Christian Calamities: A Taste of the South to Help You Choke on America

There's been pearl-clutching in odd quarters ever since Pastor Mark Burns, a South Carolinian, delivered his benediction on the Republican party.  I am not a Republican and I won't be voting for Trump, and I don't think you should either.  I am dismayed by the weaselly justifications some of my fellow Christians are spouting these days in their support for the GOP candidate.Still, it amuses me that the professionally-impious are suddenly offended on our Lord's behalf for what is, as I will sh … [Read more...]

The God Who Does Not Meddle

This Lent I've been reading from On the Passion of Christ According to the Four Evangelists by Thomas à Kempis. I keep losing the book, so my progress is slow, and hence this thought for Good Friday from relatively early in the Passion: The populace cried out: We have a law, and according to that law he must die because he has made himself Son of God. Upon hearing this, the governor became frightened and asked: Who are you? The fear of God is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Pilate is s … [Read more...]

Is Catholic Lent Too Easy? + Lent-o-Rama – UPDATED

UPDATED: Ted Seeber saves Lent by reminding me that no Lent-o-Rama is complete without This Time of Forty Days.  I love you, so I post it here:Now resuming our previously written post . . .A friend posted this useful infographic on Lenten basics, but observed that the current norms seem like an awfully light penance.  They are.  At this time, the Church has, in her wisdom, chosen to throw out a little test: Are you in or aren't you?Are you so very intractable, so very rebellious, … [Read more...]

Why Mention 5,000 Men, and Slight Those Women and Children?

As I mentioned the other week, Sr. Simone Campbell has shown herself to be a dreadful sexist (and a bit of an atheist) in her reflection on the Gospel accounts of the feeding of the 5,000 men.  The question she posed, however, is a good one.What she wanted to know is: Why do the Scriptures give a counting of the men present so specifically?  We can't even say the authors were using the term "men" in a generic way to mean "mankind" or "people."  The Bible clearly states that the estimated at … [Read more...]

When Your Priest is a Jerk

So I have a couple priest-friends who can pretty much match me for jerk-power, but it works out because we know each other.  We can do something stunningly stupid, and those who know us will put that low moment into the overall context of all the other things we do, shrug, and tell us to straighten up and fly right.This is how it is with all your friends and family.  Because you live together, you see them at their worst, but you also see some of their bests and mostly their middles.  I can b … [Read more...]

The Rosary and a Rule of Life When You Haven’t Got Time

Happy All Saints Day!  I'll be staying home with a cold, thank you.   Which is why we want to talk about the super-novena that begins today and finishes up for Christmas.Here's the story: I stink at praying.  I used to be okay at it, but real life kicked me in the rear, and I'm not one of those people who takes every trial as an opportunity to watch less TV so they can pray even more.If, to take last night's example, my throat is painful to the point of distraction, this does not make me … [Read more...]

The Right to Life and the Right to Grief

To grieve is a natural right.  It is a human right.  We have the right to grieve for the suffering and death of those we have known and loved intimately, and we have the right to grieve for those we have not known at all.  It suffices that another person is a fellow human being, a person endowed with inherent dignity and worth; that person's suffering or death is, by its very nature, worthy of our sorrow. The moment we advocate for the direct, intentional killing of an innocent hu … [Read more...]