Ken Howell Update

The other day I wrote of the firing of U of I's Ken Howell, who had taught “Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought“ and other courses on Catholic doctrine, understanding and reason:The Howell story, however, goes beyond grim: it tells us that a simple charge of thinking incorrect thoughts and encouraging others to also dare to think, even if one comes to a different conclusion (“All I ask as your teacher is that you approach these questions as a thinking adult . . .All I encou … [Read more...]

The Clampdown; Shirley Sherrod & Ken Howell – UPDATED

Here we have the presentment of two job losses:Shirley Sherrod gives a speech; within the speech she indulges in a bit of roundaboutation, saying some things that seemed offensive, until the larger context was understood.Because the embrasure of "politically correct speech" has encouraged reactionary hyper-vigilance as to words, sentences or modes of reasoning that might steer too close to the movable line known as "hate," Sherrod's edited remarks were immediately received as such and … [Read more...]

Hyundai Goes too Far?

It begins with the Agnus Dei - what they are chanting here is "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us."A most excellent prayer.It is unfortunate that such a prayer is lost in the mess of images, here:Every Catholic blogger I know is getting emails about this. Lots of really angry people out there who feel like the ad goes too far.One blogger emailed me saying, "I wanted to shrug it off as dumb until I saw the pizza-as-communion shot."I can understand why … [Read more...]

A Family of Heroes

If you are looking around and feeling like the world is bereft of heroes, allow me to introduce you to a family made up of them. We need to know that grace abides in the world. Here is grace. In buckets.When young SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely was killed in action near Yusufiyah, Iraq, his father Robert penned a moving memorial which the Mudville Gazette picked up.Robert Stokely then created a scholarship foundation in memory of his son; it also raises money to send school supplies to … [Read more...]

A Most small-c Catholic Drama

Over at Pajamas Media, I have a piece that you might call an addendum to my weekend article at First Things.In 2009 an Arizona woman, pregnant with her fifth child and suffering from pulmonary hypertension (an often, but not always fatal complication), consulted with her doctor and the ethics committee member on call — a Catholic Sister of Mercy — and obtained an abortion at the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.As the story has gone public, the reactions have been predictable across r … [Read more...]

Hilarion: "No longer a competitor but an ally…"

Pope Benedict XVI & Archbishop Hilarion I mean all due reverence when I say that I have been a fan of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (his site has been in my blogroll for as long as Archbishop Dolan's, at least) for some little while.As a musician/composer/scholar/monk he rings my maternal bell by reminding me of my own sons. Like Pope Benedict XVI, he is a brilliantly gifted man and prolific writer, who is nevertheless an accessible joy to read.The lack of taste for solitude and silence … [Read more...]

"Martyrs Made Our Faith"

Martrydom of St. Cecilia, Stefano MadernoWhile in Portugal this past week Pope Benedict XVI talked about Christian witness, and faithfulness, within a secularist world: “Seek dialogue, but be ready for martyrdom.”The pontiff's remarks on the need for Christians to be ready for “the radical choice of martyrdom” were a tidy lead-in to today's New Testament reading:They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Sa … [Read more...]

The Paradoxes of Christianity -UPDATED

***It seems that Bill Maher, who has never demonstrated more than an adolescent understanding of religion, wrote recently in Newsweek, “The problem with faith ... is it kind of screws up your priorities. Your priorities shouldn’t be about saving your own (butt), which is the focus of Christianity.”Over at the National Catholic Register, radio host Tony Rossi writes:Is [Maher] right?Of course we Christians do want our souls saved so we can spend eternity in heaven. The concept Maher ignor … [Read more...]

"What does the heart long for?"

These Benedictine Nuns of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation in Barroux, are so lovely to look at and listen to that I had to share the video with you.The community of Benedictine nuns of Our Lady of the Annunciation is born 1979. Four young girls were gathered around Mother Elizabeth and, following Dom Gérard, wanted to also "experience the Churches tradition." After moving to different locations, they can turn to find common ground near the town of Le Barroux in 1983. Today, the … [Read more...]

"I forgive the man who raped me…"

Recently, writing about the terrible scandals of the church and the need for the hierarchy (and others) to do penance, I added:The fullness of healing, of course, can only come when the victims finally feel capable of saying “I forgive you…” That moment -which cannot be compelled and does not mean forgetting- is the moment when a victim takes his life back. When a victim says, “I forgive you,” she confers her own power over the entire situation, and controls it. It is transformative; it brings … [Read more...]


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