When Young Faith is Tested

In his column today, Matt Emerson, who teaches at a Jesuit prep school, expresses concern over the effectiveness of our current religious education programs. Addressing the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, he writes of working through Psalm 46:Those classes, and that day, were sacred moments. There had been an uncovering. In the darkened room, in the mild glow of a projector screen bearing ancient words, I had been given an x-ray of my students' spiritual life. The images were … [Read more...]

Swords, Chaput, Wheat and Weeds – UPDATED

My Tuesday Column over at First Things this week addresses what seems to me to be the unseemly amount of fretting being done by people of faith:Perhaps it is because so many Catholics currently seem to be wandering that some are panicking and reaching for their cutlasses. Certainly the Church does seem to be in a prolonged season of penance, wrought by both her tragic inattention to clerical abuses and the sinfully inadequate catechesis of the last forty years. That a couple of generations of … [Read more...]

Chaput to Philadelphia

I do believe that Rocco Palmo's Whispers in the Loggia may have been first to break the news, but New Advent might have won by a nose.And it's big news, indeed -- the beleaguered and hurting Philadelphia's new bishop is Denver's Charles Chaput:Rocco -- from whom I shamelessly cribbed the picture -- writes:He is brash, outspoken and fearless -- energetic, colorful, cultured... indeed, even hard-core....And if multiple indications from near and far have it right, he stands set to bring … [Read more...]

St. Benedict: Stability and Detachment

Today is the feastday of St. Benedict of Nurcia, who is regarded the Father of Western Monasticism. He is also one of the Patron Saints of Europe, and our dear Holy Father Benedict XVI, who made a retreat at the saints own Subiaco monastery just before his elevation to the Papacy. Although I am a very bad Benedictine, I do my poor Oblate best to honor our founder, today, whose Holy Rule has shaped and defined monasticism for both Benedictines and Trappists and has even been adopted by … [Read more...]

Thoughtful pieces on Casey, Caylee, Corapi, Idols

Emails are coming in reporting a state of high tension on various Corapian threads, in anticipation of the Black Sheepdog's "very special announcement" which is promised today.You gotta give the Dog credit; he knows how to play to an audience and build up the suspense. I'm finding it kind of sad (and troubling) that so many people have made this one man such a huge part of their lives of faith.And I am troubled, too, by our society's seemingly endless appetite for high-drama and … [Read more...]

Holy Women & Everyday Hero Priests -UPDATE

"The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine genius which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope, and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness (n. 31)."--- Blessed Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris DignitatemExciting … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Civic Freedom

Freedom seeks purpose: it requires conviction. True freedom presupposes the search for truth – for the true good – and hence finds its fulfillment precisely in knowing and doing what is right and just. Truth, in other words, is the guiding norm for freedom, and goodness is freedom’s perfection. Aristotle defined the good as “that at which all things aim”, and went on to suggest that “though it is worthwhile to attain the end merely for one man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nati … [Read more...]

Benedict Launches news.va with a Tweet!

Just yesterday James Martin posted a very good look at the status of the church's altmedia involvement:First, the good news. These days almost every Catholic organization and diocese and most parishes have a firm Web presence. Available to both the devout and the doubtful, these sites are repositories of useful information. One can check out editorials in the diocesan newspaper, follow the pastor’s blog (and read his latest homily), make donations to a favorite Catholic charity, and check on M … [Read more...]

Ghost Write the Pope, for a Day!

This is strange and wonderful:Have you ever dreamed of writing one of the Pope’s speeches? If you’re a fan of Vatican Insider, you might have thought once or twice, “I would have said this,” or “I would have said that.”Now, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation is giving everyone a chance to step into the shoes of the papal ghostwriter and write a speech for Benedict XVI to give to the German Parliament during his visit to Germany next September.Joseph Ratzinger’s country of birth is already abuzz … [Read more...]

Catholicism, Apps and New Media

Not to sound like an old lady, but I am quite taken with young Brandon Vogt, whose book, The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet will be released toward the end of summer. Brandon blogs at The Thin Veil, but he's also a crackerjack reporter who quickly filed some excellent-- really comprehensive -- pieces for OSV during the Vatican/Blogger meet-up last month, so it's not surprising that his book is a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute look at the … [Read more...]