The Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne Wore Priestly Collars

As with the Martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions we today remember a group of martyrs whose story is not nearly as well-known as it should be. And as with Lwanga and the Ugandan martyrs, the martyrdom of the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne speaks urgently to our own age, and offers instruction:After the fall of the constitutional monarchy and the execution of King Louis XVI in 1792, Maximilien Robespierre created rituals to honor the Cult of the Supreme Being even as he led the … [Read more...]

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Before October’s Synod on the Family, Read this Book!

When the Patheos Book Club told me they were going to be featuring the paperback release of Mary Eberstadt's How the West Really Lost God, I wondered what else I could possibly say to recommend the book? I had brought it up -- not once, but twice -- at First Things, and referenced it here on the blog a number of times -- always with the recommendation that people read it for themselves because How the West Really Lost God gives us a fresh, and very wise, perspective on how we as a society (and … [Read more...]

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Mrs. Obama is ProChoice, Except for Schools, Lunches — UPDATED

Look, I am not a big detractor of Michelle Obama. I mostly like her fashion choices, and I think her mission to encourage garden growing and healthy food choices is, on its face, an excellent focus for a First Lady, and something I can really get behind.And yet, for a woman who possesses (as she often notes) degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law, Mrs. Obama's arguments for her cause are clumsily executed, specious, and (one hopes) unintentionally insulting. Her school lunch program needs an … [Read more...]

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“The Eye of a Samurai Knows No Tear”

The cruelest, most violent Samurai in Japan decides he wants to become enlightened. He bursts into the home of an esteemed Zen Master and demands that the Master teach him how to become enlightened.The Zen Master looks deeply into his eyes and says, “No. You are a dirty, vicious Samurai. I will not teach you.”Enraged, the Samurai yanks out his sword and places it right at the Zen Master’s neck. He hollers, “Do you have any idea who I am? I am the cruelest Samurai in the world. I c … [Read more...]

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Perhaps Oculus Rift Will Restore Us to Ourselves

Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds links to a letter from the editor that may be cause for both delight and concern.The version of the Rift I tested felt like a pair of heavy ski goggles, and it did seem a little dorky to be fixing and tightening the various headbands and supports. But an amazing transition happened as my eyes resolved a new field of vision. I blinked, and while my brain remembered (for a moment) that I was sitting in my office, my eyes told me I was somewhere completely … [Read more...]

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Douglas-to-Dust: Feeling Helpless About the Homeless

New York City is such a microcosm of every aspect of the human experience -- and the human condition in all its vagaries of darkness and light -- that if one is halfway awake and paying attention, it is impossible not to, at some point, have your world-view challenged, or your spiritual bell rung. I recently related how getting clocked at Penn Station has changed everything for me, though not always in a good way.Recently, Tom Zampino, a lawyer working in the city, had one of those moments, … [Read more...]

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Heading to Holy Land: May I Take Your Intentions WIth Me?

Early next week I will be heading to the Holy Land as part of a team of Catholic journalists who will be touring most of Christendom's holiest sites, and also encountering the Holy Father during his time in Jerusalem.You regular readers know I do not travel well, so please pray for me, particularly that I might survive that long, tightly-packed-in flight without stroking out, getting deep vein thrombosis or whatever.Please pray for Pope Francis, too, whose itinerary is public, and who … [Read more...]

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What hastens our dying and our rising

Though I am almost fanatical about keeping my books in good order, I found this scrawled on the blank back page of a book, from a retreat in 2009. Seemed meant to be found now, in these days of repentance, mourning and resurrection:When we meet God face-to-face, it is always a moment of grace, but too it is a moment of judgment for us. Judgment day, then, can be any day, any time, any particular moment of an hour. And so our death can happen many times; a process of conversion, a … [Read more...]

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A Palm Sunday of Stark Decision

". . .the revelation is really quite simple- the Lord Jesus, God and King, will give his divine life for you, and will do so, even if you don’t deserve that kind of gesture and can do nothing to earn it. That’s the kind of God and King the Lord Jesus is- the kind who will give up his life for you. In fact his passion to give his life for you is so intense, that it takes the form of the cross.The gods and kings of the world, won’t do that. They take life. Sure they will make it seem like … [Read more...]

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Brendan Eich, Refusenik to an Idea cum Idol *UPDATED

Some great stuff over at OSV this week, particularly this and this, but I wanted to link a piece I contributed on the Brendan Eich story, wherein I flesh out my first thoughts, shared here.A mere two weeks after taking over as CEO of Mozilla, tech-prodigy and Javascript inventor Brendan Eich was released from his contract. No one had disputed either his leadership or creative abilities, and there was nothing in Eich’s management history that even hinted at unfairness or discriminatory p … [Read more...]

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