Talking with Matthew Bunson: Sherlockian and Catholic Scholar

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One of the loveliest moments of my career occurred in Pittsburgh, during the 2011 Catholic Media Conference, when Dr. Matthew Bunson strolled up to me and wondered if I wanted to get a cup of coffee. I did, and our conversation was a delightful and unusually frank first chat between strangers.Matthew Bunson wears many hats; he is Senior Correspondent for Our Sunday Visitor and a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and serves as editor of The Catholic Answer magazine, … [Read more...]

Girls and Guillotines: Glorifying God

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If you're not subscribing to The Catholic Answer Magazine (which you should because it's a little six-times-a-year gem of Catholic information on scripture, doctrine and tradition, but I won't scold!) I hope you're at least liking the OSV Twitter account so you can click on to some of its goodness!The July/August edition is particularly rich, as it examines Eucharistic Adoration, Concupiscence, the Eastern Churches and the Carmelite Martyrs of Compi├Ęgne. Much of that is behind the paywall -- … [Read more...]

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...]

When a 375 Word Rebuttal is just not Enough – UPDATED

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Image courtesy of shutterstock.comA few days ago I received an invite from a major US newspaper (one I like and even count among its contributors a friend or two) asking if I would be interested in writing a 375 word rebuttal to an editorial; its publication next week will apparently identify the problems within the Catholic church, as this editorial board sees them, and would proceed (I presume) to make its recommendations as to what the church should do in order to (again, I presume) get … [Read more...]

An Exclusive Look at a new Word on Fire Project!

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Do you remember how I sang the praises of (and gave near-constant recommendations for) Father Robert Barron's book, Catholicism; A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, and his Catholicism Series?Do you remember how much you loved the book, and then the DVD series, which was so beautifully shot and so richly informative that PBS eventually picked it up?Do you remember how much you wished the project would keep going, because it fed the faith intelligently and brightly, but in an accessible … [Read more...]

Failing…in love again

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"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." - First reading at Mass, from 1 John 4:17-18(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)As Popeye would say, "well, blow me down."I fail at love all the time -- grievously -- and when I consider how often that failure is connected to fear, I have to say, this is pretty spot-on.There is a great deal I do not fear; usually for me fear is … [Read more...]

Benedict: @Pontifex Does Real Theology in 140 Characters – UPDATE

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(Image shamelessly cribbed from Lisa Hendey's post)Pope Benedict XVI launched his first tweet today, on this feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to much fanfare.And then -- like the rest of us -- he found the act so ridiculously fun and ingratiating that he did it some more! And yes, he is answering questions:Q: How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives? A: By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in … [Read more...]

“Shepherds lead as they follow” Even to Twitter – UPDATED

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Anyone who thinks that Benedict XVI's foray into Twitter is not, in its own way, shaking the earth, needs to pay attention. If you check out the #AskPontifex you see a roiling energy -- the feed is teeming with it -- aggression and curiosity and timid love and preening hatred are crashing into each other. It reminds me of dark water a few hours before a storm.I like what Sam Rocha has written about it, here:Why would he come here, to this wild place? Why dwell in virtual reality, this … [Read more...]

Twitter Advice for the Pope and What to Ask Him?

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So, two days ago the Vatican announced the Pope's new Twitter handle and relative hashtags. Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has amassed about half a million English-speaking followers (he will tweet in 8 Languages) and there are innumerable (and sometimes irreverent, often downright hateful) questions awaiting him at the #AskPontifex feed. The pope is not at a loss for reaction or, for that matter, advice. Our friend Brandon Vogt offers His Holiness Five Suggestions as he becomes a Tweeting … [Read more...]

“Our Life is Over Like a Sigh”

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That astonishing vestment (to me, beautiful-in-message-and-execution) is making the rounds, on Facebook. It's a vestment specific to the day, as we celebrate All Soul's Day -- a day when, as Dawn Eden reminds us -- we remember that our loved ones are still with us, and that we are still connected to them via prayer.It's good to remember that our time on earth is short -- that, as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said, "we are made for eternity" and not just for our brief sojourn, here.Our … [Read more...]


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