A Meditation on the “Hail Mary”

As I noted the other day, I’ve been trying to be more attentive in my prayer, not merely in the sense of more aware of which prayers I do say but more importantly in intentionally reflecting on the words of those prayers—the individual units that make up whatever I am asking of God. What has become clearer for me is that petitionary prayer is never just a question of requests—worse yet, demands—but instead a rich mode of contemplation. The words… Read more

A Meditation on the “Our Father”

How glorious a prayer it is; a safe haven against all manner of anxieties and pains. Read more

What Is Religious Art?

Does our definition of religious art matter? Read more

For Those Considering Leaving the Church

People leave the Church for many reasons. In our time, there are some who depart because of their commitment to specific political ideas that soon enough manifest as theological ones. In this camp, I would put traditionalist-leaning Catholics who identify with the American or European Right. Orthodoxy often becomes, at first a reasonable, and before long, an irresistible, alternative to the state of the current Catholic Church. When one is deeply concerned with issues like immigration and the (often nebulous)… Read more

Catholic Modesty Fetishism

This is post is not about modesty as such. To go on about our cultural sexual and other missteps would take an entire other post (or several). My interest is, instead, in how modesty has itself become a commodity to be fetishized within (largely Traditionalist) Catholic circles. This is not surprising; sadly, it’s merely proof of how inescapable the logic of contemporary capitalism is, how charged with power the ways of the world are. Nevertheless, we’ll have to start with… Read more

Distracted Prayer

At this point, it’s trite to say that we live in a world of distractions. Trite, but true. As with all such things, the trouble is learning to breathe new life into a truth that has become old and stale, ossified through the pressurized heat of repetition. Indeed, that we carry people with us after we die, that those who live by the sword often die by it, are no less true in spite of their green-hued, once-copper dullness. So… Read more

Catholic Politics in the Age of Francis and Trump

As many of you know, an article in La Civilità Cattolica has stirred up a veritable tornado of responses. The piece, on its face, makes a point with which I agree: the alliance between Protestant fundamentalism, American conservatism, and Catholicism has become untenable (which is not to say it was ever meaningfully tenable anyway). The authors’ point, however, is marred by a deficient understanding of why and how this synthesis has broken down. Ross Douthat, himself often associated with the conservative-fusionist… Read more

Dying Before You Die

Memento Mori, the Ars Moriendi, the Danse Macabre, even Fish Fridays—the Church has developed many ways of reminding us that, well, we are supposed to die before we die so that we don’t die eternally when we do die. Put more simply, we’re supposed to die to the world so that we may have eternal life, mirroring Christ’s own death for the salvation of all. Angelus Silesius captures the point well: Saints do not die. It is their lot, To… Read more

Depressive Catholicism

It would be wrong of me to identify as “depressed.” For one, I’ve never been diagnosed. Frankly, unless things were to get impossibly bad, I’m resistant to the idea of what I see as medicalizing a variable and temporary condition (I wouldn’t describe my “depressiveness” as clinical). In my eyes, and in the eyes of many theorists and poets before me, anxiety as many experience it is a particularly modern quality. This isn’t to say that no one felt sad… Read more

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