RFRA Tempts Kristallnacht but Sane Voices Arising?

The day after Kristallnacht, Public Domain, WIkimedia Commons

Well, America -- pitching between lunacy and sorrow -- seems to be reaching a tipping point.The Indiana RFRA story has inspired hypocritical businessmen to declare they won't sell their wares to the Midwestern rubes who won't settle down and think right.It has lured dependable establishment shills into bravely expressing the exact moral outrage guaranteed to get a cheer from the audience.It has assured some in the press that cutting off the microphone of a guest who will not buckle … [Read more...]

Blurred Lines: Religious Freedom and Indiana SB101

Image public domain via Wikimedia Commons, blurred.

Melinda Selmys believes some lobbyists behind Indiana's SB 101 intend to blur important lines of distinction between authentic religious freedom and “Christian freedom.”[While I am still on book-writing break, Melinda Selmys guest-posts about important distinctions that are becoming blurred in our national discourse on religious freedom and the inviolability of an individual's religious conscience. Melinda is a convert to Catholicism, a contributor at Spiritual Friendship, and the author of 4 … [Read more...]

Francis “Endorses Referendum” Denying Gay Marriage, Adoption

Image MyImages - Micha, via Shutterstock.com

At yesterday's General Audience, Pope Francis -- greeting Slovak pilgirms, and apparently referencing an upcoming vote in Slovakia on same sex marriage and adoption -- encouraged them to work "to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society."I'm not sure anyone -- except the most extreme and unrealistic of Francis' haters and admirers, both of whom seem to believe that he intends to upend church teaching any minute, now -- would expect him to say differently. … [Read more...]

4 Vital Conversations the Church Must Have Without Passion or Prejudice

Photo by Sorbis, courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Echo chambers can be very deceiving. You go into the same sites everyday -- the sites you either love, because they validate your thinking, or love to hate because you can show them to others who also hate them, and have your feelings validated, once again -- and after a while you fall for an illusion of breadth and width; you begin to think that the 80 or 800 people with whom you agree are the vast silent majority; that "everybody" -- or at least the right-thinking folks with common-sense -- … [Read more...]

You Want Dignity? You Should Have It. So Should Everyone.

Image Gustavo Frazao courtesy of Shutterstock.com

All day I had hoped to find time to respond to this piece by Frank Bruni in the New York Times wherein he argues that religious liberty must be regulated and sidelined, for the sake of human dignity, particularly his:Christian fundamentalists in this country are practiced at claiming marginalization and oppression. “They’re always saying they’re kept out of the public square, and that’s baloney,” said Marci Hamilton, a constitutional law expert and the author of “God vs. the Gavel.” “They’re … [Read more...]

Gay and Catholic: A Vital Book for Our Time

Eve Tushnet Gay and Catholic Book

Over at the Patheos Book Club, they're talking about several interesting new titles -- it's always a good place to stop and explore books; like an actual, old-fashioned, store you can read excerpts while sipping coffee in your comfy chair.I'm particularly interested in their November offerings, because they include titles by Patheos Catholic bloggers, Lisa Hendey (whose book, The Grace of Yes) will be featured in the second half of the month, so more on that, later) and Eve Tushnet, whose … [Read more...]

Relatio, OY! Problematic Paragraph 50! #Synod14

Yes, the language in paragraph 50 is troublesome, and fast-becoming notorious. Indeed, would homosexuals like hearing that the orientation of straights is "to be valued" in and of itself? I get it, you can stop sending me emails, b/c friends, I have no time to answer themBecause the language is causing a furor -- Father Dwight is pretty unhappy with it. I'm trying to keep in mind that this relatio we are all working from is an unofficial translation, and that those sometimes contain a … [Read more...]

Gradualism: Two More Thoughts on its Gravity #Synod14 – UPDATED

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I: It is instructive, and a little depressing, to watch Catholic social media come alive with reactions to the synod's relatio text, which -- let's remember -- is going to be revised and clarified in another week, and then studied, thought about and prayed over for at least a year. The secular media is, naturally, trying to drive the narrative to its preferred talking points (and they're making sure to beat up on poor old Pope Benedict XVI, so whisper up a prayer for him).In social media, … [Read more...]

Homosexuality, Celibacy and Partnership: An Awkward Question

Eve Tushnet Gay and Catholic Book

Guest Blogger: BEN CONROYI don’t need to tell anyone that the Catholic Church’s relationship with gay people has been a fraught one.But I don’t think it’s pollyannaish or foolishly optimistic to say that there are intimations, signs, and beginnings of a better approach to the whole question, one that is consistent with both orthodox teaching and the lived experience of gay people.It’s been led by a group of gay Catholics – like Eve Tushnet, Aaron Taylor, Gabriel Blanchard, and Melinda … [Read more...]

Chick-fil-A! Lay Thyself Toward the Idol or Be Damned!

When asked to define the greatest commandment, Christ Jesus answered:“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."It sounds simple, but that one-two punch of a commission is a constant challenge, and the work of a lifetime.The whole point my writing Strange Gods was to illustrate how idolatry, far from being a d … [Read more...]


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