Obama says Church Consciences will Be Respected? – UPDATE

That would be surprising! Refreshing, too!Says Obama, today:On an issue as sensitive as [gay marriagte], knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.This from the man who said, during his Comme … [Read more...]

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A “Year of Faith”, Whatzat?

Am I the only one who sees Don Bosco's dream represented in that logo?I have a deep feeling of excitement about the upcoming "Year of Faith" which Pope Benedict has declared for 2012-2013, and which begins on October 11. Our good pope has proven himself to be a savvy fellow who is very much aware of the times, and I think this year of faith is going to be something we at Patheos will be talking about a great deal. I've already more or less started with this piece.Pat Gohn, however, has a … [Read more...]

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Reasoning Through a Bone-Deep Faith

My column at First Things this week is a slightly enlarged response to a question I received in an email, from a young man who wrote: “I know the Church puts a high premium on docility, humility and the emptying of self,” he wrote, “but common sense tells me that none of those should involve self-lobotomizing. Please tell me I’m not wrong.”Good heavens, no—you’re very right. While I may not have the brain of an Aquinas or an Augustine, do I seem to you to be in any way conformist or lobotomize … [Read more...]

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Musing on Masturbation

Every once in a while, I'll get a sneering or giggling, always condescending email from someone who has stumbled upon this old piece about artificial birth control, oral sex, and other things and feels the need to sound off on the unreasonable stupidity of Catholicism.Well, I can certainly be stupid and unreasonable -- I often am, about many things -- and I am the first one to admit that others know a great deal more than I do. But Catholicism is the farthest thing from stupid or … [Read more...]

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Women's History: Drexel, Connelly, Addiss?

March is Women's History Month, and a good time to introduce you to the sorts of formidable women who made (or are making) enormous differences to the lives of many, but who frequently go unmentioned in the mainstream. Today I am going to introduce you to three of them. Interestingly enough, the first two hail from the affluent Philadelphia Society of the 19th century -- one was heiress to a fortune -- and the other is a modern woman of boundless energy, imagination and great warmth.Because … [Read more...]

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The Yin and Yang of Catholic Young

It is fascinating to ponder the Taoist idea of Yin and Yang - the notion of an eternal cycle that grows to a fullness that must then transition to something else. I wrote about it once, in a manner of speaking, when thinking about the bliss of the Divine Office:A beautiful depiction of the constant-renewal of the world and all Creation in it, including you and me. I prayed the psalms and considered the slow lifting of the darkness on this overcast autumn day, the first-turning leaves, from … [Read more...]

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The Beatitudes & Sargent Shriver

Deacon Greg Kandra has had a very impressive career; as a writer and producer with CBS News, he won Peabody Awards and Emmy Awards, and Writer's Guild Awards - and then he went to the Diocese of Brooklyn and helped establish Currents, the first daily Catholic news broadcast in the country, at New Evangelization Television. He has a gift for zeroing in on the human center of a story, and extending it in a way that brings all the peripheral loose ends together into a cohesive and marvelous … [Read more...]

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A Golden Voice with a Word in Season

Every time I talk to Pat Gohn speak, I find myself marveling at the resonance of her lovely alto. She has one of those voices that belongs behind a microphone or a podium, and that -- coupled with her ability to reason smoothly and articulately -- makes her podcasts at Among Women such soothing, thoughtful programs.She's got a voice like rich honey.This week's podcast is not quite so soothing, however. Pat is mellifluous as ever but her guest is a bit on the hyper side and she can't shut … [Read more...]

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Authority is a Fearsome Gift – UPDATED

There may be something to Lisa Mladinich's view that as a nation we have become so suspect of authority that we have lost sight of our responsibility to wield authority (or perhaps, "holy authority") when it comes to our children or our students.It's not just your imagination. The problem of kids who won't behave in class is getting worse. We can take the easy way out and blame parents, claiming they just can't be bothered to discipline their children, but that's like saying a person is sick … [Read more...]

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