“Shepherds lead as they follow” Even to Twitter – UPDATED

Anyone who thinks that Benedict XVI's foray into Twitter is not, in its own way, shaking the earth, needs to pay attention. If you check out the #AskPontifex you see a roiling energy -- the feed is teeming with it -- aggression and curiosity and timid love and preening hatred are crashing into each other. It reminds me of dark water a few hours before a storm.I like what Sam Rocha has written about it, here:Why would he come here, to this wild place? Why dwell in virtual reality, this … [Read more...]

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Let’s Go Shopping! Christmas Gift Ideas!

A lot of you have been asking for this annual post, and it feels like I am much later with it than usual, but in looking at my archives it seems that with one glaring exception, I'm pretty much on schedule, so let's get to it.To start with, be aware that it's getting towards the deadline to order gifts made by monastic houses. It's already too late to order the wreaths, but I think you can still squeeze in candy, coffee and soap/creme orders. I just ordered these St. Nicholas Shea Butter … [Read more...]

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Twitter Advice for the Pope and What to Ask Him?

So, two days ago the Vatican announced the Pope's new Twitter handle and relative hashtags. Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has amassed about half a million English-speaking followers (he will tweet in 8 Languages) and there are innumerable (and sometimes irreverent, often downright hateful) questions awaiting him at the #AskPontifex feed. The pope is not at a loss for reaction or, for that matter, advice. Our friend Brandon Vogt offers His Holiness Five Suggestions as he becomes a Tweeting … [Read more...]

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Does Church Suppress God’s Will? That’s Wicked, Right?

Like Mark Shea, I too thought the National Catholic Reporter had endorsed female ordination years ago. I actually had no intention of writing about it for my First Things column, today.Yet somehow -- and though I had intended to write more about Calah Alexander and the idea of a Ministry of Succor to young mothers, I ended up at female ordination, asking a few questions about NCR's stand:The overbearing men of Rome, most particularly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are depicted as … [Read more...]

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@Pontifex Papa Comes to Twitter! #HabemusPapam

So, the big news this morning is the rollout of Pope Benedict XVI's new twitter handle, which is @Pontifex.You can also follow feeds using the hashtags #HabemusPapam and even #AskPontifex, because His Holiness will be taking the occasional question. The man has written bajillions of brilliant, instructive, eye-opening and mind-blowing words, and now he is going to tackle the 140 character theology challenge of twitter!Huzzah, sez I! This is the logical and savvy next step in the … [Read more...]

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On Hating Thanksgiving and Knowing That That’s Wrong

Let me just say it and get it over with: I hate Thanksgiving. I don't mind hosting Easter dinner and I love welcoming the family for Christmas, but I really do hate Thanksgiving, and not just because it falls heavily on the shoulders of women when they have work "outside the home" (it falls heavily on the shoulders of those who do not, as well.)I don't mind the sentiment about the day; it's a good sentiment, and gratitude is a virtue necessary for joy -- one cannot have joy, if one is not … [Read more...]

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Come, Pray the Luminous Mysteries with Me!

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...]

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The Appeal of Fulton Sheen

I like Pat McNamara's look into the background of Ven. Fulton Sheen:Growing up on an Illinois farm, a neighbor had told his father: "Newt, that oldest boy of yours, Fulton, will never be worth a damn. He's always got his nose in a book." Born May 8th, 1895, he was named Peter but called Fulton (his mother's maiden name) throughout his life. From childhood, he knew two things: he hated farm life and he wanted to be a priest.At St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, he joined the debating … [Read more...]

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Is it too late? Are we “past” civility? – UPDATED

I meant to link to this piece by Lisa Hendey yesterday, but the day got away from me. In it, she is asking if it is possible to eliminate political vitriol online?Isn’t it our right as Americans to employ our rights to freedom of speech to say what we feel? Yes, certainly. And yet, I’m also cognizant that my presence — and yours — in venues like Facebook and Twitter is a component of the New Evangelization. When my non-Catholic friends (for whom I am perhaps the only Catholic they will ever k … [Read more...]

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MSM Holds Its Freedom Cheap; Ours, Too

(Neveshkin Nikolay / Shutterstock.com)My column at First Things this week chronicles the almost surreal behavior of the mainstream media as they do whatever they can to propel Obama and their preferred narrative forward.When the State Department threatened to go into a bureaucratic swoon of Judy-Garlandesque proportions if forced to answer questions about the attack, the press offered a thoughtful cold compress to soothe its frazzled brow, and then closed the door softly, as it made its … [Read more...]

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