The Paradoxes of Christianity -UPDATED

***It seems that Bill Maher, who has never demonstrated more than an adolescent understanding of religion, wrote recently in Newsweek, “The problem with faith ... is it kind of screws up your priorities. Your priorities shouldn’t be about saving your own (butt), which is the focus of Christianity.”Over at the National Catholic Register, radio host Tony Rossi writes:Is [Maher] right?Of course we Christians do want our souls saved so we can spend eternity in heaven. The concept Maher ignor … [Read more...]

"I forgive the man who raped me…"

Recently, writing about the terrible scandals of the church and the need for the hierarchy (and others) to do penance, I added:The fullness of healing, of course, can only come when the victims finally feel capable of saying “I forgive you…” That moment -which cannot be compelled and does not mean forgetting- is the moment when a victim takes his life back. When a victim says, “I forgive you,” she confers her own power over the entire situation, and controls it. It is transformative; it brings … [Read more...]

Secular Sex Abuse Gets a Look – Poll Added

In New York, Queens Assemblywoman Margaret Markey routinely presents a bill which seeks to open a year-long "window" into the statute of limitations on child sex-abuse cases, allowing victims whose cases may go back as far as 40 years to bring suit for damages.Because the bill has -until now- been limited by Markey to impact the churches, exclusively, it has always either failed or been shelved. It is difficult to pass a bill that essentially finds some sexual abuse victims to be more worthy … [Read more...]

Immigration & the Storm Next Time

Chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery, BrooklynLast week, I was in Brooklyn taping a few episodes of In the Arena, and one of the drivers, taking a route that brought us past The Green-Wood Cemetery, reminisced about Park Slope, where he had lived all his life."We were working class, then. Our fathers were train conductors and shoe salesmen. No, we'd never be able to afford to live here. We'd cut through Prospect Park to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers. In the summer, they'd close off four … [Read more...]

Was Jones' Joke Anti-Semitic? UPDATE

President Obama's National Security Advisor, retired General James Jones, with an ice-breaker:Is it offensive?Why, yes. In our easily-offended society, you might say this joke wins the Triple Crown or the Insult Trifecta:Some feel Jones has used a denigrating stereotype of Jewish people "greedy merchants" for a cheap laugh, and has therefore insulted the Jews.Some free-market capitalists note that Jones describes the Taliban member as a "warrior" instead of a guerrilla, and seems to … [Read more...]

The Permanent Scandal of the Vatican

First Things editor Joseph Bottum has a long must-read of a piece showing over at the Weekly Standard.The day the Antichrist is ripped from his papal throne, true religion will guide the world. Or perhaps it’s the day the last priest is gutted, and his entrails used to strangle the last king, as Voltaire demanded. Yes, that’s when we will see at last the reign of bright, clean, enlightened reason—the release of mankind from the shadows of medieval superstition. War will end. The proletariat wil … [Read more...]

The Great Prostration; Count Me In

In an impromptu, and very beautiful homily, Pope Benedict XVI last week brought up the issue of penance:Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace that we know we need renewal, change, a transformation of our being. Penance, being able to do penance, is the gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penance, it has seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we … [Read more...]

No Greater Love – UPDATED

A few years ago the documentary film Into Great Silence, which chronicled the lives of the Carthusian Monks of the Grande Chartreuse, mesmerized audiences with its rhythm of prayer and silence. In a world increasingly noise and instrumentation-laden, the silence spoke volumes to audiences.which follows the lives of Carmelite nuns in England, seems to be equally as engaging, if this review is any indication.As No Greater Love begins we are led into the Carmelite Monastery of the Most Holy … [Read more...]

Giftedness and Othersight

"Ephphatha" by the wonderful artist, Nathan-BrownLinking you to two sites because you need to go see them yourself, rather than getting excerpts. Both of them reinforce a point I tried but failed to make a while back, about the use of art, and why it must be nurtured, valued and supported. Artists see things the rest of us do not. By "othersight" I don't mean anything occultic. I simply mean the view of the inmost being -which I suspect brings us into a kind of commonality- brought forward … [Read more...]

Staring into the Empty Tomb

"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." — J.R.R. TolkienThe news is terrible, disheartening, troubling, horrific -choose your a … [Read more...]


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