How I Loved My Kitschy Madonna!

dita von teese as mary

My column in the latest Catholic Answer Magazine, is entitled "Mary, Mystery and Imagination", and I explore therein the value of Catholic kitsch to a developing soul: Because my mother was devoted to Our Lady, and also susceptible to Catholic kitsch, my childhood home was filled with small plastic statues of saints and devotional artwork that fascinated for the sheer incongruity of it. On my bedroom wall, she had hung an image that looked for all the world as if Mary had brought the Baby … [Read more...]

“Like with Like; Kind with Kind”: Mary & Enmity Between the Seeds

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Reposted (with edits) from 2009 A few years ago, I recorded an 8 minute podcast talking about this solemnity. It's one of the biggies in the church, and for a good reason. As St. Anselm teaches us from across the centuries in today's Office of Readings: God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. WIthout God's Son, nothing could exist; without Mary's Son, nothing could be redeemed. Or, as St. John Vianney … [Read more...]

Assumption of Mary, Where Science and Theology are Met

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I've never understood why people who have no problem with Elijah and Enoch being assumed into paradise have a problem with Mary -- the greatest, and most blessed of all created creatures -- being assumed into heaven. "It's not in scripture" doesn't cut it, (as Msgr. Charles Pope demonstrates here) because what did the early Christians reference before the bible as we know it finally came into being in the fifth century? Teachings and traditions, as Saint Paul writes to the Thessalonians, … [Read more...]

Maximilian Kolbe: Catholic Subversive!

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That night, I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me, a Child of Faith. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both. -- Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe It is fitting that we today anticipate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary by remembering a saint whose devotion to … [Read more...]

Reconciling Eve and Mary in Another Way – UPDATED

Eve and Mary by Sr. Grace Remington, O.C.S.O

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1 Via Deacon Greg, we get this terrific story out of Missouri: A former monastery for Catholic nuns is preparing for new life. It will now become home to Life House Crisis Maternity Home, which has partnered with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri. For more than forty years, it was a quiet place of prayer. "They were here praying, praying for all of us in southern Missouri, and … [Read more...]

As Mothers Day Looms, Two Obituaries to Die For – UPDATED

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Well, in a manner of speaking. I hope when I die, my kids can manage to produce something as wry and fun as this: Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia. She had previously conquered polio as a child contributing to her unusually petite ankles and the nickname "polio legs" given to her by her ex-husband, Jean F. Larroux, Jr. It should not be … [Read more...]

May is for Mary, Mothers, Rosaries and Gifts!

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The header is true! May is the month for all of that; it's also the month for First Communions and weddings and graduations. And Mother's Day. In May, everywhere you turn you are reminded that something is coming up for which you need a gift. That alone should keep you wanting to seek out prayer. Do you know who can help you out with all of those things? Our dear friends, the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary -- the gals out in Summit, New Jersey! On the prayer … [Read more...]

Look at how daring we are in Holy Week!

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Earlier today I noted that we'd seen a remarkable lack of the usual media attempts to be provocative, and foment doubt, in Holy Week, and I'd credited that to the distraction Rome's own drama these past two months: These are usually the weeks reserved for questions about whether or not Jesus existed at all; if he had a wife and so forth. This year, thanks to Benedict’s surprising resignation, the conclave and Pope Francis’ rock-star ascendancy, the press has had its hands full; there has … [Read more...]

Come, Pray the Luminous Mysteries with Me!

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Aside from being aggravated by some minor, but continual, issues with my computer today, I'm feeling pretty peaceful about the election, in general. I have no idea who will win, although I suspect Romney is in a stronger position than poll purchasers wanted to see, but I could be wrong. Either way I am at peace. Perhaps it's because of my conversation with this man -- which in part inspired this column -- but I prayed the Office of Readings today and look forward to praying Vespers in about … [Read more...]

It’s October: Do you know where your Rosary beads are?

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About 20 hours from the time of this writing, The Year of Faith will be officially launched from Rome! Here at Patheos, we have something special planned -- and a Facebook page to keep you up-to-date on everything new, but more about that later. For now, a quick question: Do you know where your Rosary Beads are? Deacon Greg wants to know; I still have my first set. Do you? It was given to me as a first communion gift: simple black beads with a plain plastic cross. They're … [Read more...]

Mary’s Assumption Makes Sense in Light of Microchimerism

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Whenever my younger son is particularly happy he lets out with a dazzling grin and it always thrills me, because I recognize therein my grandmother's smile. She died when I was ten years old, but practically at the moment of his birth, I recognized her distinctive mouth and smile in him. I frequently marvel at the fact that I see in him something of a person he never knew, and that in my grandmother, I'd been seeing a feature that likely belonged to some wild Scot that she herself never … [Read more...]

Hawaiian Folk Music, Crusades and Columns

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Last night, my husband got home from an outing and watched The Descendents, starring George Clooney. Not really a Clooney fan, but he was very good, and the movie was engrossing. Hubby and I both wished that some religious perspective might have been introduced, but then that would have made it a completely different movie, so -- it is what it is. The reason I'm mentioning it at all, though is because we both commented, almost at precisely the same moment, that we were really enjoying the … [Read more...]

Stabat Mater Dolorosa

At the cross, her station keeping + + + + + + Mary’s role in the life of the church, in the Christian experience did not end with the deliverance of her placenta and the taking of her ritual bath. Rather, Mary – The Mother – walked with and monitored every part of her son’s life (as mothers do) and his ministry. Far from being a toss-off, a mere minor player in the story of Christ and the Christian experience, Mary’s life is as entwined with Christ’s at his death as it … [Read more...]

Most Excellent Vid on Mariology

Sent along by reader Vicki, who is not Catholic, this video is one of the best brief expositions I've ever seen on the theological role Mary plays in this whole pageant of salvation in which we live, and for which we seek understanding. It may seem a little long at 11 minutes, but it moves quickly and covers quite a lot of ground. Stick with it and enjoy! … [Read more...]