Kolbe and Therese

I was delighted to learn that Maximillian Kolbe visited Lisieux before his mission to Japan to pray to Therese, who wanted to be a missionary and is the patroness of missions. It’s always cool to see the way the saints work together. Here a Polish pope and an Albanian nun. There a French nun and [Read More...]

Protestant Charismatic Snake Handlers

As some readers may have picked up, I’m always fascinated by the lunatic fringe of religion. Here’s some information on the real famous snake handlers of America’s Appalachian region: What’s interesting is that it is not something which is dying out. The article here was written in 2003. Indeed, the practice is spreading. I also [Read More...]

Islamic Snake Handler

No, she’s not a Protestant Charismatic Snake Handler from Tennessee. She’s a Sufi –a spiritual strain of the Islamic religion. Geesh, those charismatic snake handlers get around! I wonder if the Sufis have ever heard of the Toronto Blessing where worshippers swoon, fall down, break out in uncontrollable laugher. Some of them grunt like pigs, [Read More...]

Interview with a Vampire…

…well author of vampire books anyway. Here’s my interview with Anne Rice. It’s also the first piece I’ve had published in First Things. [Read more...]

Latin Mass at Merton

There’s a conference on the Latin Mass going on at Merton College, Oxford at this time. This is a picture of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass being celebrated there. More pictures at New Liturgical Movement. A snippet of trivia: I once played Horatio in a student production of Hamlet in Merton College Chapel. Hamlet? [Read More...]

The Dark Knight

I’ve just been to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. My verdict is to quote the old Ogden Nash poem:  Here is a good rule of thumb Too clever is dumb. It was way too talky. They had to tell me all their deep philosophical thoughts about anarchy and chaos etc. They had [Read More...]

Rowan Williams’ Speech

Here’s a report from Archbishop Rowan Williams’ latest speech at Lambeth. It is an impassioned plea for tolerance, listening and unity. Someone has asked why I am picking on the Anglicans so much. First of all, this summer is a hugely historical time for the Anglican Communion. Whether they split up into a hundred pieces [Read More...]

Unity and Uniformity

Some critics of Catholicism like to point out that Catholics are also divided. “Look here!” they cry, “You Catholics also have liberals and conservatives. You have homosexual priests. You have women pushing for ordination. You have New Age theologians and the majority of Catholics ignore Humane Vitae, don’t believe in transubstantiation etc etc.”  Of course [Read More...]

The Subjectivity of Religious Experience

Fr Jeffrey Steel writes here on the slippery subjectivity of religious experience. He’s criticizing the liberal’s reliance on personal religious opinion, but the same criticism applies to all forms of Protestantism. What interests me is how the same types or arguments are used by conservative charismatic Protestants as the Liberals they so despise. Try this [Read More...]

Now For Something Very Cool

Last Friday was the Feast of St James. At Santiago de Compostella in Spain they use the six foot high thurible on the feast day.  Here’s a clip showing it in action. More from Creative Minority Report. [Read more...]

Waffle House

More waffle from Lambeth: This article explains a new proposal to discipline unruly Anglican parishes and dioceses. Parishes or dioceses that break the rules and ordain and consecrate homosexuals and have homosexual marriages could be ‘suspended’ from the ruling Anglican Councils and parishes and dioceses that break away to align themselves to orthodox bishops will [Read More...]

Definition of Anglicanism

Once again Damian Thompson highlights an Anglican detail that reveals all: He quotes the Bishop of Rossdale (who he??) “We have been a Church which has been held together by belief, as contained in the historic creeds, and not by agreeing to particular statements about that faith.” This is such a classic piece of Anglican [Read More...]

Brideshead Abandoned

Here’s a review of the new Brideshead Revisited film, saying it is soul less and superficial. Seems to be the general consensus. I think  I’ll go see the new Batman film instead and stay home to watch the old Granada series again. [Read more...]

Cardinal Levada’s Letter to the TAC

Here is Cardinal Levada’s reply to the Traditional Anglican Communion’s request for formal reconciliation with the Church. (H/T Jeffery Steel) It’s not much more than a ‘thanks, we’re working on it’ letter. [Read more...]

The ABC Urges Unity

This article tells us that the Archbishop of Canterbury urges Anglicans to resolve the tensions and seek unity. Not exactly a show stopper… One of the things that made me join the Catholic Church was the realization that the Anglican Church never did have unity. It had the appearance of unity. Have you ever been [Read More...]

Hello Mudda Hello Faddah

Here I am at Camp Granada.  Or at least was….and it was Camps Kahdalea and Chosatonga This week I: Said Mass daily for campers and staff Heard a good number of informal, “Could you please hear my confession father…” confessions. It’s always a joy when a young person actually asks for confession. Played Santa Claus [Read More...]

Spiritual Alzheimer’s?

Damian Thompson reports on some sharpish truth telling going on at Lambeth. Only it’s not the Anglicans who are speaking clearly and forthrightly, its one of the Catholic cardinals. He’s said that there is such a thing as spiritual Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and makes a not so subtle hint that the Anglicans suffer from it. [Read More...]

Tough Little Girl

Why is Flannery such a Catholic writer and not just a writer, or not just a writer who’s Catholic? I think it’s the tough little girls in her stories. The tough little girls are the wise ones. They’re survivors. They see the two contradictory elements of truth that sum up the Catholic vision: on the [Read More...]

Off the Chart

Wow! I don’t often comment on the number of hits I’m getting because it sounds like I’m a sad geek checking sitemeter every five minutes, but on Monday I had 3700 hits and Tuesday 2800. Where’s everybody coming from? I checked the referrals page, but there’s nothing special there. [Read more...]

Flannery Favorites

My time as Camp chaplain is part retreat, part vacation and part work. On Monday I went with a van load of kids to take part in a rock climbing competition. Lots of enthusiasm, sweat and skill. I managed to get on the wall myself and it was not a pretty sight. Anyway, we won. [Read More...]

Lambeth Zulu Conference

Damian Thompson has his usual acerbic coverage of Anglican affairs. His blog points out that the Lambeth Conference is going down the drain real quick. Someone has organized the bishops into discussion groups they are calling ‘indabas’ which is some kind of Zulu tribal meeting. First of all, this seems incredibly patronizing to the Africans. It [Read More...]

Accept the Power of the Holy Spirit

In the end, life is not about accumulation. It is much more than success. To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God’s love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, [Read More...]