A Papal-Ordered Penance – UPDATED

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Joanne writes on the pope-ordered penance that accompanied the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland: . . . at the request of the Holy Father—the papal legate Cardinal Mark Ouellet spent last night in St Patrick’s Purgatory, fasting and keeping barefoot vigil in prayer for reconciliation and healing of the grievous wounds dealt by Ireland’s clergy abuse scandals. [...] Of course, this gesture will be read by many (if not most) as one more cynical photo opp, … [Read more...]

When Films Touch Real Life

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Over at the Patheos Movie Club (you didn't know we had one of those?) and also on the Catholic Landing Page, we have, along with many other interesting pieces, this fascinating article that about 75 Carmelite Sisters who saw For Greater Glory and a piece of their own history: We have read about the Cristeros, researched the elements of the persecution in Mexico, and a few times we've given talks on the beginnings of our community. Some of our first sisters were put in jail. We heard about … [Read more...]

Humanae Vitae Will Bring Us Together UPDATED

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Many Catholics have long regarded Pope Paul VI's little-read-but-much-despised encyclical letter Humanae Vitae as prophetic. Even some who, perhaps, had not previously thought so are admitting that "Humanae Vitae in its entirety reads better, and more presciently, every year." A few months ago, while I was in the middle of a rant, I wrote as an aside: I have come to believe that Humanae Vitae is going to eventually be seen as a powerfully unifying document between Evangelicals and … [Read more...]

A Church Where Sheep May Safely Graze

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Imagine you're pregnant, unchurched and addicted, and you want to step out of the darkness and into the light. What sort of hand will you trust to lead you out? My first child was conceived out of wedlock. I was, at the time, not only unmarried but also a crystal meth addict. I was not Catholic but some strange combination of agnostic/lapsed Protestant; my boyfriend and the father of my child was a Catholic. Obviously neither he nor I were living virtuous lives at the time, but the reality … [Read more...]

Baptist becomes reluctant Catholic

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I know, I know, I have a perverse sense of humor, but this line from this achingly honest piece by a former Baptist seminarian just charmed me: I called my dad crying on January 28th. I was going to become Catholic and hated the idea so much. As far as I'm concerned, the kid's a natural! I bet he ends up being a priest! Welcome to the Catholic Church, Steven. As Paul Johnson said, "come on in; it's awful!" And we just love it. … [Read more...]

Does Mo Dowd think Celibacy = Pedophilia?

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Zoran Karapancev / Courtesy of Shutterstock.com I hadn't read Mo Dowd's latest screed because I've been really busy and because, well, her Yosemite Sam act has really begun to bore me over the years -- as Joanne (envisioning Dowd as another Looney Toon fave) writes here: I wonder sometimes why she doesn’t simply self-destruct in her Tasmanian Devil hissing and spinning... Anyway, because I read Joanne's piece, I read Dowd's -- and if you're going to read either you should read both. … [Read more...]

Ed Morrissey’s Reasonable Talk on Catholic Reasons

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A point I frequently try to make, around here, is that Catholicism is too large, too wide, too nuanced, too small-c-catholic to permit ideological purity. Catholic politicians or ideologues who manage such "purity" have always had to betray a tenet of Catholicism to get to that place. And that, to my way of thinking, is actually one of the best arguments for Catholicism, and Catholic Orthodoxy, in the world. It brings reasonable resistance against sophist trends and the sentimentalist's means … [Read more...]

The Timely Reissue of Sigrid Undset’s Bios

I mentioned this book briefly in this round-up of great reads from last month, but today's column at First Things tells you why Ave Maria Press' reissue of Sigrid Undset's Stages on the Road is so very relevant, and why Undset can speak effectively to our age: Raised by progressively-minded atheists, Undset realized while still a teenager that ideologies and their accompanying “isms” gave inadequate measures of the world and humanity, always narrowing truth precisely at the point where … [Read more...]

Welcoming Eve Tushnet to Patheos

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She's been writing and I've been reading her for a long time, but I think Eve Tushnet's name became much more widely known in 2010, when the New York Times profiled her, identifying her in the opening graph as that (to them) most exotic of all creatures, a "the celibate, gay, conservative, Catholic writer". My goodness, these labels, categories and pigeonholes -- our increasingly polarized world loves them, because they tell us who we should read or not read, hate or not hate in the blink of … [Read more...]

Catholics: Talking Homosexuality without Sentimentality UPDATED

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I've been called a few names for suggesting that sentimentality is a kind of soft tyranny. So be it. I concur with Flannery O' Connor that when we swim in the sticky syrup of sentimentality, we lead ourselves to ovens and gulags. Feelings are wonderful things and I am glad we have them, but they are often irrational things, as well. Think of the things you "love" and "hate". Often your passion is irrational to your friends, and -- if you're honest -- even to yourself. Because they are … [Read more...]

Mother, 21, Beats Cancer after refusing to Abort! Yay! Marriage? Meh. UPDATED

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Photocredit: Caters News Agency This is one of those stories that tells you something wonderful about young people and the faith, and also something not so wonderful: The wonderful: This 21 year-old mother was advised to abort her second child in order to begin chemotherapy for cancer; she refused and got the "win-win" - a healthy baby and full recovery: When Daniella Jackson was diagnosed with cancer at five months pregnant her doctors quickly advised her to have an abortion . . But … [Read more...]

When Marriage is an “Office” Not a “Right”

Over at First Things, I'm wondering if perhaps we have been thinking about marriage, and about all of our roles as human beings, in the wrong way. What if we thought about life in terms of Office; can we comprehend equality -- all quite natural and unforced -- then? While all offices are equal, the Office of Marriage is one of especial humility and sacrifice. The essentials of procreation residing within us are so powerful that unless one ardently works to prevent it, new life will come (a … [Read more...]

Pelosi Tries to Give Talking Points to Catholics – UPDATED

Right on schedule, Nancy Pelosi tries to do what Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo have done before her: give talking points to Catholics who wish to hop on to policy that flies in the face of church teaching. You'll recall it was Kennedy (and later Cuomo) who gave voice to the corkscrew notion that one could be “personally opposed” to abortion but too broad-minded to “impose my views on others.” Because, as you know, modern-day liberals would never presume to impose their views on … [Read more...]

Are sensitivity and tolerance one-way streets? – UPDATED

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I read this story over at Deacon Greg's earlier today and it annoyed me but I was too busy to write about it. My first thought was, "so, you friends at Catholic high school have supported you as you came out and by your own admission, always been respectful, and the school was fine about your bringing a boyfriend to prom, and you're going to reward them by making commencement all about you? Why all the taking and no giving?" I think you do nothing to build goodwill when you say, "your … [Read more...]