“I Hate Youse All!” Uncle Charlie, Christmas & Authentic Love

snowsanta

Christmas day never comes without my remembrance of "Uncle Charlie", a family friend who once appeared on our doorstep, decked out in all of Santa's raiment and tripping in his boots only slightly. He had apparently been Santa for a party at the local soup kitchen (or the local bar; this was never clear to me) and -- just a trifle in his cups -- had decided during his walk home that he would stop at the houses of his friends and give all the kids "a treat." And if the friends wanted to toast the … [Read more...]

Duke Ellington Sent Christmas Cards All Year Long

The story goes that if the legendary composer and orchestrator Duke Ellington had met you, and gotten his hands on your mailing address, you’d have gotten a Christmas card from him. It may not come at Christmas, but at some point during the year, his personally written and signed greetings would grace your mailbox.“Duke Ellington and I exchanged Christmas greetings each year,” wrote Joe Delaney of the Las Vegas Sun. “Mine were sent in mid-December. Duke sent his when the spirit moved him.” … [Read more...]

“Survival, Resilience, Redemption”: Heroes of 2014

(Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Heroes of 2014. Read other perspectives at the page beginning today.)If you ask a well-established charity whether they'd rather have a large dramatic donation a few times a year or a steady income from small, dependable donors, they'll tell you they want, need and appreciate "both", but that if they had to choose, they'd take the everyday small donors, who manage to remain faithful in lush times and in lean; they are the o … [Read more...]

Holy Advent; Holy Hope in Light

Advent 13

Welcome! Welcome! I shed tears of gratitude and joy that you have come round again, O Advent, to shake us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more; that we are forever in the absence of light; it is beyond us and exterior until we make it welcome and bring it, like a lover, within. Welcome into our deepest void, welcome into the parts of us touched by human frost and stunted. Welcome, O Light, beaming glorious, into remotest … [Read more...]

“Mrs. Bishop” and the Theology of “but of course!”

It was a little over a year ago that a lady around these parts had declared herself to be Long Island's First Female Catholic Priest and managed to be kind of off-putting about it.Her vanity hits the nadir when she refuses to disclose her age. She wants to pastor the people, and gather them in, or something…but she will not give enough of herself, be open enough with herself, to even tell them her age.Ain’t she priestly, though? Really pastoral! Just like Francis!Today we read of ano … [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...]

The Burke and Kasper Videos: Epic Fail All Around – UPDATED

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

If you're not already fully repelled by everything in our world being politicized, this might do the trick.Seriously, when I watched these two CNS-produced videos -- which take a page from the political propaganda playbook -- my stomach turned. I actually had a visceral reaction to the overt manipulation at work, here. Propaganda videos, complete with dark music and heavy messaging on one side and fluffy light and goo on the other, are repellent enough in in the political arena. To see them … [Read more...]

Why Dolan, and Francis, and Benedict are Right

Do you know why, as Pope Francis rightly noted, proselytizing doesn't work?Because it is not Incarnational. It has nothing in common with the example set by the Word when he condescended to join humanity and "set his tent among us". Not near humanity, but still apart; not above humanity, overseeing it, but among and with and in commonality with us.When Proposition 8 was roiling California in 2008, a group of Evangelical Christians decided to make a weekly trip into the Castro section of … [Read more...]

Burke’s “Exile” to Malta**: What if Everyone is Wrong? UPDATED

The rumors appear to be true, and it looks like Pope Francis is "demoting" Cardinal Raymond Burke from being prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura to “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.Burke is only 66 years old; the current "cardinal patron", Paolo Sardi, has just turned 80. That's kind of interesting.There's lots of analysis around, and some odd tweets. Everyone seems to be seeing this as a demotion -- some are using the word "exile", whi … [Read more...]

The Great Unraveling: A Necessary Look at Reality

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This morning, the New York Times published an exquisitely-written dose of reality via Roger Cohen. If "only Nixon could go to China" then perhaps only a NYT columnist could spell this out and thus permit us to credibly acknowledge that things are as grim as we have all known, in our guts:It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright … [Read more...]


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