The Gift of Consent

We are a few days past Christmas Day, and Catholics are still caroling. Or, talking about Christmas songs. In a blog post for Aleteia, Simcha Fisher began a discussion of the secular Christmas tune, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” If you’re unfamiliar with this song, which has become controversial in recent years, here is a taste of the lyrics (but do read the whole thing): (I really can’t stay) But, baby, it’s cold outside (I’ve got to go away) But, baby,… Read more

One Size May Not Fit All

Do you remember when you were a kid, putting together your first “grown-up” puzzle? All those small, interlocking pieces, many of them with similar shape and coloring. It was easy enough to find the pieces that ringed the outside of the puzzle, but those inner pieces were more difficult. Sometimes a piece seemed that it must fit in a certain position, but just wouldn’t lock into place correctly. Unless someone older and more experienced with puzzles was there to stop… Read more

St. Maria Goretti: The Girl Who Lived

Every year around this time, I brace myself for the onslaught of social media posts and essays on St. Maria Goretti, whose feast day is July 6. Until a few years ago, I never realized how controversial St. Maria was, and how difficult it can be for some Catholics (especially women) to relate to her. But the more I see on the Internet about St. Maria, the more I understand why some Catholics do shy away from her. Which is… Read more

Grace Flows North from Charleston to Boston

In a courtroom recently, families of victims forgave the unimaginable crimes committed against them and their loved ones, and pleaded with a vicious murderer to repent and find God: “You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. . . . You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. May God forgive you. And I forgive you.” “I forgive… Read more

God Only Knows If I Stay Catholic

Patheos’s Catholic bloggers are currently holding a symposium on Why I Am NOT Leaving the Catholic Church, and I decided to throw my two cents into the discussion. Before I get to explaining whether or not I will remain Catholic, first I’d like to look at a few reasons I find insufficient (in themselves, at least) for staying in the Church. Catholicism is true. Yes, well, so is gravity. And, yet, every year, knowing gravity is true, men insist on… Read more

One Day in the Life of an Apologist

Have you ever wondered why it can sometimes be so much easier to find common ground in discussion with non-Catholics than it is with fellow Catholics? Some months ago, I encountered a Traditionalist Catholic and a Planned Parenthood activist on the same day, and came away asking myself that very question. The day began when I was catching up on the latest on dits in the Catholic blogosphere. I was surprised to find mention on the Traditionalist Catholic news site,… Read more

If Castro Comes Home, It Is a Cause for Joy

Call me cynical, but the moment I saw in my Facebook newsfeed that Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro, was thinking of returning to the Catholic Church, I knew that it would not be a cause for joy for many American Catholics but an opportunity for kveteching. First, let’s take a quick look at the story that’s been making the rounds today: President Raúl Castro said the teachings of Pope Francis had persuaded him not only to take a softer line on religion, but… Read more

The Bitter Spinster’s Guide to Mother’s Day

Over the last week, my Facebook newsfeed has been filling with posts about Mother’s Day. I think it started when someone posted this article, an open letter from a “non-mom” to pastors. Non-Mom had some very good points, including this one: Fast forward several years to Mother’s Day. A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I… Read more

Natalie Portman and Second Things

It seems strange now that I don’t remember the word I spelled to win the school spelling bee when I was in sixth grade. You would think that moment would be bronzed in my long-term memory bank. Instead, I remember two other moments from that spelling bee with crystalline clarity. The first moment was sitting on the stage, looking over at the judges’ table, and seeing the trophy that would be presented to the winner. “I’m going to win that,”… Read more

Baptism “Delayed” Is Not Baptism “Denied”

When I was about 15 or 16, I noticed a small black-and-white advertisement in the back of one of those now rapidly-disappearing oddities called a “magazine.” No, the ad wasn’t seeking mail-order brides or offering unmentionables to be shipped in brown-paper packages. It was an offer of a free correspondence course on Catholicism from the Knights of Columbus. As an unbaptized “cultural Christian,” more or less, I only had a vague idea of what the Knights of Columbus was, but… Read more