Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain

If you've never read the remarkable book The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton, you really should consider it. It's not just for Catholics; it is a tremendously readable autobiography of a brilliant man on spiritual sojourn. One of those books you pick up and have difficulty putting down. I quote some of the book - and share how it made me think.Here is a video about Merton and the evolution of the book … [Read more...]

Benedict: The Last 20th Century Man: UPDATED

:::SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE:::It seems almost silly to say I am bringing coverage of Benedict XVI's extraordinary sojourn in America to a close (actually, my final final thoughts are here) because the truth is I will likely be reading all of his addresses more closely and bringing them up in coming weeks, but the wall-to-wall writing will end here. I do want, though, to end with a thought that blipped through my head when Benedict was in DC, and again as he addressed the United … [Read more...]

When you feast…call the poor & lame

A very moving and wonderful storyWhen Beverly Ruiz and her wheelchair-bound son arrived outside St. Patrick's Cathedral early Saturday they had no hope of getting inside.But all that changed when 9-year-old Aaron, who has muscular dystrophy, caught the eye of one of the Secret Service agents safeguarding Pope Benedict.Just moments before the historic Mass began, the federal agent singled out the mother and son and whisked them into the house of worship."After the Holy Father arrived and … [Read more...]

Benedict and Ground Zero

For me, the most moving image of the papal visit thus far was watching Pope Benedict XVI leave the popemobile to walk, gravely and unassumingly, down the ramp at Ground Zero, to pray, bless the ground and meet with survivors and family members.He walked, all in papal white, wearing a light coat against the damp wind, arms to his side, his face solemn, and the world was quiet. And that image - at that instant - seemed earthshaking: the man Peter walking down into that terrible pit of pain - a … [Read more...]

Benedict at St. Pat's & Dunwoodie

Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia has been the indispensable go-to source for complete and timely postings of the texts of each of the many addresses Pope Benedict has made during his sojourn in America. I was happy to see that he (and Fr. James Martin) thought similarly to me, that the pontiff's brief extemporaneous remarks at the back of St. Patrick's Cathedral (upon being reminded that it was the precise moment of his election three years earlier) provided a perfect glimpse into the heart of … [Read more...]

No, Malkin is not Maher

For cryin' out loud, Michelle Malkin is not Bill Maher - not even close - not even in the same time-zone, and I think that is a silly charge to make - one that over-reacts in precisely the same way that some feel Michelle over-reacted.But I can understand why some were unhappy with her post on "Open Borders and the Catholic Elite", which echoed SOME the sort of cynical crap I've seen in nasty emails when I have dared to go against "the base" on illegal immigration. I was very sorry to read, … [Read more...]

Benedict & the sex abuse issue: Bumped & UPDATED

:::SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE::::Fr. James Martin looks at the pope's very long and full address to US bishops at the Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It is a vast and far-reaching speech, and I'm printing it out to read and comment on more fully tomorrow, but for now I'm intrigued by Fr. Martin's focus on the terrible scandals which will always be before us.Even veteran Vaticanologists were surprised that Benedict chose to addressthe problem at such length, and in a public … [Read more...]

B16 gets big at Nationals Stadium – UPDATED

Did it seem to you, as it did to me, that we watched Benedict loosen up or break free a little bit at this mass? Watching him exit he seemed bigger and bolder to me, as though he was growing into his part.I was inclined to like him, of course, through his writings, but I didn't know if I would be put off by his manner. After half a lifetime watching the effusive, playful and outgoing John Paul II, I wondered if Benedict, in person, could manage to inspire in the same way. He does.Benedict … [Read more...]

Benedict so far…

(H/T American Digest)Yes, I said the site would be "wall-to-wall" Benedict for the duration of his visit. I may throw in a video here or there - or something just to refresh myself, but if you're looking for All Things Benedict, this is where we're at so far - I'll be writing more later.Benedict Gets Big at Nationals Stadium (He seemed Bunyunesque!)The Pope on the Sex Abuse Issue (A first-look at Benedict's address to his bishops following Vespers. Includes some personal … [Read more...]

USA sees a very different pope

:::UPDATE: All my Benedict coverage so far linked here:::END UPDATE:::In my piece currently featured at Pajamas Media I note that the reality of Pope Benedict XVI has been very different from the projections of pundits and media gasbags who fretted over his election. As the pope makes his first address to America-at-large on the White House South Lawn, US Catholics, and really, the world get their first up-close look at man routinely reviled as the "hard-line enforcer" and "God's … [Read more...]