Catholicism and Bad Religion: a One-Two Punch

Last year, the book I spent more time urging you to read than any other was Robert Barron's Catholicism, which I called a "course in revolution", arguing that a better-understanding of who we Catholics are, where we came from and what we embody in the world can be a social and political game-changer like nothing else.This year, I believe I am going to be nagging you to read Ross Douthat's Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics as a sort of "companion book" to Catholicism. Once we … [Read more...]

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Saint Bernadette Soubirous: a Quiet Riot – UPDATED

Today is the feastday of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes -- a woman brought up in such mean poverty that her whole family lived in the equivalent of a jail cell. She was a shepherdess; a poor student who could barely learn her catechism, yet was able to burst into her pastor's office with the words "Immaculate Conception" pouring forth; a visionary who faced public ridicule for digging with her hands, until the healing spring showed forth the next day.I love Bernadette. … [Read more...]

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Ecce Homo, Christ’s Church and Homosexuality – UPDATE

My column at First Things this week did not start out addressing the coming, unstoppable and necessary confrontation between the church and the homosexual community, but then I read about Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's decision to support a gay member of a parish council over the priest who wished to unseat him, and Edward Peter's sensible response. With Ross Douthat's excellent, must-read book, Bad Religion; How We Became a Nation of Heretics swirling in my head, the column simply bent to a … [Read more...]

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A GREAT Communion Gift!

It's almost time for all the little girls in white and the little boys in blue (or white) to make their First Holy Communion, and every year I get folks writing me asking, "what is a good gift?" The kids usually get rosaries and prayerbooks in their "Communion Kits" so, what else is good?This. This is goodAmy Welborn Dubruiel and Ann Kissane Engelhart collaborated on this charming, delightfully illustrated chronicle of a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI (who has often discusses his … [Read more...]

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Levering: Jesus and the Demise of Death

In promoting this book giveaway, I realized I had another book I wanted to bring to your attention: the Patheos Book Club is taking a look at Matthew Levering's Jesus and the Demise of Death -- which seems like excellent reading for the season, particularly for this week and next week, if this intro excerpt is any indication!In his intro, Levering writes:I seek to contribute to the "robust recovery of apocalyptic teaching and preaching" by setting forth a theology of resurrection … [Read more...]

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Want a Free Book?

Image Books, a Random House imprint, and Patheos are giving away 100 copies of Mother Teresa's book, Where There is Love, There is God.Who doesn't like free books? And it's Mother Teresa! Who doesn't like Mother Teresa (yes, yes, I know, Christopher Hitchens, but he may have changed his mind by now...)Sign up, here! You get the Catholic Portal newsletter, too, if you want it, which -- naturally -- I hope you will!Don't forget to check out Patheos' Book Club this week! … [Read more...]

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Is Sentimentalism the Last Step Before Violence?

InDisorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind (which I highly recommend), I contributed an essay on the Soft Tyranny of Sentimentalism, wherein I wrote:If 20th-century atheism rode in on the backs of totalitarian regimes, the 21st-century has delivered unto the world an anti-God, anti-Church movement that fits seamlessly into shallow, postmodern popular culture. Having no need for uprisings and the hardware of destruction, the new fog of faith has crept in on the little … [Read more...]

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It Matters to Know We Are Small

One of the greatest nights of my life was spent alone. My husband and sons were off camping with the Boy Scouts and I took myself to Montauk, and found a small beachfront and parked myself on a blanket under the sky. I simply watched the constellations roll by, and all the shooting stars falling. Such depths of sparkling beauty. Such a night of wonder.Electric light is wonderful -- it's near-miraculous -- but we give up an awful lot to have it all about us, making us feel safe and less … [Read more...]

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I love this book…UPDATED

The nicest part of my job is that I get a ton of books to read and review. Unfortunately I can't always find time to really give a book a good going-over, but when Paul Badde's The True Icon: From the Shroud of Turin to the Veil of Manoppello arrived in my mailbox, I did my usual thumb-through and found myself utterly hooked.This lavishly illustrated volume chronicles a very personal journey for Badde -- a tracing of the history of the Shroud of Turin and the lesser known veil that begins … [Read more...]

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Pope Benedict: Faith and the 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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