PRISM: Political Theater, fast change, Snowden idolatry – UPDATES

Part of my morning ritual involves logging into Twitter to see what people are talking about -- to get a sense of the mood of things.Today, the mood was unnervingly manic and whirling; it gave me a sense of vertigo -- really of chaos. There are simply so many scandals, so many stories, so many concerns, solutions, opinions. People railing on the scandalous garbage leaking out of the State Department. The submerged Benghazi story. The getting-lost NSA story; the becoming-distant IRS story -- … [Read more...]

Strange Gods Now on Kindle and my Sally Field Moment

Color me very grateful for the interest in Strange Gods and I have felt a little helpless when emails and social media messages asked when the book would be out on Kindle. The answer, finally, as of right now!I'm also grateful to folks who have been very kind in their assessments of the book, although I do have to admit that Terry Nelson from Abbey-Roads blog -- one of my favorite blogs, I don't link to enough -- gave me a start. I happened upon it this weekend and read: "At first I thought, … [Read more...]

“The Whole World in Her Hands”: A Gyno-Maniacal War on Men? – UPDATED

shutterstock_61345183 (1)_War on men

My First Things column this week draws on the coarse and destructive hook-up culture that has been not only embraced by women but is in some ways being driven by them:Writing for The Atlantic in September of 2012, Hanna Rosin argued that the “hookup culture” so prevalent on college campuses and in the lives of young adults is “an engine of female progress—one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.” She wrote:To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the ex … [Read more...]

Catholicism and Nationalism Do Not Really Mix – UPDATED

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...]

The Knox Bible is a Treasure

Knox

My First Things column this week takes a look at the madness that is upon us in these final days of a deplorably long and seemingly never-ending electoral season, and then shares what I have been using to lift myself out of the funk and fug when the headlines, opinions and debates are all-too-heavy:Still, there is a restlessness, and in recent weeks, when that feeling comes upon me, I have found an outlet in an unexpected source—Baronius Press’ newly released edition of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s t … [Read more...]

St. Monica, Mothers, Manutergium and Father Michael

photosourceToday is the feastday of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, whose tomb I meant to visit on my last trip to Rome, but got sidetracked, because I am an idiot. As the mother of two young men, I need her help!Her feastday has Fr. Michael Duffy thinking about his mother and the mothers of priests and the manutergium:In recent years many newly ordained have carefully set aside these purificators in a bag with their name on it so that they may retain this purificator and … [Read more...]

Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]

Beatifying Newman, Neri & More

Chapel Shrine of Bl. John Henry Newman, Oratory Church of St. Boniface, Brooklyn. Image mine

One of the books I'll be trying to read while in Rome is John Henry Newman; Prayers, Verses and Devotions, from Ignatius Press.Just as it seems like St. Philip Neri, my Patron for this year, may have had a hand in making Rome a suddenly reality (when I discovered that our lodgings are very near his Oratory, I could almost hear him laughing), finding this book--in perfect condition--in the "used book" bin at church seemed like a gift, too. Since Pope Benedict will be beatifying Newman on … [Read more...]

Pratchett from 2004: “Too Big to Fail”

It's not prophecy. It's not a fine or proved economic theorem. It's not even life imitating art. It's simply the way one Master Grifter recognises the cynical underhandedness of another Master Grifter. And how a very smart novelist understands the constant con:From Terry Pratchett's inventive and smart novel Going Postal, at that point where the sympathetic shyster, Moist von Lipwig, charged -on pain of death- with re-tooling the defunct Ankh-Morpork postal service, understands the … [Read more...]

Pratchett and The Truth

Given the dishonest, troubling and bizarre move by this administration to define journalism by who does or does not make them uncomfortable, and to actively work to shut down those outfits they don't like, I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Terry Pratchett's novel The Truth.The Truth is yet another excellent entry into Pratchett's marvelously wrought, satirical Discworld; we meet William de Worde, a fellow who manages to reluctantly invent journalism when he encounters some … [Read more...]


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