A good day for this book: Voices of the Saints

voices of the saints

I happened to be talking to Julie Davis -- who is the primo go-to person when pondering any book, because I do believe she may have read them all! -- about what collections of "lives of the saints" we would recommend. I have a few that I like a lot, and they're all well-known award winners: Father Jim Martin's My Life with the Saints, Colleen Carroll Campbell's My Sisters, the Saints and Robert Ellsberg's All Saints. And I've always liked Lisa Hendey's collection for Catholic Moms.Julie … [Read more...]

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Part II The Chanting Coffin-Maker: Mother Dolores & Agape

Dolores and Don

In Part I of my interview with Mother Dolores Hart, she shared an insight that struck me as being profoundly important to our understanding of the vagaries of love: "all love relationships don’t end at the altar".What is love but a means to an end, the end being to become for each other a model of God? Not an idol, nor an icon/image but a model that helps us to know more fully the depths the Creator's love for each of us.Ponder it: here were Dolores Hart, beautiful young actress and Don … [Read more...]

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“All love relationships don’t end at the altar!” – Part I

As a rule, when it comes to interviewing celebrities, Tony Rossi is our go-to guy, around here. Last week, though, he could not work into his schedule an opportunity to talk to Mother Dolores Hart, the actress-turned-Benedictine-nun who was the subject of last year's documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis", and this year's best-seller, The Ear of the Heart. Mother Dolores is currently missing her cloister while she makes a major promotional tour in support of the book, and I had the opportunity … [Read more...]

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Men on Strike: Fathers, Family, Frank Talk and First Things

Men-on-Strike-Cover (1)

Two weeks ago at First Things, I wondered what it would be like if Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) had her way and women ruled the world.This week I'm continuing on the theme of men and women and families and faith:Family illiteracy, [author Mary Eberstadt] says, “breeds religious illiteracy.”In turn, increasing our scriptural literacy is one way for Christian communities to help their members understand and form families. Eberstadt’s book...has, in tandem with Helen Smith’s Men on Strike, … [Read more...]

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The Francis Puzzle: Is he an agent of continuity or change? – UPDATED

We're still getting to know Pope Francis. To me he seems like the embodiment of Catholic universality, in that his words are thoughtful, reasoned and never kneejerk. Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI, he appears to be willing to discuss any idea, explore any topic because he knows that open dialogue and the ability to wonder about things allow reason to be fully deployed. And, again, like his predecessor, that indicates that Pope Francis is perfectly confident that such reasoning will always … [Read more...]

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Interviewing John Thavis: Inside, under and atop the Vatican

John Thavis

After receiving an advance copy of John Thavis' timely new book The Vatican Diaries, and enjoying it immensely, as I relate here, I emailed a few questions to Thavis -- the "retired" former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Services who is currently back in Rome covering the impending conclave, and even blogging at his own site.Since I am so highly recommending his book -- and I really urge you to pick it up as soon as you can, and read it as a lead-up to all the conclave coverage -- I … [Read more...]

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Sanger’s Racist Genocidal Plans and The Masque of the Red Death

I haven't commented about the creepy "Happy Anniversary Video" celebrating 40 years since Roe v. Wade; the suave African American man, holding a rose and cooing about the wonder of this anniversary really is, as Marc Barnes writes, "the creepiest sh*t..."If you haven't seen the video, you should go to Marc's place and watch. One of the truly chilling (and, yes, creepy)things about it is that for African Americans, abortion in America has been a true genocide. As we learned last week, in New … [Read more...]

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Advent: Love Words and Expectations in the Dark – UPDATED

choosing joy

I am so grateful that Advent is upon us; my favorite time of year! It is all hope, depth, mystery and promise of light, and it feels like we need it; it feels as though we have all been so occupied with politics, natural disasters, willful (and unpersuasive) belligerence and our own daily anxieties and stresses -- so many people I know are anticipating Christmas with dread rather than joy -- that we need our heads turned toward something great!In my column at The Catholic Answer I put it … [Read more...]

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“No one hates men! But…damn these men!” – UPDATED

On Facebook, Diane of Te-Deum blog embedded this interview between Christiane Amanpour and Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, whom Amanpour calls "a practicing nun."Because she's a class-A journalist, is the haughty Christiane. She's like the Anna Wintour of elite broadcasters, but even less interesting.Full disclosure: as a Benedictine Oblate, I've read and gleaned much wisdom from Sister Joan's books on Monasticism; she has a lot of good and instructive things to say about the psalms and … [Read more...]

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Pope Benedict: Faith and the Future

faith future

In 2009 Ignatius press released this prophetic little volume, written by our pope over 1969-1970 -- while the world was in the first throes of the social revolution. I thought I'd share a few of Joseph Ratzinger's prescient thoughts. They seem timely:"The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many … [Read more...]

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