Catholicism and Nationalism Do Not Really Mix – UPDATED

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The neighborhood where I grew up was a block of "mutts", and my own family boasted Irish-Italian-English-Scots-German muttage, but if you asked any of us "what are you?" the answer, our answer would have been "Catholic" and our Catholicism precluded all of our other labels, including "American." Our culture was American, yes, but it was first-and-foremost "Catholic". We didn't have a flag hanging out the door, but we had a Saint Jude on the doorstep, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the kitchen. … [Read more...]

Golly, this word, “Idol” is coming up a lot! – UPDATED

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I wonder if the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something..Pope Francis has been talking about idols lately, and now we see the word creep into a secular headline: Book: Obama surrounds self with 'idolizers,' plots legacy with scholars.A revealing new book from one of the media's longest serving White House correspondents reports that President Obama surrounds himself only with "idolizers," and top aides make sure that those whose view might "shake him up too much" are shoved … [Read more...]

Talking “Strange Gods” on Catholic Weekend

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When Maria Johnson invited me to come and chat with the gang at SPQN's Catholic Weekend, I said "sure" without really knowing what to expect. I didn't anticipate a party atmosphere at Google hangouts, and I was a little frightened at the idea of talking with four people at once. But when Maria greeted me with a tiara on her head and a tee shirt proclaiming herself "The Queen of Everything" I realized I could have retained my Donald Duck sweatshirt. Tiara aside, I felt overdressed!In this … [Read more...]

“He listened to the girl on GPS. Then to me, for 200 miles…”

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I totally forgot that while taping this interview with Tony Rossi, I had completely revealed myself to be the harridan I try to hide from you, on a daily basis. It's here at about 5:10 into the chat.Tony's blog Christopher Closeup is one of the places I go when I need to decompress, because he always has a perspective-changer up there, lighting "one candle" against the darkness with heartening regularity. I'm not much of a light, but he generously offered to talk to me about my … [Read more...]

Pope Francis Endorses My Book, “Strange Gods”? – UPDATE

strangegodspublished

Well, no, not officially, but I had a little fun on Twitter this weekend, when several friends mentioned Pope Francis' latest tweet at @Pontifex:It just slips in so very well with the whole topic of my book, Strange Gods; Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, which will be hitting bookstores soon. In the introduction I write:Do we stop to think of what it means to have something "before God"? It means to put something "first", yes, but more fundamentally, it means to put something … [Read more...]

“Pope Francis” a snapshot and keepsake of a historical moment – UPDATED

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One of the pleasures of writing for Our Sunday Visitor, either as a freelancer (or pamphleteer!) or as a columnist for The Catholic Answer has been getting to know the great people who make up their editorial staff. Catching a meal with Greg Erlandson in Rome (or a papal audience with Sarah Hayes) only made them more memorable, and working with Dr. Matthew Bunson, who edits TCA is a joy. I haven't fully made a deadline yet, and he's been a very patient fellow about it, indeed!But even if he … [Read more...]

A Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious Theology of Womanhood

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"Each woman's life, well lived, might be the best gospel anyone will ever read. But before the doing, before the carrying out of the mission, there is the being. The personhood of each woman, without her ever saying a word or doing a thing, is a sign of life.Womanhood. Life.Those terms are inseparable" -- Pat GohnOutside of my husband and sons and my heroic and saintly in-laws -- and my dear Benedict, who still astounds me -- I haven't got too many heroes in my life, but Pat … [Read more...]

Interviewing John Thavis: Inside, under and atop the Vatican

John Thavis

After receiving an advance copy of John Thavis' timely new book The Vatican Diaries, and enjoying it immensely, as I relate here, I emailed a few questions to Thavis -- the "retired" former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Services who is currently back in Rome covering the impending conclave, and even blogging at his own site.Since I am so highly recommending his book -- and I really urge you to pick it up as soon as you can, and read it as a lead-up to all the conclave coverage -- I … [Read more...]

“The Vatican Diaries” is one great read – UPDATED

Vatican Diaries

There is an old saying: "if you want to know what is really going on in a city, ask the cabbies; ask the doormen." Watch the main players in all of their theatrics, but talk to the people no one is noticing, because they notice everything.John Thavis, Catholic News Service's recently-retired Rome bureau chief, spent a quarter of century watching the Vatican main players and seemingly talking to everyone, and all of that has translated into a thumping good read. His timely book The Vatican … [Read more...]

“The Pope’s Jews: Pius XII Not “Hitler’s Pope” Afterall?

Portrait of Pope Pius XII

Martin Luther King said "a lie can't live."It can travel around for a while, but eventually, like spinning top that is spent, a lie must tumble .It's supremely interesting to me that at the very moment we are watching the beginnings of an all-out effort by the press and others to "define" the papacy of Benedict XVI, and solidify it in people's minds as a catastrophic failure, King's words are being borne-witness to by newly emerging information about another pope. Pius XII has been … [Read more...]


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