What's New in the Catholic Portal? – UPDATED

If you haven’t checked in lately at the main landing page for the Catholic Portal here at Patheos, you may have missed a few new faces and developments!

First up, please welcome new columnist Julie Davis, better known to all as the Happy Catholic who also manages to run a foodie blog, read classic books to us and then read some more. Did I mention that she has a book coming out soon (I’ve read it; it’s great!).

Julie’s column is called A Free Mind; she’ll be here twice a month, or so, to talk about books she’s reading and thinking about, or film, or other media. Knowing Julie, it’s going to be mostly books. I expect to see the appearance, very soon, of Zombies in our midst! In her first column, Julie brings us the ideal of Chivalry ala Le Morte d’Arthur, and comes to some interesting conclusions:

The last place I expected to find instruction for daily Christian living, however, was at the court of Camelot [. . .]

First and foremost in these tales, Arthur is a “Christian King.” Not surprisingly, that is the key element we have forgotten, and it is made obvious by the symbolism that flows through the stories. Meetings are held on Pentecost, a mysterious woman has a chalice that must be filled with blood, and successful knights often become hermits.

Knightly chivalry—set forth so long ago as an example of how to live a Christian life—has lately become more of a joke than an ideal, yet what gripped me and challenged me as I finally read these stories was precisely that; the ideal of chivalry, which, like the old man in [Monty Python and] The Holy Grail, is not yet dead

Where Julie takes this is what makes reading her such a delight. If chivalry is not dead, she surmises, then there must be a way to re-thinking it and reapply it to the lives of 21st century men and women. You’ll want to read it all.

Also new to the landing page, a little thumbnail that tells us to Return to Rome via Francis J. Beckwith.

That would be the blog of the “Evangelical Catholic” professor, author and all-around good fellow (come on, look at that picture!)who also doesn’t have enough to do! Francis has been writing for a few months out of the Evangelical Portal but we thought his unique Catholic perspectives might add an interesting patina to this place, too!

Also, they’ve been here for a few weeks, now, but if you have not yet checked out Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Lenten-themed column Slubgrip Instructs; Luciferian Lessons for Lent, you are missing some profoundly convicting stuff put to you in a cleverly-voiced homage to Screwtape. The column is an extension of Longenecker’s The Gargoyle Code, which is itself a kind of loving tribute to C. S. Lewis’ classic. UPDATE: Fr. Dwight’s fourth installment is here.

And of course, don’t forget our Israelite Without Guile, the singularly brilliant, entertaining and very smart Max Lindenman, whose every column makes one sit up, at some point, and say, “what the what, now?” and then get one to thinking, even if one would rather not.

Look for some additional new faces in the coming weeks, all of whom will compliment our already-great list of columnists, bloggers and guest writers, and a few changes in layout, as well: the Summa This, Summa That blog, which has been so thoughtfully contributed to by Pat Gohn, Tim Muldoon, Kathy Coffey and um, me will become an archival thumbnail in a little while, as we roll out a more dynamic space with which to quickly link our readers to interesting reads, both secular and religious, throughout the day!

And yeah, we’ve got some other plans, too. But I don’t want to get you too excited, all at once!

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