Racking Up My Balls So You Can Crack Them! UPDATED

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Like billiard balls on the table, I am sort of scattered all over the internet just now, so, let's rack these things up and then you can have a crack at me.Earlier this week Kathryn Jean Lopez published Part II of our long interview last May. Reading oneself seven months later can be interesting, and self-instructive.KJL: “When something is true, there is no point in arguing. We cannot make anyone believe anything.” How does that gel with the Gospel mandate to evangelize?Scalia: Jes … [Read more...]

John Allen’s Stark Reality of a Global War on Christians – UPDATED

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Deacon Greg Kandra has linked to the words of an Orthodox Priest, Fr. Peter-Michael Preble, who is sketching out the difference between what American Christians perceive as persecution, and what what real persecution is:Are you, as a Christian, prevented by anyone from setting up a Christmas tree in your home? Are you, as a Christian, prevented from attending the church of your choice on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?. . .Have armed rebels stormed your church or home and taken you hostage … [Read more...]

Should Religion Just Shut Up on Policy Matters? – UPDATED

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That's the question currently being bandied about over at Patheos' Public Square page, where a Druid, an Evangelical and others are piping up.From the Catholic side, Joseph Bottum -- whose book An Anxious Age will be out in the spring of 2014 -- picks up more or less where he left off, last August, when he argued that our social condition is such that we've moved beyond the question.Sounding a bit exasperated, Bottum writes:Read the Creed, for God's sake—not a single line of which … [Read more...]

When Hating Oneself, the World, and God Seems Like Right Reason

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There are times when -- all too innocently, because we have not been mindful of what is before us -- we give too much license to a dead past that cannot be changed, and then we lose our handle on things. Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, we conjure from the ether of our past a solitary-but-sharply-outlined idea, and then suddenly, one after another, memories begin to fall upon us, like bright orbs called from galaxies far beyond, and much better kept in the distance. Our disappointing families … [Read more...]

Abuse cover-ups about more than a “clergy culture” – UPDATED AGAIN!

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(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)Over on Facebook, our friend James Martin, SJ noted that the National Catholic Reporter, in a long editorial, applauds Archbishop Jose Gomez for his public disciplining of Cardinal Roger Mahony:Gomez's words are a direct contradiction of the weak defense that Mahony has advanced for years . . "Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem," Mahony wrote. In studying for his master's degree in social work, he … [Read more...]

Prayers for Kitty and Three Others…

Some of you may remember that about six months ago my son's fiance "Kitty" dealt with a burst appendix and many complications. She's been having increasing pain and discomfort for the past few days, and today it reached the point where she really couldn't function, so they are waiting for doctors to tell them whether they can do an office visit or must go back to the ER.I haven't spoken to Kitty, but I can imagine she is feeling pretty upset, if not by the pain, then by the potential havoc … [Read more...]

CAN AN AGNOSTIC BE DIVINELY INSPIRED? “Babette’s Feast” Is a Eucharistic Allegory From an Unlikely Author

You probably know at least a little about Danish baroness and plantation owner Karen von Blixen-Finecke. She was the heroine (Meryl Streep) who had a passionate but ultimately doomed love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter (Robert Redford) in the 1985 romantic drama Out of Africa. She was an author who wrote under the pen name “Isak Denisen.”But you may not remember that she was an agnostic.My husband and I recently pulled out our copy of the film Babette’s Feast (Danish: Babet … [Read more...]

THE POETRY OF FAITH: Once Upon a Time, Belief Was Normative

Chesterton with a small child

Doesn’t it sometimes seem that you were meant to live in a different age?  That the world has turned and somehow, you didn’t get the memo?I ran across an article on “The Poetry of Faith” which appeared in Time Magazine.  Published on July 1, 1946, it offered a thumbs-up review of a new anthology of Catholic poetry by the British poet Alfred Noyes.  “The greatest writing in human history,” said Time, “is religious writing.” Oh, how I ache for my beloved Church to be once again held in such … [Read more...]

Bad Benedictine; "I love you, go home!"

As I anticipate coming into my tenth year as a Benedictine Oblate, I rejoice that the effect of Benedictine spirituality in my life has helped me to become less savage than I was, although I am still quite feral in some ways. But, as I explain in my latest column at First Things, there is a part of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict that still has me stymied: Benedictine Hospitality, and St. Benedict's dictum that we must receive everyone we encounter as receiving Christ. I have a long way to go, … [Read more...]

The Healy Brothers; a Thrilling, Shameful Story

February is Black History Month, and to kick it off historian Dr. Pat McNamara brings us a fascinating story that thrilled and shamed me. What a remarkable family of faith existed in the sons and daughters of Michael Healy and Eliza Clark; they became priests, nuns and even a bishop emerging from their home in Georgia, where mixed-race children were called "slaves." But none of it came easily or peacefully in 19th century America:By any standard, the Healys were an impressive family. … [Read more...]


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