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 … [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: … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]

What’s Left of the Left? Did the Grand Old Party Get Old?

The election has passed. Obama won the big one and the list goes on and on from there. Casualties in every direction. 2014 and 16 loom thick and heavy already, as depressing as that seems. What did we learn? I hope someone learned something. Especially the so-called "Left" and the GOP. Now remember: I'm a Catholic mercenary, unbeholden to either party. I have no dogs in this nation-state fight. At least not right in the middle of it. Just howlin' on the fringes, the margin. A Conservative … [Read more...]

Thanking the Candidates, All of Them

Those who read and know me understand that my politics tend toward the cynical. Especially during election season. At Mass today, my wonderful pastor broke through to me in the way that good priests do from time to time. He changed my attitude a little.His voice and demeanor carried a heavy, languished sense of relief. Confusion, too. He's told me about how elections wear on him because he finds the candidates and their parties to be such imperfect options for Catholics. He doesn't … [Read more...]

Abstention is Still a Choice: The Power of Negative Voting

Atheists go nuts when they stand accused of believing in something, despite their unbelief in the existence of God. Theists usually make this accusation in a simplistic, easy, and clumsy way, deserving all the distain that atheists have for it and more.But there is another way into this argument that ought to disturb atheists and theists alike: negative theology. The dark, apophatic path to God.Hold that thought.Alongside this thread, there is another conversation going on. Have you … [Read more...]

Suffrage as Nihilism: Voting is Dead

VOTE

I've seen and heard an election dogma that can only be described as pure, unadulterated nihilism. A complete void of being. It goes as follows: "it doesn't matter who you vote for, the only important thing is that you vote." Another version plays with words a bit: "the only wrong choice is not to vote."How clever!The implication is clear: who or what gets elected isn't important; the only thing that has importance is that someone, anyone, gets elected. It may not even matter … [Read more...]

Dead White Guys at First Things

Today, I'll refer you to as essay that came out today at First Things: Dead White Guys.The essay is autobiographical, sharing some of the perils of the academy and the predicament of late modernity in the West. Here's an excerpt: I learned—primarily from white men—what a wretched thing my newly acquired Western canon was. And how disempowered I had been at the hands of Homer, Augustine, and Dante. Doing the very thing I once thought was the path to socio-political empowerment, I came to fin … [Read more...]


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