"Are you a woman of God?" UPDATED

That's the question Sr. Lisa Doty got from a kid in trouble:“Yes, I am,” I responded, “is there something I can do for you?”Looking down at his feet, he stammered, hardly audible, “I’m not sure what you can do, but I really could use your prayers.” He went on to explain how he had gotten into a lot of trouble at school, and as a result of it, he was expelled. Naturally, his folks are angry, and they worry he won’t be able to go on to college. “I’ve ruined everything! I have no future now!” Te … [Read more...]

Did Benedict Stir the Water on Purpose?

Did Pope Benedict know he was sparking a debate with his responses in Light of the World?I suspect he did. Benedict is not stupid, and he's not unsavvy about media; he knows the press is reactionary and slavish to the sensational - that they would grab his answers to Peter Seewald and run with them, and that after their first noise, some of them would actually settle down and seek to understand, while others never would.Meanwhile, the faithful would be jarred from their torpor, and … [Read more...]

Pope, Condom, TSA & Crucifix – UPDATED

With a title like that, what else could I be talking about but my Tuesday column:I had been driven to the crucifix because I had become overwhelmed with the media/internet cacophony that had followed L’Osservatore Romano’s weekend revelation of Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on the use of condoms in certain situations, and by the uproar over newly put-in-place TSA regulations on pre-flight searches and pat-downs.In both cases, reactions were swift, and they varied according to agendas but fe … [Read more...]

Benedict, Condoms, Humanae Vitae – UPDATED

"O Lord, in your light we see light itself." --a 1st Antiphon of LaudsIn the comments section of the post below, the subject of Humanae Vitae has arisen. I am of the opinion that Paul VI's encyclical was prophetic, but poorly taught and too quickly dismissed; its message was unwelcome in an "if it feels good do it" era.Deacon Greg notes that what Pope Benedict has said in Light of the World is not appreciably different from what Paul VI proclaimed in 1968:"The Church does not consider at … [Read more...]

Pope & Condoms – UPDATED & UPDATED & More

The press loves its "Rottweiler narrative" on Benedict, but he has confounded them on it, over and over again. Sooner or later they will realize he was never the hammer they claimed he was. He has always been extremely pastoral; wedded to the truth while aware of human complexities. And here he is, proving it again:As a book launch it is certainly bound to move some product, but expect the usual clarifications that always appear about 4 days after the press has blared a headline as subtle as … [Read more...]

The Heroic Ordination at Dachau – UPDATED

Deacon Greg brings us a look at a secret ordination that took place at Dachau:Leisner was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and in Dachau his condition began to deteriorate. Fearing that the great dream of his life -- to be a priest -- would never be realized, he and the priests in his cellblock secretly sent a petition to a local cardinal (aided here, and in so many areas, by a heroic nun known as the "Angel of Dachau," Sister Imma Mack.) The cardinal granted permission for a French bishop … [Read more...]

"Blood and Forgiveness"

When Deacon Greg Kandra showed me his homily for yesterday, I wrote to him that he had written "the best piece I have yet seen on the slaughter of Iraqi Christians; it rounds out what is missing in the secular coverage."One of the [Iraqi] parishioners put it so simply, and so beautifully. He said that he returned because the week before he hadn't finished his prayers. I need to finish them, he said. A woman with a bandage around her knee told a reporter, "We forgive them. We're not afraid. … [Read more...]

Out of Iraq: the Gospel Message Writ Large – UPDATED

Our Lady of Salvation Church, IraqIn the gospels, Our Lord made it very clear that to claim His salvation and his Name was to put oneself at odds with the world. His cross is a sign of contradiction, and our lives are meant to be, as well. In truth, Christians should be happy, not angry, when the world despises them; it despised Him, first. If the world loved Christians, or loved the church, it would indicate that the church (or the Christian) has become too much "of the world."And where … [Read more...]

Roman Collar as Yoke and Witness

There is a story--or a bit of blarney, I'm not sure which--about why Catholic priests wear the distinctive Roman Collar, all black with just a tab of white showing at the front, rather than the full white collar. I heard it a while ago, and don't remember details, but in this telling it seems that during wartime many priests were easy targets because their all-white collars were easy to see, particularly at night, and so the collar was changed to what we see today, and the rectangle of white … [Read more...]

Dying with Dignity…

It's a lot like living with dignity, actually, as David Mills notes here:I see the appeal of “death with dignity” and programs like those offered in Oregon and the Netherlands, where doctors will help you leave this world at the moment of your choosing, without fuss or bother or pain. I do not want to die and I really do not want to die the way my father did. I would find the indignities as excruciating as he did, and I have no confidence I would deal with the pain as bravely as he. I would not … [Read more...]


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