Are You Smarter than a “Prominent Catholic?” Archbishop Cordileone Rocks the Gospel.

The trouble with being Catholic is that there's not a quiz at the door.  One can thus rise to "prominent Catholic" status without knowing anything much at all about the Catholic faith, as readers of The Chronicle will have observed in the advertisement taken out by San Francisco citizens deeply concerned that Archbishop Cordileone is acting like a Catholic.It's not a particular surprise that the signatories are confused about their faith, since they also seem to think Pope Francis reads th … [Read more...]

May You Skip Your Penance on St. Patrick’s Day?

I have an irrational aversion to dressing matchy-matchy with the liturgical calendar, which backfired Sunday.   I started to grab the pink sweater -- nope, that won't do on Laetare Sunday.  Blue sweater.  What scarf? Purple scarves rejected, grabbed the green-print one, thought myself perfectly safe.  Not so. Apparently the Sunday before St. Patrick's day is when the die hard enthusiasts sport their green suits.  But I was okay with that, because: St. Patrick.There's just nothing wrong with a … [Read more...]

Christian Community and the Loss of Penance

In a private forum, someone asked why Catholics don't talk about acts of penance so much anymore.  Why so little discussion of fasting, self-denial, self-mortification, and the like?  It's out of vogue.I floated a thought or two (summary: I'm Exhibit A for Poor Penitential Performance), and someone came back with the observation that penance is something we're expected to do all on our own. It's not communal.I replied: I think that's true. We have all kinds of self-chosen suffering tha … [Read more...]

What Makes a Good Penance? 3 Tips for Mid-Lent Adjustments

Good news: If your Lent needs some improvement, there's no law that you can't adjust your personal penance mid-stream. Here are a few things I've found helpful for ordinary Catholics to consider when figuring out whether a chosen penance is realistic or not: 1.  Is it consistent with my state in life? A lot of spiritual writing is done by people who aren't, say, on call 24/7 caring for young children.  While it is good to examine your responsibilities and ask whether you need to adjust your pr … [Read more...]

Five Reasons I Love Ashtags. Actually Six. And a Youtube Video.

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I know these people who don't love ashtags.  People like Monique Ocampo, who is even giving up selfies for Lent.  I get it, but I am not these people.  Five reasons, six for the intrepid, and the first one will shock you:Reason #1: I like people.I particularly like the people I'm friends with on social media.  So I like to see photos of them.  It makes me happy to be able to see you with your cat, or your birthday cake, or your brand new, freshly-repentant ashes.  It's like getting Christ … [Read more...]

50 Shades of Arousal Disorders: BDSM and the Moral Life

If you browse among the purveyors of sex toys, which you most emphatically should not do, among the offerings you'll find all the regalia of oppression and humiliation.  BDSM as a variant on traditional women's porn as sold at the grocery store didn't come out of nowhere.   Long before the intelligentsia were conflicted in their literary analysis by the clash between "cutting edge" and "terrible writing", the neighbors were busy acting out sexual fantasies straight from the annals of Amnesty In … [Read more...]

How Do You Build a Community of Disciples Who Observe Catholic Liturgical Culture Together?

Earlier, I answered Melanie Bettinelli's post on the challenge of communal feast day observances with a calendar: Here's what we do to observe the liturgical year at our house.  If you read through my litany, you'll see that we enjoy a combination of private celebrations, parish-centered celebrations, and many observances involving a small community of Catholic (and other) friends.  We are, in all, quite blessed.  I didn't answer her deeper question, which is, "How do we get there?"She wr … [Read more...]


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