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...]

Cardinal Levada Responds to NY Times -UPDATE

H/TA week into the whirlwind sown by a NY Times article that traveled around the world before accuracy, fairness or balance could get their pants on, Cardinal William J. Levada, the pope's successor as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written a long and rather stunning reply to the Times, in which he writes very personally.Rocco Palma, who reproduces the entire piece at his site, writes that in all the coverage and defense of the Pope you may have read, "you've … [Read more...]

Cultivating Silence

Today at mass, our priest decided that the Gospel Narratives of the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, his arrest, trial and crucifixion all spoke for themselves. He decided that instead of a homily we should try to sit in silence, reflect on all of it, and begin to become "acquainted with silence; learn to welcome it, rather than fear it."So, we sat in silence.And at the recessional, there was no song. Just silence.You could tell that people were uneasy. Silence is difficult, because if … [Read more...]

Please help me thumb my nose at Obama!

The First Iconic Photo of the Obama AdministrationI have no idea how to establish any sort of foundation or charity fund-raising operation. I am very ignorant about most things, and intimidated by the idea of establishing anything.But I have been so angry, for so long, at Barack Obama and the Democrats for dismantling the DC School Voucher program, which was an excellent school-choice solution that gave parents and students a real means of escape from the atrocious schools in Washington DC, … [Read more...]

How to Pray for the Nation

Got this from reader Alexandra, and thought it was such incredibly simple (but profound) advice, that I had to share it. It really humbled and instructed me:. . .when the Bush-Gore recount battle was going on, I asked my parish priest, a very wise man who loves Christ, how to discern God's will. I wasn't asking so much for his opinion on the politics of the day but when I am in one of these political battles and a religious person, can I discern God's will in the course of trying to decide … [Read more...]


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