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...]

Challenges, Rewards of Teaching Deaf Children

Catechist extraordinaire Lisa Mladinich, whose weekly column "Be an Amazing Catechist" has become a first-stop resource for RCIA facilitators and CCD teachers, has for the last two weeks been focusing on the challenges and rewards of serving the Deaf community of faith. Last week, she looked at the great needs within the church - what they are, and how well we are addressing them:In November 2009, Pope Benedict met with 400 deaf and hearing Catholic clergy and lay people, from sixty-five … [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...]

US vs Tiger Mothers, Lion Fathers – UPDATED

Our Sunday Visitor is carrying a piece of mine looking at the controversial question of whether the berating Chinese "Tiger Mother" is truly superior to the doting and timid "you're so special!" Western mode of parenting. I am of two minds on it:In America we have allowed genuine excellence to be sacrificed upon the altar of our children’s self-esteem, and our barely earned praise has become a kind of cheap grace. In our schools, every test gets a star, every assembly gets a “participation cer … [Read more...]

The Audacity of Wonder – UPDATED

Illustration Source)Over at First Things, my Tuesday Column is looking at our mania for credentials and how it closes doors, narrows minds and holds wonder at arms length:He has authored over a dozen books, written a syndicated newspaper column and countless essays and articles covering a broad range of subjects—sports, politics, mobsters, union thugs, cultural touchstones, booze, and blades of grass—all of it written in a smart, literate voice of the casual sophisticate who takes his sub … [Read more...]

A Golden Voice with a Word in Season

Every time I talk to Pat Gohn speak, I find myself marveling at the resonance of her lovely alto. She has one of those voices that belongs behind a microphone or a podium, and that -- coupled with her ability to reason smoothly and articulately -- makes her podcasts at Among Women such soothing, thoughtful programs.She's got a voice like rich honey.This week's podcast is not quite so soothing, however. Pat is mellifluous as ever but her guest is a bit on the hyper side and she can't shut … [Read more...]

A father muses on his frailty

The recent birth of his son, Cormac got Joseph Susanka musing about fatherhood, but I think his sentiments can be easily understood by all parents:For a father, there are few moments filled with more deeply conflicting emotions than when he holds his newborn child for the first time. To that tiny little infant, mewing and squirming in his arms, he is the ultimate, a godlike power. In the coming years, this child will trust him absolutely, love him unreservedly, and rely on him completely for … [Read more...]

Parenting is daily catechetical ministry

In her excellent piece, on praying with children Kathy Coffey writes:Ever hear of an exercise class where you just talked about it? No coach would allow the idle chatter of “It’d be nice to stretch or do sit-ups.” The people who benefit from jogging do it regularly. So our children must see us making sense of our experience through the lens of prayer, trying to understand where God has been active, leaving an unmistakable but invisible imprint.Kathy is very right, of course. Our children nee … [Read more...]

Pryor, Bruce, VH-1, & Coarsened Culture

I've said more often than I care to remember that our culture and our media are being controlled by perpetual adolescents who act and think like eternal 14 year olds, but after reading David Mills' essay on the home page today, I'm thinking I have to adjust the age downward. Watching a VH-1 roast, Mills observes:It is hard to exaggerate the crudity of the performance: not so much the crudity of the language and subjects, but its intellectual crudity. Every single remark was the foul-mouthed … [Read more...]

Pimping the Kid Sex – UPDATED

I rarely write on this sort of thing, and until the Elmo/Cleavage matter, I wasn't sure who Katy Perry was, but this tweet brought me to this post applauding Ace O' Spades, which brought me to this piece by Ace, wherein he (who has always differentiated between adult and kid material), gets tough with the sexpot singer for her choice of market target.Katy Perry appeared on Saturday Night Live doing the tiresome Abbreviated-Catholic-School-Uniform-Singing-About-Sex thing that has been done by … [Read more...]


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