Lenten Rookie Mistakes

ash wednesday

[This post originally ran, in a slightly different form, in the National Catholic Register in February of 2013.] ____________________________________________________________________________ I feel like I can't walk ten feet without bumping into an enthusiastic new convert, which is delightful, and so encouraging!  Welcome, everybody!  We papists have a little saying:  Venite intus; horribilis est!  Heh.  Anyway, you may be looking forward to your first Lent with enthusiasm but … [Read more...]

Where Be Story Editor?

Roland Joffé's new movie, There Be Dragons, is about half a good movie.  What is good is so good that it makes the bad parts doubly frustrating. Let's start with the good.  The best part was, happily, Charlie Cox, who plays Opus Dei's founder, Josemaria Escriva.  Knowing very little about the actual man, I had none of the mental baggage that can trouble a fan ("That's not how I pictured Mr. Tumnus!").  The Fr. Josemaria he portrays is a strong, happy, humorous man who is not like other … [Read more...]

Gung-ho

image source Most serious Catholics have had this experience:  all on fire for some bracing, difficult truth that seems central to our lives, we march forward in a fine, fervent frenzy, and rip a new asshole for everyone in the room -- in service of the truth.  Because, as it says in scripture, "The Lord thy God wants you to rip everyone a new asshole." The problem with this approach is twofold: (1)  People are generally not much swayed by the, "Listen up, jerkwad, and I'll teach you … [Read more...]

So tell me: Marriage Prep

All this talk about young married couples has sent me on a trip down memory lane, back to the old days when my husband was naught but a boyish husband-to-be, and I was a blushing maiden of 22.  And by "maiden," I mean I was 22.  Ah, yoot! We did go to marriage preparation classes.  They were held by another couple in their comfortable home.  It was a little too comfortable, as I recall:  they installed me next to the fire in a rocking chair, and I damn near fell asleep every night as … [Read more...]

Why doesn’t the Church just make a list?

image source When Catholics talk about NFP, someone always asks rather plaintively why the Church doesn't just clear up all the confusion about what does and does not constitute a legitimate reason to avoid a pregnancy.  Why not just make a list:  on the right, good reasons for postponing a pregnancy; on the left, bad reasons? Obviously we should still pray and try to discern God's will for us -- but why does it have to be so vague?  Why doesn't the Church just give us a break and spell … [Read more...]

The Jerk Returns!!!!!!!

Oh, but first, come see my post at the Register:  "Not like that!" The spirituality of The Mummy.  The post may be silly, but it's witness to a miracle:  I was able to figure out how to post videos on a new platform while propitiating the feral kid, who sits behind my back and makes me play the squish game while I write. But you don't want to hear about me; you want to hear about .  . . . THE JERK! To newer readers:  there is this guy.  He's called "The Jerk."  Simcha is not The … [Read more...]

Time for married priests?

Why doesn't the Latin Rite Church just start ordaining married men again? If men can't or won't stay celibate, then why force the issue?  Well, I peeked into the future, when married priests are commonplace, and this is what I heard in the pews: "Well!  I see the pastor's wife is pregnant again!  What is she trying to prove?  Must be nice to pop 'em out year after year, while the parish has to support all those brats." or: "Well!  I see another year has gone by and the pastor's wife … [Read more...]

More hope for religious art

Elizabeth Scalia posted a link (on Facebook, not on her blog -- but she always has tons of good stuff, so check it out!) to this sculpture of the Annunciation, by John Collier: (photo source:  The Deacon's Bench) I know it's just about impossible to make a judgment based on a photo, but what do you think?  My first thought was that it made reference to the statue of Apollo and Daphne by Bernini: (photo source) The artist seems to be stressing the significance of the fig … [Read more...]

Bless the Lord, O my sole

Guess what?  I'm fat.  About seven permanent pounds for each kid.  I usually manage to lose some between pregnancies, but after baby #8 was born, I just kept gaining. My husband thinks I'm beautiful, but I don't.  I hate wearing special sizes with labels like "Curvy Coordinates!"  "Luscious Lady Plus!"  "Gee, Your Ass Looks Enormous!"  Being fat feels bad, but knowing I'm still gaining feels horrible. The real misery is in feeling like I had no control. Many and many a time I've … [Read more...]

La Blabbatore Romano

I'm not a moral theologian, and every time I try and play one on the internet, I regret it.  On the other hand, it would be kind of weird not to acknowledge the brouhaha about the Pope's comments that L'Osservatore Romano leaked, apparently following its mission to act as the poorly-informed, half-senile uncle who blurts out crazy stuff and makes things so awkward around the holidays.  Sorry about Uncle Romano -- he . . . he doesn't really represent our family.  Just give him some more pie, … [Read more...]