a bit of light on a present issue or concern.From time to time, I'll check in with updates about new archaeological discoveries relevant to the Ancient Near East and Christendom. It's sort of like what I d … [Read More...]

Is This Synod the Most Dangerous Crisis in the History of the Church?

It is to hear some people tell it. I think it was this video that got me thinking about Pius VI, but all the daft ranting of the past year certainly played a part in my realization that people have no context for what they're experiencing.I've written a bit about Pius, his times, and the way they still impact our own for the National Catholic Register. Part of this is by way of urging you to ignore anyone saying this is "the most dangerous time in the history of the Church." That's pure b … [Read More...]

Podcast: Synod, Tarot, The Dark Lord, and Me

This week's radio show with Dark Lord Mark Shea and me was really well received, even though I talked about those eviiiiil tarot cards. Mark's been wanting to do this show for a year, and he figured it was a good fit for October. So he let me ramble on for an ourWe spend the first 15 minutes talking about the Synod and slapping the hysterics and doomsayers across the face, shouting "SNAP OUT OF IT"!Listen below or at the link above. … [Read More...]

Luther’s Pact With the Devil

Great Moments in Reformation History! Medieval gossips claimed that Luther's mother was seduced by a demon disguised as a jewelry merchant, and that the demon then counseled Martin throughout his wayward journey into heresy. After a visit to Rome, so the stories go, he felt shabbily treated and asked his father how he could get his revenge. "Write a commentary on the Lord's Prayer," was the demon's suggestion.Another legend tells of where Luther got his new ideas. One night a monk visited … [Read More...]

Who Are Iraqi & Syrian Archaeologists Blaming for Looting?

Aw, go on--you know the answer. It's an old answer that fits every situation, particularly in the Islamic world.That's right: the Jews!Yes, they're using their supersecret Jewish archaeology mind-control powers to ... I dunno, force ISIS to destroy the heritage of the middle east. It's complicated.The lack of proof is evidence that's it true, because one thing about those Jews: they're clever. If you can't find evidence of anything you say, then you know they did it.Let's hear … [Read More...]

Shocker: Ray Kurzweil Says CrazyStupid Things

Must be a day that ends in Y.Kurzweil has been predicting the "singularity," a vagueish idea about a moment when transhumanism (aka, technognosticism) powered by teh tech (details to be determined later) and AI makes us all immortal cyborg superstars who can download our complete consciousness and live forever on a hard drive without the sticky limitations of these terrible meat sacks we call our bodies.Ray Kurzweil is considered smart because he invented some pretty nifty things … [Read More...]

The Pope and I

I don't want to brag or anything, but I had mass with the pope.And not some big open air mass. Nope. This was a votive mass for Our Lady, Mother of the Church, in the glorious Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. I even got a plenary indulgence for participating. Take that, Martin Luther!The mass was a perfect ending to an exhausting week that began on Monday, the day before the World Meeting of Families opened, as I trundled around the city squinting at various incredible … [Read More...]

Day 0: World Meeting of Families

I drove into Philadelphia yesterday (Monday) on assignment for the National Catholic Register, so I got an early taste of some of the World Meeting of Families. I spent much of my time trucking around to museums and exhibits for a feature story I'm writing, so most of my cell phones pics are of old things, and I don't mean the patriarchal hierarchy of our outdated misogynist Church. (If I have to point out that's a joke, you're reading the wrong guy.)Here's a quick rundown of some Neat T … [Read More...]

Bishop O’Connell’s Frustrations With Pope Francis

On the eve of the pope's visit to Philadelphia, Bishop David M. O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton (my bishop) has given a long and candid interview about the challenges and joys of running a diocese in the age of Pope Francis.He also reveals that he will not be participating in any of the papal events in Philadelphia despite leading a large diocese just across the river. He will, instead, be providing commentary for a local CBS affiliate. In his own commentary welcoming the pope, the Bi … [Read More...]