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...]

Consigning Joni Mitchell to the Prayers of Dorothy Day

Very likely due to being ill for nearly four months, I'm in a bit of a work-and-spiritual funk just now. I've got the blues and am hauling out all the usual prescriptions to try to help myself along.I want to "snap out of it" because I know that I have no business feeling glum; my life is too full of good things, for which -- when my head is on straight -- I am everyday grateful. My husband and kids are healthy. My son is happily married to a wonderful young woman. My other son is making … [Read more...]

Do The Rapes of Rotherham Tell a Tale of Conquest? UPDATED

For days I avoided the story, as I know many others have. Coming on the heels of the atrocities of the Islamic State, the take-over of Mosul (now a holding camp for kidnapped Yazidi "brides") the purging of the Iraqi Christians from their ancient lands and the pursuit of genocide -- the disheartening knowledge that, despite the official pivot away by our government, there are still thousands on Mount Sinjar who will not be rescued, because they are very old, or very young, or very weak -- who … [Read more...]

Unhappy Nation America: Not a Family, Not a People

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America is not happy. However it might look on paper, in reality we are not getting along. We are e pluribus unum, no more.I wrote that, and later struck it as being too harsh, for my latest column at First Things, which was written after an evening's troubling conversation with an African American friend who is feeling done with everything and everyone. The militarized police in Ferguson so strained his basket of disciplined goodwill that I suspect one more straw, no matter how light, will … [Read more...]

Can Finding Peace and Joy in Life Really Be This Simple?

Not easy, mind you, but simple? As in not overburdened with worldly reason and trendy thought; as in intuitive, rather than taught; as in off-the-grid, beyond the collective and as singular as you and I really are?This is a pretty good argument that yeah, peace and joy may not be easy to find, but the method to attaining them is actually pretty simple. I think she's correct.Again, and again, Saint Gregory of Nyssa proves true: Only wonder leads to knowing. … [Read more...]

Editorial: “The World Can’t Afford US Gov’t This Bad for So Long!”

Wow, first Dana Milbank, then Richard Cohen, then New York Magazine and now this*:After [the president's] truth-challenged oversell of the Affordable Care act, the unconscionable overreach of his CIA and his disastrous indecision on so many foreign policy issues, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has two more years in office. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't … [Read more...]

The West Lacks One Essential Tool to Defeat ISIS

In an article covering President Obama’s reluctant decision to begin limited airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State (IS), New York Times writer Peter Baker quoted Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who affirmed US national security interests and added “This is evil incarnate.”Few would disagree. Do not click here unless you are willing to see horrific images of beheaded children, or videos of young men being led into trenches and summarily executed, but their existence -- along with news that t … [Read more...]

Ann Coulter’s Strange God Renders Her Blind

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Others tell me it is "schtick" meant to "make us think" but if that's what Ann Coulter is serving up with her "charity begins at home" number, she's doing it badly. Leading people into productive thought shouldn't involve dragging them through a toxic swamp, where all sorts of rank and dubious detritus may become attached to our thinking.Writes Coulter:America is the most consequential nation on Earth, and in desperate need of God at the moment.And how does she think Americans will … [Read more...]


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