The St. Rose Safety Patrol is Expecting Rain

Lots of rain.Competition in the Gorton Fisherman Lookalike Contest was always stiff at St. Rose's (St. Rose School Safety Patrol, Belmar, NJ: 1956. Photo from Robert Pringle).  … [Read More...]


Christ the Apothecary

There is a minor tradition in art of depicting Christ as the Divine Pharmacist, an Apothecary of the Soul, mixing and compounding the medicine for mankind. In this illumination from a 16th century manuscript, He is shown writing out the prescription to treat original sin. There's no word on whether Adam and Eve had a co-pay. … [Read More...]


Three Nuns Raped, Decapitated

Xaverian missionary sisters Lucia Pulici (age 75), Bernadetta Boggian (79), and Olga Raschietti (82) were raped and murdered at their convent in Bujumbura, Burundi over the weekend. (The Xaverian Missionaries are denying the rapes, which were  reported by Godefroid Bizimana, Deputy Director General of Burundian police. It's currently unclear whether two or all three of the nuns were decapitated.) Pope Francis offered his condolences, saying "Il loro sangue versato diventi seme di speranza per co … [Read More...]


How Social Media Is Messing With Your Brain

The hard thing about social media is to use it without being used by it. I like it just fine to keep in touch with friends, family, and a network on fellow travelers in a variety of interests. It gives me a place to post pictures of my dog, like this:Oh stop, you know you love it.But it's insidious, as I've pointed out before. It can draw us back again and again like the light that lure a moth until it beats itself to death.We just have to find a way to balance it. I've removed … [Read More...]


The Dixie Trinity?

Painting by Clyde Broadway. … [Read More...]


Ancient Christian Text “Charm” Found

A 1500 year old fragment of papyrus was discovered University of Manchester's John Rylands Library. One side is a piece of "scrap paper": a receipt for payment of a grain tax. On the other side of the receipt someone had written Biblical passages from the Psalms and Matthew, including a passage from the last supper.The paper would have been folded up and worn in a pouch or some other receptacle, like folk charms or Jewish phylacteries, in the hope of warding off evil. These charms are a fa … [Read More...]

2014-08-28 16.35.54

Seven Quick Takes: Things I Saw On Vacation

We don't vacate much here, and when we do we try keep it to driveable locations where there's something to do. The beach vacation is simply a mystery to me. I don't understand the appeal of flying somewhere to sit on a beach and work on my melanoma. I don't even like beaches. These criteria make DC/Virginia our go-to region for a little light family frolic. --- 1 ---Mount Vernon I'm in the middle of listening to the Audible version of Ron Chernow's epic, 1000-page George Washington: A … [Read More...]


The Lord’s Prayer Turned Into Prayer To Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan socialist party (PSUV) delegate Maria Estrella Uribe rose to the microphone at the party conference on Monday and said this: "Our Chavez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and we delegates, hallowed be your name. May your legacy come to us so we can spread it to people here and elsewhere. Give us your light to guide us every day. Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from the evil of the oligarchy, like the crime of contraband, because ours is the homeland, the … [Read More...]


The Tunics of St. Ambrose

The Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, first consecrated in 379, was built by St. Ambrose at a site where Christians had been executed. For at least a thousand years (and almost certainly longer) the church has held several silk tunics which tradition associates with the great saint and Father.Now, a team of archaeologists from the University of Bonn, along with restorers, are studying and preserving the tunics. “These are marvelously beautiful vestments of sumptuous silk that have been asc … [Read More...]

Thomas Aquinas: Terminator

The Angry St. Thomas Aquinas Metal Balloon Animal Sculpture

During our travels, we attended mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville). This hulking monstrosity squats outside like an angry sentinel daring people to be Catholic. My son dubbed it "St. Thomas Aquinas Prime" and wondered if it was made of transformium.The parish is actually quite lovely and thriving, with a packed mass of students, young families, and older people. With the exception of the music (a bad 1970s mix-tape of strummed, drummed, and … [Read More...]


Internet, Meet Ivy

Ivy, meet the Internet. They love cute puppies more than porn and selfies combined.I've been wrapping the summer up with a vacation: boating, Mount Vernon, Spy Museum, Shakespeare, and other to-ings and fro-ings. Overall, a rousing success, ending with a new addition to the family.Because I don't want to let the internets down by failing to make my quota of Cute Animal Pictures, here is our new puggle, Ivy:We could never go long in this house without a dog. I still miss my Bella, … [Read More...]

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...]