A Quiet Joy, I Suppose

The easy excuse is "I've been grading." But it's not true. I write most when I'm busy. My productivity thrives on pressure. I've run up on a shore of some kind, somewhere. I don't know what to call it yet. A disposition just shy of melancholy. Paralyzing, in a satisfying way. When sleep finally conquers and washes over you and knocks you out and brings you the rest you need. That sort of paralysis. A surrender of sorts. It's kept me from writing and arguing. It's made me feel a few things, but … [Read more...]

The Politics of Guadalupe

In loving memory of Fr. Sam Homsey C.PP.S. (1910 - 2004) As a teenager, I played basketball on a small cement slab behind the parish rectory where we lived. My Dad was the pastoral coordinator at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (in Brady, Texas) at the time. I was told that the place I played at was once the entryway for a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In that small chapel, there would be Spanish-language Masses offered for the Mexican faithful who attended Mass in Spanish. I d … [Read more...]

A Shepherd Must Be

The man who writes longhand, Pope Benedict XVI, has a Twitter account. Eight of them, to be exact. Maybe more? @Pontifex, in every tongue. What will he say? What will he Tweet? Will he type? What? Questions create hashtags: irreverent, obscene, loathing, adoring, pious, honest, curious, silly, cute and clever. Asking, ridiculing, wondering, defending. Why would he come here, to this wild place? Why dwell in virtual reality, this projection, this wastebasket for time and thought? What brings such … [Read more...]

Haw Wins: Pagan Christianity and the New Apologetics

In my recent reflection on James Wellman's book on Rob Bell, I tried to steer away from dismissing Bell altogether. I tried to be generous without being dishonest. I'm not sure if I did that, but I was left with an aloof sense that I didn't really have my say. "Oh well, no need to always be so critical." I moved on to my next book assignment: From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart. In it, I found nothing less than a complete take-down of the religious fads that Rob Bell and others have come to … [Read more...]

The Beauty and Sufficiency of Catholic Liturgy

Over the past year I've been writing a short book: Liturgy as Mystagogy: An Introduction to a Curriculum of Life. The sentiments motivating that project are one in the same with the memo I posted yesterday about Christmas. The governing idea is a familiar one. It echoes the directives from our most recent popes: we need to build and foster a domestic Church in our homes and families. This is at the very heart of the Year of Faith. Doing it is simple but rigorous. We must submit to the order and t … [Read more...]

Dear Fellow Catholics, It’s NOT Christmas

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,I can hardly believe I'm writing this. It's embarrassing really. I feel like I'm telling someone "your zipper's down." But it's become clear to me that it needs to be said. Please, share this important --- albeit obvious --- note with your friends. Tell everyone. Maybe even your priest.Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Advent is quickly approaching, but it's not here yet. You have to wait to wait.Since it's not yet Advent, it is surely not … [Read more...]

The Scandalous Abortion of Savita Halappanavar

(WARNING: I'm pissed and I'm not mincing words or emotions here. I'm not reporting, I'm venting. I'll post links to other stories and all that jazz later, once I cool down.)These idiots --- who denied Savita Halappanavar an early induction that would have saved her life --- deserve court and confession, prison and penance.These idiots also happen to be my religious kin. They used the word 'Catholic' and their Irish national identity carries a long, storied relationship to my Church. In this … [Read more...]

Bilingual Mass Never Quite Jives For Me: A Note on Translation

Yesterday's Spanish debut was a direct response to posts, on Facebook and Twitter, covering the USCCB's conversation about new media with Catholic bloggers. (Here's a great recap by Leah Libresco, with links to other posts by Patheos bloggers who attended.)I wasn't able to attend, but I gathered that there was some data presented that indicated a disproportionate gap between English and Spanish language Catholic blogs relative to the demographics of the data. My reaction was straightforward: I … [Read more...]

Beso, Abrazo y Ternura

(A note to English readers: this begins a series of Spanish-language essays I will post here weekly.)Pregunta: ¿Que puede ofrecer la cultura Hispana a la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos?Respuesta: Cultura.En el sentido biológico, una “cultura” nace de proximidad y tiempo. Lo que nos falta en los Estados Unidos es el prójimo, la persona que se besa, abraza y ama porque la vida siempre se acaba. La persona que aparece en proximidad.Esta intimidad, tan ausente en estos tiempos y lugar … [Read more...]

The Time to Talk is Now

It is hard to have a conversation when politics are at stake. The news makes fools of us all. I find it nearly impossible to discuss important things in serious ways during election cycles. Besides my close friends, most people suspect that I'm secretly trying to pull a political maneuver. Mistrust abounds.For instance, I've been asked "Why don't you have anything to say about abortion?" several times. I have my reasons. The main reason is that I will not let the sloganeering lexicon rule the … [Read more...]