Yes, We Can Talk About Abortion

Over at dotcommonweal, a serious and thoughtful discussion on abortion by three Catholics of slightly divergent views -- Dennis O’Brien, Peter Steinfels and Cathleen Kaveny -- demonstrate how to talk about abortion like adults: with courtesy, humanity, a bit of breadth and not a clenched jaw in sight -- and it is frankly, a very excellent thing.I predict you will not agree with any of them, in totality -- nor do I -- but I believe you will be surprised at how much common ground may be found b … [Read more...]

The Monster, Human

File this under Evil, or The Dignity of the Human Person, and wince while you read this horrific story brought to you by David Mills, over at First Things:Dr. John C. Cutler was a monster. A monster who died after a long and successful life in government and academia, with scholarships and lectures created in his memory. As readers may know, in the mid-1940s he experimented upon poor Guatemalans, including mental patients and orphans as young as nine, trying to find a cure for syphilis. The … [Read more...]

On Clergy, NYFD, Bloomberg Not Budging

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that Mayor Mike Bloomberg was inviting neither clergy nor First Responders to the 9/11 Memorial service in NYC.I thought public outcry might move the mule, but without any push from mainstream media, he is comfortably sticking to his guns. No clergy, no prayer, and there's no room for the First Responders, either. Only a few will be there, by special invitation.Making the point that the first recorded death at the WTC was Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, and … [Read more...]

Misunderstanding Dorothy Day Misunderstands Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez has written a thoughtful and terrific piece addressing Stephen Prothero's puzzling or deliberately provocative notion that Dorothy Day's abortion could interfere with her cause for sainthood.Prothero wrote: “Can Catholics abide a saint who had an abortion?"Possibly reconsidering the question as a bit aggressive, he rephrased it: "Can you be a saint if you have committed the original sin of contemporary Catholicism?"Lopez writes:It’s probably fair to say that Day is mo … [Read more...]

Pratchett, Chesterton, Granny & the Grubby White

Over at First Things, I'm writing about Terry Pratchett, Sin, Chesterton and Assisted Suicide and referencing one of Julie Davis' favorite exchanges his great book, Carpe JugulumHaving announced several years ago that he is dealing with early-onset dementia, Terry Pratchett, the celebrated author of scores of fantasy titles, most notably the marvelously wise and entertaining Disc World series, has—despite rumors to the contrary—staunchly maintained his atheist’s stance. Last year he decla … [Read more...]

Art and the Anchor of Friendship

I love this painting, Der Spaziergang, (The Walk) by Marc Chagall. He so beautifully captures the sense lightness that accompanies the feeling of euphoria founded upon love, and the need for the steadying anchor.It seems to me the perfect illustration for this rumination by Barbara Nicolosi on Friendship and the Artist, and how friendship gives spiritual sustenance to our creative friends and family members, who -- left unanchored -- might otherwise live forever in the clouds or "end up … [Read more...]

An Elegant Argument for Catholic Education

PhotosourceFirst things first. The goal of a Christian is to come to know and believe in Jesus Christ and to live with God forever. Catholic education remains vital because it anchors itself in that foundational truth. [. . .] Catholic schools are also indispensable because they help students understand the transcendent purpose of their thousands of hours of cramming and test-taking. As one of my colleagues put it, Catholic education responds to the question, "What now?" "Now that we know … [Read more...]

Hope and Grace; Reports from WYD -UPDATED

I really like the logo for this year's World Youth Day gathering in Madrid:I also like a lot of the writing and reports I'm seeing from pilgrims. Patheos' own Tim Muldoon's piece is a very fine exposition of the hopes and faith that lie behind the celebrations that some too-quickly dismiss as "Catholic Woodstock":In making a pilgrimage to WYD, then, we seek a deeper and a greater hope, one that does not fall prey to the silly trading of power from one generation to the next. We seek the … [Read more...]

Madrid's Mobs of Youth

ATTENTION, WYD Pilgrims: While you're in Madrid, do yourself a favor, and try the incredibly delicious, air-cured "Iberian Ham."You're welcome.Meanwhile Archbishop Chaput recalls WYD '93, in Colorado:Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, my friend and predecessor as archbishop of Denver, hosted World Youth Day in August 1993, and he still likes to tell the following story.One of his staffers had just moved to Colorado from a much larger and higher crime city on the West Coast. The man was … [Read more...]

Anointing – Not Just for the Dying

A few weeks ago Sr. Mary Ann Walsh gave us 10 Good Reasons to Go to Confession (and they were good 'uns, too!).Today Sister gives us a brief ten-point look at what many call the most misunderstood of the sacraments:The Sacrament of the Sick may be the most misunderstood of the seven sacraments, probably because of its informal name from years past, “Last Rites.” When you hear “Last Rites’ you see a movie scene of a somber priest who made it just in time standing beside someone gasping his las … [Read more...]


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