Something Beautiful for Lent: Cultivating God’s Garden by Margaret Rose Realy

The book I've just finished reading is Margaret Rose Realy's Cultivating God's Garden Through Lent.  I'm going to concede it took me a long time to open this one, because I had several stupid book-fears:That the book would be tied to the upper Midwest's seasons, and would be all out of sync for a southern gardener. That the book would be too nice for me.  Margaret is a really nice person. That I wouldn't like it, and that would be awkward, since Margaret and I are writing fr … [Read more...]

Why the Bad Music at Mass?

Fr. Longenecker writes here on why Catholics can't have good music, and he makes a decent historical argument:Suddenly we were flooded with new hymns–most of which had banal lyrics, crappy folk music and trite sentiment. The Catholics didn’t sing the old hymns because they didn’t know them. In the meantime they were having lots of awful new songs shoved down their throat and they (quite rightly) didn’t bother singing them because they knew deep down that they were either unsingable or execrab … [Read more...]

USCCB Hires National Labor Relations Board to Vet Catholic Colleges

Under increasing pressure from the Vatican to come up with something better than "definite progress" and "robust discussion" concerning the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops announced this week that they'd contracted with staff from the National Labor Relations Board to, "help sort things out about those Catholic Colleges and stuff.""It was divine intervention, really," said the USCCB President, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.  "Here we thought … [Read more...]

Screwtape vs. Slubgrip: Fan-Fic? Or do GKC, Belloc, Knox, Lewis, & Tolkien Have a New Colleague?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has released his second Screwtape-style novel, Slubgrip Instructs.  C.S. Lewis fans are understandably wary: Is it possible to write a follow-on work that's more than a pastiche?  The answer is yes, and there are good literary reasons why Longenecker has succeeded.Quick Background: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a novel told from the perspective of the demons charged with tempting a young man.  It's a humorous and insightful look at the pitfalls and glorious rea … [Read more...]

Six Ways to Make Your Confirmation Class More Like an Internet Headline

(Quick update to remind the catechists: This is a blog for adults, not kids. Patheos is not a site for children.  If you want to share this particular post with your class, just print it out and read aloud.  For goodness sake don't send a twelve-year-old here.  But grown-up to grown-up?  Share away.) *** My son and I were talking about click-bait.  If only the Catholic faith were presented more like internet news.  We brainstormed a few possibilities, as gleaned from his confirmation class … [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...]

Playing with Fire: Christ in the Temple

It's the Feast of the Presentation, the very last day of Christmas no matter how you count.  From today's readings: Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. Lent is around the corner.  Here's a tip for you, as demonstrated by today's readings and by all the best carols: You'll always do better if you put a bit of Lent in your Christmas, and a bit of Christmas in your Lent.Have a good one!Artwork: Conrad von Soest [P … [Read more...]