Tertullian’s Deceiving Devils [Ghosts and the Church]

Pacher: St. Wolfgang and the Devil

In De anima, Tertullian acknowledges the extensive literature about ghosts, but rejects it as a “fraud.” He has specific pagan lore in mind: the idea that some could “call back from Hades the souls of those who are sleeping out their destined time, those who died through violence and those deprived of burial.” His explanation [Read More...]

“Long Black Veil” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series Intro: October is a month of lengthening shadows and stirring shades, as the chill creeps in, all things green turn beautiful colors before dying, and the dark presses ever closer. Country and traditional music captures darkness the way no other genre really does. Songs of loss, damnation, violence, madness, murder, suicide, and terrors of [Read More...]

The Synod on The Family and Technology

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The issue of communion for the divorced and remarried has occupied so much attention in the run-up to the Synod on the Family that the many other topics addressed in the working document are being largely ignored. One issue was how technology effects the family, and I addressed it in two pieces: Tech Addiction: Technology & [Read More...]

Demon Worship on the Man-Eating Mountain

One of many shrines to El Tio inside Cerro Rico

“Outside the mine we are Catholics, and when we enter the mine, we worship the devil.” This jarring quote is found in an excellent story on BBC News about the grim working conditions on Bolivia’s Cerro Rico mountain, where men and boys scratch out a precarious living in the place known as the Mountain That Eats [Read More...]

Ghostly Visions in the Early Church

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The early church fathers were acquainted with ghosts and ghostly visions, as the previous entries on ghosts in Old and New Testaments make clear. Two notable examples of ghosts in the literature of the early church show how they tended to function and be regarded. It’s important at this point to note that visions of [Read More...]

“The Legend of Wooley Swamp” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series Intro: October is a month of lengthening shadows and stirring shades, as the chill creeps in, all things green turn beautiful colors before dying, and the dark presses ever closer. Country and traditional music captures darkness the way no other genre really does. Songs of loss, damnation, violence, madness, murder, suicide, and terrors of [Read More...]

Two Boys Play Chess: Madness Follows

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Matan Poleg (above left) and Omar Eltigani (right) were paired at the World Youth Chess Championships in South Africa last week. They played a game. Poleg won on the 45th move. Outrage ensued. Denunciations were issued. The Sudanese media couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Matan Poleg’s name. The head of the Sudanese Chess Association [Read More...]

Benedict: The Liturgy as a Game

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Reading Ratzinger’s Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy, this passage from Spirit of the Liturgy struck me again as a fascinating analogy (re-paragraphed for ease of reading): What is the liturgy? What happens during the liturgy? What kind of reality do we encounter here? In the 1920s the suggestion was made that we should understand the liturgy [Read More...]

The “Coexist” Bishop

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The Most Reverend Julian Leow will be installed as the 4th archbishop of Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. Here is his coat of arms: Let’s take a closer look at the bottom right symbol: The symbol is called the “Tree of All Religions,” and here’s how they explain it: Well that’s just bullshit. Indifferentism is a heresy, [Read More...]

A Saint Has Passed

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Fr. Benedict Groeschel, who passed away this morning, would snort at the headline to this post, and say something pithy and dismissive in his Jersey accent, but if he’s not already in heaven, he’s well on his way.  He was with us much longer than he thought he would be because, as he always assumed, God [Read More...]

“‘neath A Cold Grey Tomb of Stone” [Dark Country: Songs for October]

Series Intro: October is a month of lengthening shadows and stirring shades, as the chill creeps in, all things green turn beautiful colors before dying, and the dark presses ever closer. Country and traditional music captures darkness the way no other genre really does. Songs of loss, damnation, violence, madness, murder, suicide, and terrors of both this [Read More...]

“Eli Renfro” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series Intro: October is a month of lengthening shadows and stirring shades, as the chill creeps in, all things green turn beautiful colors before dying, and the dark presses ever closer. Country and traditional music captures darkness the way no other genre really does. Songs of loss, damnation, violence, madness, murder, suicide, and terrors of [Read More...]

Dark Country: Songs For October

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October is a month of lengthening shadows and stirring shades, as the chill creeps in, all things green turn beautiful colors before dying, and the dark presses ever closer. Country and traditional music captures darkness the way no other genre really does. Songs of loss, damnation, violence, madness, murder, suicide, and terrors of both this world and [Read More...]

A Novena For Asthma Sufferers

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St. Bernadette Soubirous contracted cholera as a child and afterwards suffered from asthma for the rest of her life. It almost certainly contributed to her death. Thus, St. Bernadette is a good choice as the patron saint of those suffering from asthma and other diseases of the lung. A recent medical crisis prompted me to write [Read More...]

Lost Sherlock Holmes Film Discovered

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A long lost silent film starring William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes has been discovered and will premier at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The find, made a few weeks ago at the Cinémathèque Française, is one of the most important discoveries in both Holmesiana and silent film that I can recall. The film marks the only [Read More...]


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