Gay Marriage, Slack Parents, and Religious Ceremonies: An Even Simpler Solution

The usually sensible Fr. Longenecker proposes that the Catholic Church get out of the civil marriage business as a way to avoid being forced to officiate at same-sex ceremonies.There is a much simpler solution: We could decline to offer Catholic wedding ceremonies to couples unless at least one of the two is a practicing Catholic.We already try to do this, witness the massive hoops that Catholic couples are forced to jump through in order to get a church wedding as it stands.  We attempt … [Read more...]

Six Months ‘Till Christmas: Feast of John the Baptist

I had this long rocky relationship with the Liturgy of the Hours, which finally came to a peaceful resolution when the breviary and I admitted that really what I want is the Office of Readings.  Turns out it doesn't matter how many helpful people suggest Morning, Evening, or Night prayer as the ideal place for beginners to start, what I need is the Geek Hour.  Some people use their feelings to stir up their intellect, I use my intellect to stir up my feelings.  I'm backwards that way.So last … [Read more...]

The Terrible Problem with Laudato Si’

"Living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to the life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience."Laudato Si' 217 The difficulty, the dreadful, unspeakable, shield-your-eyes difficulty with the Pope's new encyclical on the environment comes down to one nasty problem: The man is right.For the popular press, hoping all this time that Pope Francis would be something new and different, created in the image of The Today Show, t … [Read more...]

Love, Death, and the Communion of Saints: There are Movies for That

My chief occupation this Memorial Day was doing things to prevent my lungs from making interesting squeaky sounds (no, really: the squeaking was fascinating -- and harmless, as it happened, which adds to the appeal), and that means watching movies. These are the ones that are worth your time, and I'm looking at you, Julie Davis. Still Life A decade or so ago I inherited a collection of poetry, one of those mass-market-intellectual anthologies that was so popular back when all we had for the … [Read more...]

Letter to a Discouraged Evangelist

I wrote the following in response to a "What would you say?" question from Sherry Weddell, who shared in a private forum the comments she'd received from a discouraged-but-faithful Catholic.  The details hardly matter. We all know the territory.  Here's my answer, and couple follow-on comments come after. *** Dear Friend in the Field,You're absolutely right. Catholics are horrible and evangelization can drive you mad. It's pretty common for people who are serious about the faith to go through p … [Read more...]

Why Does the Ascension Matter?

This is my annual reminder of why we bother with all this Jesus business.  If you're not in it for this, I'm not sure what you're doing.  First ran at the Wine Dark Sea. *** We think of atheists as the people who actively deny the existence of God, but there’s a much more pernicious and widespread atheism among religious people today: Faithy-ism. We talk about God, and do God-themed activities, but we don’t really mean it.  It’s all just a metaphor.  Our spirituality consists of our deeply felt … [Read more...]

The Kissable God

The feasts of the liturgical year intertwine.  At Christmas we adore the baby Jesus, cuddly, but it's on Good Friday that the liturgy invites us to come forward and give that grown-up baby a kiss.  God become man, a man we can hold, and touch, and thank.  And then on Easter, Mary Magdalene, apostle to the Apostles, mistress of tenderness, embraces that Man and is told to let go: There is more still coming.There is still more coming.  From the God who can be kissed.Happy Eas … [Read more...]


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