The Perilous Trail Through the Culture of Death and Deception

The Catholic faith is difficult to believe.Oh sure, we can give assent to the parts that come naturally to us.  We each have our natural gifts in that area -- some of us glom onto theology, others to kindness and generosity, others to asceticism.    Add to that a bit of struggle, a bit of overcoming, and we arrive at the riskiest moment: The moment when we think ourselves Catholic.Think of it like climbing a mountain.  If you go hard enough for long enough, you can reach a summit of sor … [Read more...]

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In Which We Compare the Cross to an Orange

Or a coconut?  Pineapple, I think.  Yeah, pineapple.Good thing I pre-prayed today's Gospel, because I was getting nothing at all when I went back at it this morning.  Conveniently I had already come up with just what I needed to hear.  The introduction, which just happened to match this morning's state of mind:Take my yoke upon you . . . and you will find rest. Lord, I am willing to suffer anything for You. I offer up all my sorrows, all my frustrations; I will take on whatever burden Yo … [Read more...]

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What’s the Point of Pointless Suffering?

An acquaintance lamented privately about a particular difficulty her family had faced, and the senselessness of it all. She had endured any number of trials past and present, but those had all had meaning. She could see in those other cases how the sacrifices and hardships were oriented towards a greater good. Now she faced a situation that was nothing but purposeless torment.Adding to the insult, she was aware of ways to possibly relieve her family's suffering, but every avenue that offered … [Read more...]

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Will Suffering Make Your Marriage Better or Worse?

Suffering is called "suffering" because it's horrible.  The amount of horror can vary from low-grade misery to unspeakable darkness, and furthermore some types of suffering are harder on a given marriage than others.In addition to objective differences -- a week with a bad cold is less suffering than years of intractable scream-out-loud pain -- each couple is composed of two people with their own strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, as well as their own distinct resources.Thus, for … [Read more...]

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10 Things Christian Kids Need to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

In a private conversation Elizabeth Scalia posed a question, and I'm going to paraphrase it wildly: If you are the parent of young children, are you afraid for what the future holds for them?It's a question people are answering this week whether it's been asked or not: What does the future hold for faithful Christians in a culture that despises our faith?My answer is, very bluntly, is that whenever I've had my head on straight, I've always been terrified and I mean that in a good … [Read more...]

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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...]

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On Racism in the American South and the Shock of the Charleston Shootings

When I first heard about the murders at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church down in Charleston, the news was barely onto it.  So I went where the reporters were going, which is #CharlestonShooting on Twitter.  It's a hashtag that's been used before, for a different white-on-black shooting.  If you peruse the comments with any sense of interest in your fellow man, you'll note the race theme real quick.  At this writing,  half a day later, all the evidence is pointing towards an unequivocally hate- … [Read more...]

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