A Dishonest “Cosmos”

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When my friend Tony Rossi posted about the cartoon about the life of Giordano Bruno that was inexplicably shoehorned into the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series,  he received a number of negative comments. Tony had asked a few of us with a background in Church history what we thought before he wrote his post, [Read More...]

Our Ancestors Weren’t Idiots

Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher at study. wearing the first eyeglasses ever depicted in art. (Tommaso da Modena, 1352)

I spend much of my of time reading the words and trying understand the thought processes of the medieval mind. Christendom between about the year 1000 and the Reformation was a time and place with a view of the world profoundly different from ours. (The idea of the Renaissance as some great opening of the [Read More...]

The Ashes! They Burnses!

So this story flitted across my feed today: Ashes Burned and Blistered Parishioner’s Foreheads On Ash Wednesday, parishioners of Saint Joseph’s church in Newtownshandrum, Co Cork received their cross ashes on their forehead as many Catholics around the world did, but something different happened at St. Joseph’s. The parishioner’s foreheads began to burn and blistered [Read More...]

The Daily Capybara, And a Bit of Legend

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The capybara is my favorite animal, and not merely because they’re the only red meat you can eat on days of Lenten fast. Well, that’s the legend at least. Supposedly, when the missionaries encountered the capybara in South America, they weren’t sure if it qualified as a mammal or a fish. It has webbed feet [Read More...]

Electronic Resources for Lent

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I’m rediscovering today just how incredible a single piece of wheat toast can taste when you’re fasting. This effect is not incidental to the practice.  In the meantime, I just want to point you to a few electronic resources for making your Lent more holy: Verbum Bible Software is offering a free copy of Lenten Grace: [Read More...]

A Middle English Poem About the Assumption

As a footnote to my posts about the last days of Mary, here’s a lovely little Middle English poem about the Assumption. It’s a pretty easy read, but I translated it anyway to clarify a couple of obscure words. Crist sayde to hur: “Com, my swete, com, my flour, Com, my culver, myn owne boure, Com, [Read More...]

The Dirty Little Secret About Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

You know, this one: It was a wacky, seemingly spontaneous moment in which Ellen and a bunch of stars took a selfie, and then she urged people to make it the most retweeted photo ever. And they did! I think it got almost 3 million retweets. That’s the only reason I even know about: it [Read More...]

When WH Auden Helped Dorothy Day

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Edward Mendelson, WH Auden’s executor, offers this anecdote in his article “The Secret Auden”: At times, he went out of his way to seem selfish while doing something selfless. When NBC Television was producing a broadcast of The Magic Flute for which Auden, together with Chester Kallman, had translated the libretto, he stormed into the producer’s [Read More...]


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