How to Idiot Proof Your Parish and Diocese Against the Sexual Abuse Crisis

The idiots in question are ordinary people like yourself, busy, overwhelmed with responsibilities, always trying to figure out which situations are the most desperate and which are okay enough to leave be for the moment.   Elizabeth Scalia and others report on the latest round of resigning bishops, and here's the thing you need to understand: That diocese is just like yours, and by that I mean it is filled with people like you.--> In the unlikely event that you're one of those people who … [Read more...]

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What Not to Read When You’ve Got a Rash

I don't have a rash, so I can read this book:Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Guwande.What it is: Published in 2003, so technically it's sort of old, in medical-technology years, but no, not really I don't think so, the book is a discussion of the imprecisions and hazards of practicing medicine, told from the point of view of a freshly-minted surgeon.You get a combination of riveting stories (including a time Dr. Guwande really screwed up), statistics, … [Read more...]

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Transvestites and Conservative Christians Meet Minds at the Cult of Prettiness

Being pretty has never come naturally to me.  I like the concept in theory, but I don't have the patience for it.I grew up immersed in that world where gender-equality was translated as prove you can do everything a boy can. The going entertainment-industry trope was the odd-couple pairing of the pretty girl who was beautiful but whiny and useless with the tomboy who got things done and then got a makeover at the end of the movie.That culture breeds misogyny.  Given my natural spread of s … [Read more...]

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What Not to Read When You’ve Got a Cough

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Tip for you: Don't read a book about the history of tuberculosis while you're laying around listlessly with a persistent cough.On the other hand, it's a great book.  When you want to learn a little bit about a new topic, children's non-fiction is a good place to start.  I actually picked this one out for my daughter, who's interested in gory topics, but then it was sitting around, so I read it. Now I'm double glad I didn't drag myself to that packed church for a funeral Mass … [Read more...]

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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...]

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The Perverse Pleasures of Chronic Illness: Ordinary Colds

Late this afternoon I gave up all pretense that my runny nose might be allergies and conceded the ugly truth. It's a cold.  Minor disappointments follow: Missing the Pentecost sequence again (I hate that), missing the chance to go to Mass on Memorial Day again (double hate).Now what usually happens when you are a sickly person who comes down with some kind of common complaint is that people who love you immediately inform you of all the reasons you are responsible for your fate:You've be … [Read more...]

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How to Start a Discipleship Group the Easy Way

Having just observed how desperate Catholics are for serious discipleship, I'd be remiss if I left you hanging on how to meet that need. Here's about fifteen years of experience with discipleship groups across a variety of contexts (evangelical, Catholic, young adult, grown-ups, mixed-generations, mixed-gender, single-gender, etc. etc.) summed up in a blog post that will, yes, actually tell you what you need to know.To start a discipleship group you need three things:1. A leader.2. … [Read more...]

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