Echo Chambers Leave Us too Weak to Fight Idols and Bullies

Since they seem to be recurring themes in my life and my writing, last week I had occasion to again contemplate idols and idolatry and also the way bullies operate. Both idols and bullies play with our psyche, of course, and can do great damage. They are like germs and bacteria that bring disease and make us exceedingly ill, but only if they can first penetrate the immune system.In the case of bullies and idols, this involves a piercing of the spiritual and psychological immune systems. We … [Read more...]

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Am I a Cynic, or Simply Observant? Both?

Since I am both socially inept and an introvert (not an automatic blend; I'm just a particularly clumsy amalgam of the two) to me, watching from sidelines is altogether preferable to deep engagement. This has made me pretty observant, or at least that's what I took from it when my mother -- reaching for an answer when queried as to why I was "so odd" -- said, "well, she's very observant..."Two really excellent columns by women I admire have crossed my screen today, and in both cases, I found … [Read more...]

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Prayer and Penance: Did Twitter Hasten Benedict’s Retirement?

In hindsight, we're seeing clues, now, and reading words he uttered indicating that Pope Benedict XVI has clearly been thinking of renouncing the papal throne for some time.Forgive me if this sounds absurd on the face of it, but I am wondering if, despite these pieces of evidence, Benedict's recent entry into Twitter has had anything to do with the seeming abruptness of his announcement.Before you scoff, consider: the pope's interest in, and support of, the church's engagement with new … [Read more...]

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Talking Benedict with Kathryn Lopez and Ed Morrissey – UPDATES

If you're free from about 4PM Eastern you might want to turn your online radio dial to Ed Morrissey's daily show, where I will join Ed and Kathryn Jean Lopez in discussing today's startling news out of the Vatican:The Ed Morrissey Show and its dynamic chatroom can be seen on the permanent TEMS page. Be sure to join us, and don’t forget to keep up with the debate on my Facebook page, too!What's a plug among friends.Check back for more linkage and updates, but if you have a spare m … [Read more...]

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Our Future Will be Hunger Games USA

The nation is already accustomed to watching "reality shows" where ordinary folk -- their foibles and failures -- are served up as entertainment. And we're already comfortable with an idea of separate standards for the elite folk who fly private jets to global warming conferences and the rest of us, who are meant to stay home and hang out the wash.So, these two headlines crawling across my twitter timeline, one right behind the other, did not surprise me at all:1) Most Literate City is … [Read more...]

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Is faith a carousel or a roller coaster, for you?

Time is flying. People will soon be getting their March/April issue of The Catholic Answer, and in it you'll find a column that might inspire the question in you: Vice or Victory? Carousel or Roller Coaster?Here was a woman swinging between excesses and defects of pride with pit stops at vanity, gluttony and sloth; here was someone excessive over “work” gifts and defective in appreciation of familial ones; a person deciding that while God and family may offer forgiveness, she knew better and … [Read more...]

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Think you’ve heard it all about abortion? Then think again!

(image courtesy of shutterstock.com)Someone asked me, recently, what I thought the status is of the pro-life movement, and I said, "sort of stagnant." Different polling shows different data (and as Sr. Mary Ann Walsh noted at the USCCB Media Blog, "it's all in how you ask the questions") but whether anything is really changing is anyone's guess and tactics -- on both sides -- are awfully stale and predictable. When it is politically expedient for them to do so, the pro-abortion side hauls … [Read more...]

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Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

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A Papal Validation from @Pontifex on Twitter

Those who think that Pope Benedict XVI is engaged in mere schtick by making an occasional tweet during a papal audience should think again. If we believe that the Holy Spirit can use all things to God's purposes -- even the most confounding things in the most surprising ways -- there is no reason to think that twitter will not be used thusly.The Holy Spirit can do anything. It can even make a tweet generated by a pope, and meant to appeal to a very broad audience, become an intensely … [Read more...]

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No Room for God in this “Adoration of the Magi”

I really like the way Simcha Fisher analyzes this painting, "The Adoration of the Magi" by Tai-Shan Shierenberg.Is it a problem that these "Magi" are not kings or wise men, that they're not even all men, that they don't have historically accurate clothes or hair, or that they don't show any signs of bearing gifts or of having traveled afar? Not necessarily. These departures from more traditional art may irritate or perplex you, but they aren't enough, in themselves, to disqualify this … [Read more...]

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