Summer Reading List for 2015

With the 4th of July behind us, we are now wholly and fully into summer, and looking for the best reads to take to the beach or, if you’re like me, to the front porch. Over at National Review, they’ve collected some titles for us to peruse, and invited me to include a few ideas. This summer, I am picking up classics: The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey. A mystery novel unlike any I’ve ever read: an injured police… Read more

Bishop Murphy Eliminates Annulment Fees

This is really good news. In a letter to the priests of his Rockville Centre diocese — that would be Long Island, east of Brooklyn and Queens, (population 7.5 million, 1.7 million Catholics) — Bishop William Murphy writes: My dear brother priests: It pleases me to write you on this Solemn Feast of the great Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul. You and I share their zeal for the Gospel, and are renewed each year in this great celebration. . …. Read more

Happy 4th: A Nation Pulling Apart and Norman Rockwell

TRUE STORY: This morning I awoke from a dream whereby the Supreme Court had been called into some sort of emergency session, and in order to get to their bench, they had to pass through some lobby I was standing in. One of them — a rather short, jolly man (capable of using the phrase “argle-bargle”, but not Scalia) — got his robe caught on the buckle of my shoe, and after I released him, he thanked me and said,… Read more

Of Otherness, Gay Marriage, Rights and Offices

The headlines of the past two weeks have given me a lot to process, and this weekend is a good time to think on things. Since the Obergefell decision, there are fights breaking out all over the internet, between Gays and Straights and Christians and Other Christians, and even between Catholics and Other Catholics. The idea of the “Other” got me thinking about a piece I’d written a while back at First Things, one that — to my surprise (but… Read more

Why Proselytizing Doesn’t Work, in One Photo

Once before I wrote that Pope Francis, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Dolan were right, when they said that proselytizing was folly, and that “you’re going to hell if you don’t straighten up and fly right”, was not the best way to greet people. That made a lot of people mad. So mad, that I lost a few regular readers over it because they were convinced I was spouting heresy. But here, in one photo — a grab from a you… Read more

The Anchoress: Rude and Hateful Since 1958

Are there people in the world who are just perpetually aggrieved? Who wake up in the morning, and start chanting, “that’s rude and hurtful!”, like a morning’s hymn? That’s rude and hurtful Like the first eyebrows insensitively raised at my choice… If my email is any indicator, I think there probably are. I imagine these folks go to the coffee shop and when they are greeted with “Good morning,” respond, “it’s not a good morning for me! I have to… Read more

Gay Outreach and the Stumble into Pastoral Love

In this recent post, I wrote that in welcoming homosexual-headed families into our parish, we would have to teach not only the full catechism but also, “the even-greater catechism of transcendent love.” Reader Glenda S. wrote asking me what that meant, exactly. I meant that the catechism gives us the rules and the teachings; the willingness to dare loving all that does not conform to the text, though, can instruct us on how to really live the teachings, beyond simply… Read more

8 Things Catholics can “Do” to “Fix” Things

I really appreciated this piece by Father Robert Barron, which looks at past challenges of the church, in light of the Obergefell decision legalizing gay marriage. His piece, along with many other headlines and blogposts I’ll link to below, got me thinking, and — as Father Barron would say — “here’s the thing…”: My email is full of people wringing their hands and fretting — really fretting — “how do we fix this? What to do, what to do, what… Read more

Fr. Robert Barron on Gay Marriage: “We’re still standing…”

I know many are feeling rather knocked about by recent events, most particularly by the Supreme Court’s unsurprising decision in favor of gay marriage. Here is Father Robert Barron’s take: Just last week, I had the privilege of spending four hours in the Sistine Chapel with my Word on Fire team. Toward the end of our filming, the director of the Vatican Museums, who had accompanied us throughout the process, asked whether I wanted to see the “Room of Tears.”… Read more

Gay Marriage and What We’ve Been Saying

This past week I got to spend some time with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, the Catholic sister who takes in girls who have been brainwashed, made to kill, been held captive, raped and left to raise the resulting children on their own. She teaches them skills, and helps them to become self-sufficient. As I watched a short documentary about Sister Rosemary and heard these girls talking about what they have been through, I couldn’t help but to think how, in comfortable… Read more


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