Hating the Holidays as the Precursor to Happiness

You're supposed to be happy now, because it's the holidays.  The rest of the year, a civil disposition generally suffices.  But for the next eight weeks, if you aren't madly in love with every gift, every canape, every delightful holiday fete . . . you aren't just an ungrateful wretch, you're a menace to society. There are Good Reasons to Hate the Holidays The thing about the modern holiday season is that it's come unmoored.  We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, we celebrate Thanks-Getting -- he … [Read more...]

In Favor of Incompetent Housewives

 Your must-read column for today is Calah Alexander's essay on what it's like being part of the current generation of incompetents, "Those Pathetic Millenial Moms.". . .  I was raised by a loving, attentive mother who stayed home until I was in high school. But culture is pervasive. Kids learn it through osmosis, and unless you lock them in a fortress, they’re gonna pick up on it. “Stay-at-home-mom” had a negative connotation for me from the time I began hearing “mom” qualified as su … [Read more...]

A Right Relationship with Sister Death

The media is gushing over another high-profile suicide, which is of course high-profile precisely because the media chooses to gush over it.  What sane people do, when they learn that someone is contemplating killing themselves, is gently suggest a chat with the doctor about pain management.  Or they come over and help with the laundry. Dear Reporters, You are allowed to use both your brain and your moral sense when choosing how to cover a story.  When someone calls you with a big Suicide Sc … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – Prostitute Nation and a Jar of Perfume

If you want to understand the clerical food fight portion of this month's Synod on the Family, what you need to know about is sexting.Not the Catholic kind, the other kind.Your must-read article for this month is The Atlantic's feature Why Kids Sext.  It's long, and you should read the whole thing.Points to ponder as you do so:Louisa County is normal America.  There's nothing "different" that explains why there was suddenly a website full of students' naked images running on I … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – The Universal Cure for What Ails You, Ecclesiastical Edition

Synod Survival Tip, and this works for parish and family life too: If you find yourself stuck on the grumpy loop, rehashing over and again the failings of Cardinal Clueless or Father Frustrating, pray for him as if he were dying.That's right.  Imagine your nemesis on his deathbed, about to face his eternal reward, and pray as if his very soul were at stake.  If you are correct in perceiving just how far he has strayed from his vocation, then his eternal soul truly is in grave danger even no … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – In Which Justice & Mercy Try Dating for a Bit

The overall theme of this month's Extraordinary Synod on the Family seems to be this: Catholics stink at being Catholic.  No, really, we're terrible at it.  Now what?The specific topic is everything that has to do with family life, marriage residing at the heart of that.  It turns out Catholics, like the rest of the world, aren't any better at marrying than we are at, say, remembering to read the parish bulletin.  And yet, weirdly, we still long for a deep, lasting, soul-rousing relationship … [Read more...]

Three Secret Spiritual Benefits (for You!) of Bringing Your Children to Mass

At ladies' Bible study this past week we were talking about our prayer lives, and one of the moms worried that with small children in tow, she just wasn't "getting much out of Mass."  This is a common worry, but it's unfounded.  Yesterday as I watched the mom in front of me do her best with a pair pew-scramblers, I was reminded of the three genuine spiritual benefits that can only be had by bringing wiggly, noisy, naughty children to Mass. 1. You learn the Mass. Want to learn something?  Teach … [Read more...]


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