Two Extraordinary Moments Where a Single Hand Gesture Tells the Whole Story

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Twice today I have been very moved to come across gloriously beautiful -- dare I say transcendent -- images, where the poignancy of the moment was movingly emphasized by the small unconscious movement of a single hand.First, thanks to Deacon Greg, I saw the La Stampa photo of Pope Francis kissing a man so seriously disfigured that most of us would likely find him difficult to look at, and would turn away.Everyone is looking at this picture, and it is, indeed, breath-taking.But … [Read more...]

Pope Francis Turns the World’s Words Back at It

See it all at JasonBachCartoons.com

One chapter of Strange Gods is entitled, "Through the Looking Glass: Super Idols and Language", and part of it entails looking at how we use, over-use and misuse certain words -- or, sometimes, completely co-opt language -- in order to facilitate the creation of idols.. . . when we render words meaningless -- especially powerful words like peace and love -- our understanding of them becomes warped. Then, as when a teenager flings his stuff thoughtlessly and lazily about the house -- … [Read more...]

A Female Cardinal? Not a New Idea, Really

Saint Thecla Praying for the Plague-Stricken Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770)

It's always struck me as interesting that when Tiepolo painted Saint Thecla, here portrayed at prayer for plague victims, he imagined her in what appears to be an old-fashioned Cardinal's robe.Our Orthodox and Byzantine brothers and sisters call Thecla "the Protomartyr, Equal-to-the-Apostles". I've always thought of her as first in a long line of women -- from the earliest days of the church until today -- who were headstrong in their obedience.One of my favorite writers, David Gibson … [Read more...]

“I think prison freed me…” Mother Antonia Brenner RIP

Mother Antonia Brenner/David Maung

Over at Deacon Greg's place he notes a study and asks Is being a Good Samaritan a Matter of Genetics?Or grace, or a combination of the two? Perhaps specifically-graced-genetics?This seems a timely question in light of the passing of the fascinating Mother Antonia Brenner (born Mary Clark), foundress of Eudist Servants Of The Eleventh Hour and one of those formidable "Irish Catholic" women so many of us have known and loved. She is survived by her seven children.The diminutive, … [Read more...]

Pope Francis and Strange Gods: “A Meme on the Rise”? – UPDATED

francis bad meme

Yes, we've been joking for some time about how Pope Francis and I appear to be in some kind of mind-meld on the subject of idols -- he talks about them almost every single week, and brought them up in his encyclical, Lumen Fidei*. In today's homily, Pope Francis really hit hard on the theme:Once again, the liturgy of the Mass elicits from Pope Francis a reflection on the traps that punctuate the life of faith: To become an apostle of one’s own ideas, or a devotee of one’s own well-being, rat … [Read more...]

Lino Rulli: “Perfect people don’t inspire me…”

Lino press kit

Okay, I've been very upfront about it, so we already know that I am an idolator!But perhaps you didn't know how bad it has become.Take a look:Aye, that's not just a copy of Lino Rulli's new book, Saint: Why I Should be Canonized Right Away, but a medal, and a prayer card and, yes, an I-mean-business 7-day candle.Let's call it what it is: The Shrine of Saint Lino de Sirius-ly Imperfect, patron of "Catholic Guys" and Gals, Bookies, and People Who Expect Every Flight to End … [Read more...]

Christianists, Proselytizing and the Encounter with Christ

Image shamelessly cribbed from Frank Weathers

Recently there was a dust-up among some Catholics who wondered what exactly Pope Francis meant when he, during an interview with La Repubblica editor Eugenio Scalfari said that proselytizing was a "solemn nonsense".Clearly, what he meant was that preaching at people doesn't work; while being a reflection of Christ among us is powerful evangelization.If anyone needed the proof of it, recall the ill-reception proselytizing Christians received in 2008, when -- instead of living and working … [Read more...]

“We are Church.” As self-referential as the Curia.

titian-venus-in-front-of-the-mirror

You might think it takes a peculiar sort of mind to find common themes uniting an interview with Antonin Scalia and an exhortation from Pope Francis, and you'd be right. My piece at First Things this week brings these two divertingly counter-cultural men together on the subject of narcissism and idols:After his election to the papacy, notes were released outlining the pre-conclave intervention delivered by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, which many of the Cardinal-electors said impressed them … [Read more...]

Taming “The Constant Francis”

francis in the rain

Seriously, I'm beginning to feel like all I do is read, write, and dialogue about Francis, all day long and all night; other work is slipping deadlines -- book reviews; interviews; transcriptions; writers who need beatings; editors who also need beatings -- all because of The Constant Francis whose impact on American Catholics is overstuffing my in-boxes, my comboxes, my social media threads.I will need to tame this Constant Francis or I'm never going to get anything else done. I literally … [Read more...]

Francis and Benedict and a Pizza with Anchovies

jasonbachcartoons.com

This is brilliant. Just brilliant. Thanks to friend Inge Loots for passing it my way, via JasonBachCartoons.com, where you can go to embiggen the toon, and where I will now be visiting frequently! … [Read more...]


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