John Paul I

“I shall be called John Paul”

On this day in 1978, the newly elected John Paul I explained his choice of name: Yesterday morning I went to the Sistine Chapel to vote tranquilly. Never could I have imagined what was about to happen. As soon as the danger for me had begun, the two colleagues who were beside me whispered words of encouragement. One said: "Courage! If the Lord gives a burden, he also gives the strength to carry it." The other colleague said: "Don't be afraid; there are so many people in the whole world who are … [Read More...]


Ophelia’s Funeral: Suicide and The Church

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Patheos community here.In 1915, my great grand-aunt Emma Annie Rabig died at the age of 24. I have a copy of her death certificate. Next to "Cause of death" is written "Body viewed." Nothing more.There's a lot of story, much history, and a great deal of pain packed into those two words.Annie killed herself by hanging at her parents' home in E … [Read More...]

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Real Catholic Men Can Play Games

A couple weeks back I read something by a priest arguing that Real Catholic Men should not play videogames. The article was pointless and ill-informed, and proved mostly that the author had not one single solitary clue about his subject matter and only the vaguest notion about "videogames" and the people who play them.We were treated to the standard hand-wringing about man-children, wasting time, how people could be improving themselves rather than engaging in "pointless" activity, and so on … [Read More...]


Ralph Nader Understands Conservatism Better Than Most “Conservatives”

It's come to this. A rich strain of conservative thought, and the powerful currents of Distributism coursing through it, is explored intelligently by a man most so-called conservatives (aka, Republicans) would dismiss as a commie wignut. Ralph Nader talks about the middle way between big government and big business, using one of the more important texts to emerge from the Southern agrarian movement. Who Owns America? A New Declaration of Independence is a collection of essays edited by Allen Tate … [Read More...]


Richard III Was A Heavy Drinker

Not only do we now know that Richard III did, indeed, have a twisted spine, but a study of his remains indicates that the last years of his life showed a marked increase in consumption of wine and exotics foods such as "swan, crane, heron and egret."The study appears in The Journal of Archaeological Science, and concludes: The recent discovery of the remains of King Richard III, one of the most controversial characters in British history, provides an opportunity to use scientific methods to … [Read More...]


Vox: Pope Francis Calls For New Crusade

This is Max Fisher:Max may be (and this is not at all hyperbole) the dumbest man on the planet. (And that's a title with some serious competition.)He works for Vox, which is your first clue.And he wrote this for Vox, which is your second clue:So, Max is going with the whole "Pope Calls For New Crusade" angle. (My response to that is "If only...")Sure, the writing is laughably bad, the history is junk, the spin is pure hit-trolling, the hatred of Catholicism is pal … [Read More...]


Mental Illness and the Notion of “Choice”

In the wake of the shocking death of Robin Williams, there's been a lot about depression and suicide in the news and social media, some of it very good, much of it sheer nonsense.I don't think we've ever had a national moment quite like this, in which a beloved entertainer, known for making people laugh, takes his own life. It seems incongruous to many, and the reactions emphasize how little most people understand about mental illness, particularly depression. There's been a lot of idiotic … [Read More...]

Michael Lichens on Depression

When I write about mental health issues and depression, I tend to do so obliquely, so I know how difficult it is for Michael Lichens, Editor of Catholic Exchange, to write about it as well as he does. An excerpt I wanted to point out that depression touches many lives, whether we know it or not. Even my worst days I can fake being happy for a few hours before I collapse in exhaustion. If someone is depressed, you may never know it unless they feel comfortable enough to let their guard down. … [Read More...]

Antonio Ciseri's Martyrdom of the Seven Maccabees

They Have Drunk of The Everflowing Life

 There's a paradox in martyrdom that we must accept even if we can't reconcile ourselves to it: those being killed because of their faith in Christ are simultaneously tragic victims of injustice and barbarism, and glorious witnesses entering into everlasting life because of their sacrifice. Christ promised little more than this in the world, which would hate us because it hated him first.In his Exhortation to Martyrdom, St. Cyprian praises those who die for the faith: And lest anyone become … [Read More...]


Statue of Jesus Has Human Teeth

The statue of Jesus as the "Lord of Patience," kept at the church of San Bartolo in Cuautlalpan Mexico, was gruesome enough before an art restorer subjected it to x-rays. That's when the blood-drenched figure of a suffering Jesus was discovered to have an unexpected feature: its teeth are human. See for yourself:The teeth are unlikely to be relics, and were probably donated for use in the statue when it was made in the 18th century. … [Read More...]


A Novena to Saint Edith Stein

On August 9th, 1942, Edith Stein (St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross) was gassed to death at Auschwitz along with perhaps a thousand others. This brilliant and holy woman, a Carmelite nun and convert from Judaism, was one of many Hebrew Catholics rounded up by the Nazis after the Dutch bishops protested the racist policies of Germany. Pope Pius XII had prepared a similar condemnation, but fearful that it would lead to an even larger loss of life in all areas under German control, he decided … [Read More...]


We Broke The World

As I read about the horrors unfolding this week--capping weeks of inconceivable violence aimed at Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities--I found myself utterly unable to express anything about it in words. I've held off several posts on topics that seemed trite in the midst of such events, finally just Going For Cute as a respite from the unbroken gloom. I wish I had something profound to add to the commentary my colleagues and others have been offering about the terrible e … [Read More...]


Rocket and Drax: The Early Years

Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) holds a baby raccoon.One of our favorite moments in Guardians of the Galaxy was Drax trying to comfort a grieving Rocket by gently petting his head. It was a small moment, both funny and oddly touching at the same time. … [Read More...]


Prayer of Reparation for the Actions of Satanists

A group of Satanists has acquired the precious Eucharist and is planning to defile it in a public ceremony on September 21st. I'm not going to detail the specifics since they are easy enough to find if you so wish, and publicity is really the main point of these actions.Desecration of the Eucharist is standard practice in Satanism, although when and how often it occurs we have no way of knowing. In this case, we do know that the Eucharist will be desecrated at a particular time and place, … [Read More...]


Google Tip Leads to Pedophile Arrest

Last year, Google committed to reducing the flow of child porn through their services, adding 200 full-time staff to the task of building complex algorithms to scan for certain images and slashing pedophile sites from their search engine. Although Google is particularly diligent in their efforts, they are also just following the law designating ISPs as mandated reporters who have to report images of child sexual abuse to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.What's surpr … [Read More...]