Miley Cyrus, Syria and the Head of Saint John the Baptist

A great deal has been written this week about 20 year-old Miley Cyrus and her maniacally over-the-top performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. As Mark Shea points out, as the world stands on the brink of something dire and deadly the public seeks only bread and circuses, which the bottom-line-obsessed press serves up with such alacrity that satire cannot surmount it.The headlines are grim, but they're bare blips within our awareness. Who wants to read about constitutional ethics, war … [Read more...]

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So, what IS the “new evangelization?” – UPDATE

In Catholic circles, everyone talks about "The New Evangelization", but explaining what exactly it is, is not always easy. In my column in this issue of The Catholic Answer Magazine, I more or less "go to the sources" to help give solid examples of The New Evangelization, in Theory and Application:Weeks before his death in 2005, Pope John Paul still appeared at his apartment window and, unable to speak, showed his faithful attention to the people and received theirs in return. His mere … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis Allows Gay Priests to Exhale – UPDATES

Lots of exploding heads on the internet today, thanks to this headline, which will, naturally, be over-emphasized by the press. But it is certainly worth noting:Pope Francis says he won't judge gay priestsPope Francis reached out an olive branch to the gay community Monday, saying that he won't "judge" gay priests."If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"The pope's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with … [Read more...]

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Papa and Pop-Pop, Side-by-Side as Christians

What a day it is! With the release of Lumen Fidei and the announcement of canonizations of Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, today is all about continuity, cohesion and co-operation: the announced canonization of two modern popes; the release of an encyclical composed by two modern popes, "written with four hands" but with one heart; an unexpected moment when two modern popes sit side-by-side and ask our great angelic warrior, Saint Michael the Archangel, and the most humble of … [Read more...]

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Putting Away the Labels to Hear/See Each Other

Under it's new editor, Matt Malone, S.J., America Magazine is doing a very good thing:America aspires to nothing more than to live up to the fullest meaning of our motto, to pursue the truth in love, for as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written,“The only strength with which Christianity can make its influence felt publicly is ultimately the strength of its intrinsic truth.” The fundamental truth of Christianity is personal, the person of Jesus Christ, the one for whom love and for … [Read more...]

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Hated the Red Shoes, but Pink Sneakers are to Die For!

When Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his papacy and was succeeded by Pope Francis, one particular fact seemed to delight the press -- and Benedict-haters -- more than any other: Francis was not wearing the red shoes!Google his red shoes (once incorrectly reported and forever incorrectly misunderstood to be Prada-made) and it feels like more was written about them than Benedict's encyclicals, his books, his travel, his kissed babies. Those red shoes drove secularists, and some Catholics crazy, … [Read more...]

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Let Us Stop Throwing Each Other Away

Happy Easter. Christ is risen, and all things are made new!It's a time to break the chains of old habits, old thoughts; time to unwind and finally toss old tapes; he is risen: "I am doing something new..."On Wednesday, traipsing through my archives, I came upon this post from last year -- the image of a full-term baby tossed into the trash, and my thoughts about it.Upon re-reading it, I thought about how easily we throw people away, everyday, in less dramatic fashion. We throw … [Read more...]

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The Quiet Menace: Fixating on Francis, Missing the Point – UPDATED

Having just gone to confession after mass this morning, it was not my intention to get into a little tiff with a media outlet on Twitter, but being who I am, I couldn't let it go when I saw one of those lazy, thoughtless sneers cross my timeline, to the effect that Pope Francis (good guy) was refusing to stay in (bad guy) "Pope Benedict's luxurious apartments."I needed to disabuse the writer of the notion that Pope Benedict owned anything, including a "luxurious apartment" but that the papal … [Read more...]

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Unusual Liturgy, Unusual Media, Unusual Holy Week – UPDATED

My piece over at First Things this week, recounts the unusual, and ultimately rather empty-feeling Palm Sunday liturgy I experienced last weekend:It struck me as odd that the same people who say they wish to “build up the community of the People of God,” and who often decry what they see as “limitations” to the role of the laity, completely omitted any interaction between themselves and the people in the pews. The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday is the only one inviting lay participation, yet … [Read more...]

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Did Mahony Crib a Joseph Notion from a Patheos Blogger?

Perhaps not. But I can't help wondering about it.On February 27, Joanne McPortland of Egregious Twaddle wondered whether a Pope Joseph I, inaugurated on the Feast Day of the Patron of the Universal Church might not be a wonderful thing for the church:. . .if I were to whisper my wish, which is all any of us could do, I would hope the Spirit and the College of Cardinals would be leaning toward someone who combines the best of my two favorite popes:—a man with the openness to the w … [Read more...]

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