Cardinal Dolan Explains His Decision to Serve as Grand Marshal, Affirms Gay Identity

NewYork StPatrick

In a column today, Cardinal Timothy Dolan responded to criticisms of his decision to accept the honor of Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. "According to the critics," he wrote, "I should have refused, due to the Parade Committee’s decision to allow a group of self-identified Gays of Irish ancestry to march in the parade with their own banner."  While he shares some of his critic's concerns, he's standing by his decision: "the most important question I had to ask myself was t … [Read more...]

I Quite Rightly Pass for a Relativist


The time has come for some confessions: I've never read a Jane Austen novel, I'm charmed by Natalie Dormer's smirk, and I quite rightly pass for a relativist.If there's an unforgivable sin among these, it would be the last; although the first is a total FAIL given that I majored in English. I know, you've all just weighed and measured me and found me wanting.I deserve your scorn and intend to atone soon for this privation. My relativism, I fear, is here to stay.What does this mean? … [Read more...]

Bigger Role for Effie Trinket in Mockingjay Film

Effie Trinket Mockingjay Poster

I'm glad to see Effie Trinket, the escort for Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games, getting a larger role in the remaining films. The new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I shows Effie (Elizabeth Banks) wearing drab grey instead of her customary frivolous and excessive array of color.Like so many people in the Capitol, Effie identifies and understands herself in what she wears and the face she shows, so her transition to the less fashionable dictates of District 13 is no sma … [Read more...]

Bearing the Unbearable

Vivian with Mom and Dad

I will never comprehend the loss of a child. Knowing this from experience, I read with a heavy heart Kerry Weber's touching meditation on the death of her newborn niece. I recommend it wholeheartedly--it is a testament to the love that speaks eternally.Her story is similar to my own. Five years ago this month, my wife gave birth to Vivian Marie, our second born and our first daughter. Since Holy Week of that year, we knew that Vivian's time with us would be too short to bear but long enough t … [Read more...]

Is My Faith a Fraud?


This world can be so unbearably depressing. I don't expect a happy ending, only more war and more hunger, more waste and more broken dreams. At times I feel like blue skies, fresh air, and laughter are the most fleeting of all things, little more than distractions from the hurt we cause one another with malice or indifference. When the earth can no longer sustain life and our stupidity then nothing will remain and it will all have meant nothing.I know people find comfort and solace in their f … [Read more...]

The Popular Myth of Redemptive Violence


Something I'm thinking about today, as I remember the violence of the past and hear anew the promise of perpetual war: "The myth of redemptive violence is, in short, nationalism become absolute. This myth speaks for God; it does not listen for God to speak. It invokes the sovereignty of God as its own; it does not entertain the prophetic possibility of radical judgment by God. It misappropriates the language, symbols, and scriptures of Christianity. It does not seek God in order to change; it … [Read more...]

God is Our Mother


Is the fatherhood of God a replaceable metaphor? Frank, writing at Letters to the Catholic Right, argues that it is. Christians, he writes, can instead call God by other metaphors, such as Mother, without the strands of orthodox theology and doctrine unraveling. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry responds that God's fatherhood is an analogy and not a mere metaphor: "Christian Tradition has always (and, it seems to me, unimpeachably) held that God’s fatherhood is not simply a metaphor that could be costlessly … [Read more...]

Pro-Lifers Can’t Be Vague about Abortion Penalties


Arguments made by pro-life activists tend to focus on why abortion should be against the law, not on what sanctions would be appropriate. That may have to change.Recent events in the news highlight the legal consequences of abortion policy women face now, when abortion is largely legal, if restricted. In Texas, police entered a high school after a fetus was found in a girl's restroom. According to the local news, the police considered whoever was responsible to be a suspect. The child abuse … [Read more...]

Faith Healing and Religious Liberty

Jesus Heals Faith Healing

Last week, the Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a faith healing case. Jacqueline Crank, who was convicted of child neglect after her 15-year-old daughter died of Ewing's Sarcoma, is trying to convince the state Supreme Court that faith healing, on which she unsuccessfully relied for her daughter's treatment, should be legal for everyone.People who rely on faith healing typically object to medical treatment on religious grounds. When children under their care become sick, they … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?

Prosperity Theology

In a qualified defense of Victoria and Joel Osteen, Matt K. Lewis asks, "if you love God no matter what, but also believe that loving God might somehow naturally lead you to attain a more prosperous life — what's wrong with that?" Is it wrong to believe, based on Scriptural promises, that "prosperity will be a natural byproduct of a deep abiding faith"?Yes, it is. To connect the deepness of faith and the strength of love with worldly prosperity and success is spiritually unhealthy and da … [Read more...]