The Thrill of the Chaste, and the Mystery of Agape Love

In this new Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste, [Dawn] Eden is still living as a sign of contradiction — the world, after all, still misunderstands chastity as being little more than a dreary and joyless island of “no” — but she also has become a rather paradoxical witness to the world of “yes,” and how the power of that word, directed first to God, before any human, creates a chaste place for the Holy Spirit, and providence, to work in our lives.“If you take the longing you feel in … [Read more...]

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Are the 21 Coptic Martyrs of February Creating Converts?

The news moves so quickly and we gorge ourselves on it so mindlessly, that I sometimes wonder if anyone really remembers the 21 Coptic martyrs created just last February, and whose deaths moved us as much and as deeply, back then as the deaths of Aylan and Galip Kurdi are moving us now.Have we forgotten the 21 men, all Christian save for one whom, is was reported, watched the Christians die proclaiming Jesus and declared that he was taking their savior as his own.Tertullian said "the … [Read more...]

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No, the Rosary is not “vain repetition”; here’s why

From my "Ora Pro Nobis" column at The Catholic AnswerHow often do we think of Christmas in April? In praying a daily Rosary, one will ponder the Nativity of the Lord, and the whole great mystery of His incarnation, twice a week, throughout the year. The entirety of the Gospel is therefore alive for us at all times, and the insights and consolations that arise from our contemplation, or the intentions of those whose names enter into our awareness, render the prayer continually changed, bead … [Read more...]

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Aylan, Gassed Refugees: A Pivotal Moment for Civilization

The crisis of Syrian refugees is coming to a head. We've all seen the awful pictures and even drawings and artwork covering little Aylan Kurdi's tragic death.On August 26, there were reports of a tear-gassing of refugees, in Hungary. It is dramatic and hard to watch.These are human beings, and how Europe deals with such a humanitarian crisis is going to matter a great deal; it is going to tell us where the future of Western civilization -- a civilization built on Christian principles - … [Read more...]

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Scalia Resigns Patheos to Take Helm at Aleteia-US

I said earlier that I had an announcement to make, and now I have the chance to do it. So, here goes:Effective the close of business yesterday, I have resigned my position as Managing Editor of the Catholic Channel.I have loved working with all of Catholic channel writers, who have become real friends and partners-in-prayer, and this gig has been inspiring and instructive to me, a gift and privilege; I've had the opportunity to indulge my passion for finding really great writers and then … [Read more...]

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Pope Francis

At a moment when "change from below" is already stirring in America, Pope Francis' upcoming visit may impact the nation for generations.by Sean ConnollyPope Francis is not coming to the U.S. to damn Americans for our wealth or our love of SUVs. He will arrive not as a critic but as a missionary, one who will affirm what is best in the US before he challenges our choices. And he is likely to disarm and even charm those of us who, believing the pundits, are braced for harsh words from the … [Read more...]

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Antidote to Pride and Vanity: Cesspool Problems

So, I have an announcement I want to make -- it's an exciting announcement, and I thought I would make it first thing this morning. But instead, first thing this morning, the cesspool made itself known to us in a literal and olfactorily disturbing way.My announcement will be held off for a few hours, while we address this rather urgent need.Perhaps it is because I am so devoted a daughter to Saint Philip Neri, but I'm finding the whole thing -- and the timing of it -- pretty … [Read more...]

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Why Yes, I Do Think Reforms of Annulment Process Are Needed – UPDATED

The thing I appreciate about hate mail is that, while it usually comes my way because someone on the internet is holding me up as an example of Bad Catholicism (with all of the attendant inaccuracies one finds when someone is making a sacrifice to the godling of snotty superiority), the hate mailer usually references something I'd written-and-forgotten, and usually just when I need to revisit the topic.So, then, the hate mail becomes a kind of gift. The Holy Spirit, after all, moves in … [Read more...]

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No, I don’t hate Pope Francis, and other stupid ideas

Recently, someone on the internet claimed that I was "done" with Pope Francis (wrong) and also that I hoped he would magically wave a wand and destroy our teaching on the indissoluble nature of marriage (so wrong as to border on slander).I know a lot of people have had fun spinning my plea for a little middle-class encouragement as Francis-hate, if it suits their purposes, while others have amused themselves by willfully-misinterpreting my advocacy for annulment reform as Francis-lovin' … [Read more...]

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The Stuff and Fluff of Jesus Christ

On the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I posted some thoughts on how the science of microchimerism enhances our belief in Mary's assumption into heaven.The blogpost was basically linking to my column at The Catholic Answer, and when I hit that site the other day I noticed lots of action in the combox. Of particular interest was this comment:When I first learned about the concept of microchimerism, I pondered this too, and I believe in the Assumption. The only thing is … [Read more...]

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How am I Actually Losing Weight for the First Time in Years?

This book.This stupid book,, which I think I learned about from Instapundit.Who knew?Who knew that all I needed was permission to eat a sandwich for lunch, if I really wanted to? None of this crazy trying to live with 20 net carbs a day, nosireebob. Keep it to 50 grams of carbs or less per day, and the weight is just melting off. A Turkey and Tomato Sandwich for lunch, and I'm good to go.No sense of deprivation. A big sense of wonder, and thankful praise.Who knew? … [Read more...]

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How St. Philip Neri Gave Us Stephen Colbert

I had already read, and appreciated, this GQ interview with Stephen Colbert, in which Colbert beautifully expounds on his Catholic faith, but I hadn't realized that there is an indirect-but-clear connection between the comedian and our wise spiritual uncle, Saint Philip Neri, who was known for his playful, sometimes stinging, sense of humor.Father Robert Barron spells it out:Discussing the trauma that he experienced as a young man—the deaths of his father and two of his brothers in a p … [Read more...]

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“Amends”: A Novel Hilarious, True, and Masterful

It's a rare thing for me to begin reading a novel and, only paragraphs into it, wish I'd written it.J. Malachi MacCool was born in Berkeley, California, in the last decade of the Cold War, to parents who deserved better. He had a dilapidated body and a face like the last days of the Raj: jowly, discredited, eager for the final defeat. He was thirty-two, he lived in a cockroach-infested studio apartment in Washington, DC, and fans of his writing -- for magazines like Intimations, Hound and … [Read more...]

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Bartholomew and the Weakness of God

The weakness of God is stronger than men. That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or a public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide … [Read more...]

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