Sarah Palin, Centerfold

My column at First Things. You know I can't stand it when people get stupidly unfair and abusive:American’s sad ideological balkanization is most obviously exposed for the sickness it is whenever this woman’s name is mentioned. Thanks to cable news and the social media echo-chambers that invite us to pledge allegiance to a stark perspective and then hiss “enemy” at anyone who thinks differently, Americans are being conditioned to absorb The Daily Outrage on cue; we are one nation, quite divided … [Read more...]

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A Hermitage in Your Future?

My husband thinks this will be me, one day:The hermitage isn't what you'd expect: a small home in a quiet neighborhood of Essex, Maryland, that was originally built as a one-room fishing shack 100 years ago. But then, the hermit who lives there isn't what you'd expect, either. Mary Zimmerer, now Sr. Maria Veronica of the Holy Face, is a bubbly widow who discerned a call to the contemplative life after her husband passed away five years ago. Having made a public profession of vows last … [Read more...]

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The Beatitudes & Sargent Shriver

Deacon Greg Kandra has had a very impressive career; as a writer and producer with CBS News, he won Peabody Awards and Emmy Awards, and Writer's Guild Awards - and then he went to the Diocese of Brooklyn and helped establish Currents, the first daily Catholic news broadcast in the country, at New Evangelization Television. He has a gift for zeroing in on the human center of a story, and extending it in a way that brings all the peripheral loose ends together into a cohesive and marvelous … [Read more...]

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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...]

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Gentlemen: A tale of two apologies – UPDATE

First read the New York Times going through a long, belabored and ultimately lame exercise of excuse-making where a simple "we screwed up, sorry" would have sufficed - as Jerry Wilson ably fisks.It was hectic in the newsroom with many news reports flowing in as Kathleen McElroy, the day Web news editor, was trying to decide whether The Times was ready to report Giffords’s death. She decided against it and was telling Web producers to hold off reporting it in a news alert when J. David Goodman, … [Read more...]

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Surrender unto Surrender for Peace – UPDATED

I admit, my Tuesday column requires some patience. If you jump too quickly you're going to think I'm saying Christians should never defend themselves.Jesus surely didn’t preach that; he didn't preach a crusade either. He taught us to turn the other cheek.Our instincts tell us that turning the other cheek is stupid, but this is what Christ preached. He did not teach that we were meant to conquer others—be they radical Islamists, or gay activists, or evangelical atheists—but that we were to co … [Read more...]

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Behold! We have always been "radical" -updated!

I very much like this piece by Pat Gohn:"Behold!" is one of my favorite words from the Bible. The wordsmith in me adores words that tickle my ears, words that are uncommon yet descriptive. Behold sounds somewhat archaic yet it still shows up in modern usage. Behold makes me perk up and pay attention. Simply defined, behold means to see, to gaze upon, to observe, to have vision.Whenever I find it in the New Testament, I always watch what happens next. Behold is like the sound of the drum roll … [Read more...]

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Ration me? Hey, Ration U2! – UPDATED

Regular readers know I am a big U2 fan. I've even slipped U2 songs into previous Advent posts.But if the phonies in Cancun are going to start talking about rationing the lives of others in order to save Gaia, they're going to have to start looking at other excesses they can eliminate, first. That's my Tuesday column: Rationing Bono & Other Gaia-Saving IdeasCuriously, no one at these conferences ever suggests that less-draconian measures, affecting a relative minority of human beings, … [Read more...]

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Pope, Condom, TSA & Crucifix – UPDATED

With a title like that, what else could I be talking about but my Tuesday column:I had been driven to the crucifix because I had become overwhelmed with the media/internet cacophony that had followed L’Osservatore Romano’s weekend revelation of Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts on the use of condoms in certain situations, and by the uproar over newly put-in-place TSA regulations on pre-flight searches and pat-downs.In both cases, reactions were swift, and they varied according to agendas but fe … [Read more...]

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The Heroic Ordination at Dachau – UPDATED

Deacon Greg brings us a look at a secret ordination that took place at Dachau:Leisner was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and in Dachau his condition began to deteriorate. Fearing that the great dream of his life -- to be a priest -- would never be realized, he and the priests in his cellblock secretly sent a petition to a local cardinal (aided here, and in so many areas, by a heroic nun known as the "Angel of Dachau," Sister Imma Mack.) The cardinal granted permission for a French bishop … [Read more...]

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