The New Celibates

How ironic that in a year where religious, and especially priestly, celibacy has been put under a microscope, debated and often excoriated, the secular hipsters in New York City are discovering the power that comes with celibacy:“I had man whiplash,” [Julia Allison] says. “I needed to put my neck in a brace.”She issued a proclamation, writing on her Web site last week, “I decided to codify my unofficial gut reaction of ‘I really don’t feel like dating’ into an official ‘No Dating, No Sex’ sta … [Read more...]

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Retreat Day Rerun

From September 2009Mariette in EcstasyAnd Christ still sends me roses. We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me. --Mariette Baptiste, Mariette in EcstasyIt has been a long time since I first read it, but last night I found within this wonderful and strange novel by Ron Hansen (who Deacon Greg reminds us is a permanent … [Read more...]

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"No, we're fearless and edgy. Really." – UPDATES

This is both funny and a bit pathetic:Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on "South Park," yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.As part of the network's upfront presentation to advertisers (full slate here), the network is set to announce "JC," a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father" and live a regular life in New York City.In the show, God is preoccupied with playing … [Read more...]

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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...]

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"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...]

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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...]

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Immigration & the Storm Next Time

Last 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 city blocks to create a play area for us … [Read more...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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