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

Papal Hi There

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...]

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...]

Did Mahony Crib a Joseph Notion from a Patheos Blogger?

sede vacante

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...]

With less than a day remaining of Benedict XVI’s pontificate…

Benedict's last night

(AP Photo/Source)Tonight, no lightning strikes; mere hours away from the of Benedict's pontificate, a bright beam shines from the heavens and the absence of gloom almost gives a shiver: a light shines in the darkness, a light ever-ancient, ever-new.Since the day and night have left us thoughtful and -- the effect of our happy sadness -- a little dreamy, I thought I'd give you a few particularly nice, or particularly interesting pieces about the Once and Future pope.First the Once: … [Read more...]

“I will not forget the lessons you have taught me…” – UPDATES


You all know I am not a sentimentalist.I'm always suspicious of emotionalism and of course, tough-as-nails, right? But I am human! And this video which Kevin Knight put up at New Advent got me all verklempt!It's just priests, saying thank you to Pope Benedict. But it's very moving.And with this sort of thing, that so few of us even knew about, it's like, "yeah...thank you for that, too!"UPDATE I: And a video of young people saying thank you, too!UPDATE II: Fresh off of … [Read more...]

Benedict’s hope lies in the reach of a monk’s prayers…UPDATES

Subiaco Cave

(Subiaco Cave, where St. Benedict of Nursia lived)My piece at First Things this week looks at the point and the lesson behind Pope Benedict's embrace of monasticism over his remaining time on the papal throne:The failure is heard in the shrieks of pain, ignorance, and hatred directed at the Church throughout the chambers of mainstream and social media; it is seen in the faithful priests and laypeople who read one awful headline after another and continue on, but with increasingly … [Read more...]

Benedict has never looked so worn out

This picture from L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO took my breath away. It's copyrighted, so you have to go to the link.But be prepared for how worn, thin and unwell Pope Benedict looks.He is an introvert. Hopefully when he has removed himself from the Throne and has quiet time and solitude, he will recharge a little.I do not think he will be our monastic prayer warrior for very long. But I am sure that while he is in his monastic phase, we will be helped by it. … [Read more...]

Am I a Cynic, or Simply Observant? Both?


Since I am both socially inept and an introvert (not an automatic blend; I'm just a particularly clumsy amalgam of the two) to me, watching from sidelines is altogether preferable to deep engagement. This has made me pretty observant, or at least that's what I took from it when my mother -- reaching for an answer when queried as to why I was "so odd" -- said, "well, she's very observant..."Two really excellent columns by women I admire have crossed my screen today, and in both cases, I found … [Read more...]

Predicting the Pope: the ultimate sucker’s bet – UPDATED


“I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected.”That is what each Cardinal Elector will say each time he approaches the altar to deliver his vote for the next pope.Pretty grave stuff, right there; I would bet that each time he repeats that sentence -- on top of all the prefacing vows and promises -- the weight of it is felt a bit more deeply.Imagine being surrounded on all sides by Mic … [Read more...]

Morning Prayer so often aligns with the headlines…

russia meteor

Today's reading (slightly enlarged) from Morning Prayer, Isaiah 53:11-12"Because of his anguish he shall see the light; because of his knowledge he shall be content; My servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear."Therefore I will give him his portion among the many, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death, was counted among the transgressors, Bore the sins of many, and interceded for the … [Read more...]