When Optimisim is a Strange God

“Optimism is a matter optics, of seeing what you want to see and not seeing what you don't want to see. Hope, on the other hand, is a Christian virtue. It is the unblinking acknowledgment of all that militates against hope, and the unrelenting refusal to despair. We have not the right to despair, and, finally, we have not the reason to despair” ― Richard John Neuhaus, The Best of the Public SquareShortly after I wrote this column discussing Mark Steyn's book, After America, I got an email f … [Read more...]

The Priest as Bridge and Balm – UPDATED


Over on the Dedicated-Catholic page of Patheos' symposium on the Future of Seminary Education, two more entries, and I think they're both exceptional expositions of both the challenges facing our new generation of priests, and the profound gift of opportunity that lies within those very challenges.Read Deacon Greg Kandra's remarkable and moving story (it made me cry) of Father Martino BaThong Nguyen, who was born in great deprivation in Vietnam and now serves in the Diocese of Savannah in … [Read more...]

ACT III: American Fall – The Revolution


Michelle Obama did tell us "Barack Obama will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual". Specifically, she said:Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.Oh, irony. The most … [Read more...]

Who are the American Catholic Intellectuals?

Back in March, writing for his "In Ages Past" column, Pat McNamara filed an informative piece on Orestes Brownson, a name that left many scratching their heads and wondering, "whozat?"In 1937, New York City police investigated a vandalism case on West 104th Street and Riverside Drive, where teenagers had toppled and defaced a statue dedicated to Orestes A. Brownson (1803-1876). After extensive investigation, police couldn't find anyone that knew who Brownson was.It turned out that he had a … [Read more...]

Freedom of Religion Under Assault

I have to stop blogging and start writing two columns and an introduction to a book, but I wanted to just encourage you to be aware of two important stories, and perhaps take the time to make a phone call or send an email:Julie at Happy Catholic writes: ...Margaret at ten thousand places rightly points out that this is a much bigger issue. Which is, of course, what Keith Rothfus points out in his letter.And, I forgot that today is the deadline.Today is the last day to voice your concerns … [Read more...]

Obama's Malaise Speech – UPDATE

I have long-wondered whether President Obama actually understands anything about this country or the people who elected him. In 2009 I wrote:One senses that the nation is not alone in wondering -- that perhaps President Obama himself has no clue who he is, not as an American man, and not as The American President. For decades Obama has gotten by on elegance, a retiring demeanor and the ability to make people see their reflections in him. The first two are gifts; that last is a symptom of a … [Read more...]

Gov't Destruction of Healthy Communities

Don't know if it's a case of good intentions gone awry, or a genuine motive of greed and the sort of crony capitalism we still see in force, but I think it's true that a "poor" neighborhood is not especially a bad neighborhood. I once lived in an area some characterized as a "slum." It was a friendly place where people looked out for each other.This neighborhood seemed really healthy in its sense of community, and it seemed to have lots of intact and happy families. Two things our nation … [Read more...]

"Catholicism:" A Course in Revolution

Recently I posted the first of what are bound to be many, many posts raving about Catholicism; A Journey to the Heart of the Faith and urging you to purchase the book, read it and -- you won't be able to resist -- give it to everyone you know.My husband and I are giving it to our priests and the parish DRE, and we're not waiting for Christmas!And I haven't actually even written my rave review, yet. But while I figure out how to do that, George Weigel has written a rave of his own, this time … [Read more...]

Branding 3 year-olds as Haters, for Life

I'd guess this is the absurd and disspiriting levels to which unchecked political-correctness and a thought-policing society may descend:3 Year-olds Branded Racist, Homophobic; Put in Gov't Database:Over 30,000 British schoolchildren, some as young as three, have had their names registered on a government database and branded “racist” or “homophobic” for using playground insults, infractions that could impact their future careers.The shocking figures were disclosed after civil liberties gr … [Read more...]

Dear POTUS: If we can't believe you on civility…

Dear Mr. President;I understand you have a huge speech about job-creation coming up this week; the speech is so big, in fact, that it requires a venue that is somewhat out-of-the-ordinary for a simple policy speech. Some have suggested it is a do-or-die speech; that you'll really have to convince the country that you have a plan, and not just a plan, but a bold one. And not just a bold one, but one that is actually feasible.Well, I hope for the best, but I have one question. When you get up … [Read more...]