Ways & Means: Planned Parenthood Vids a Salvific Good

Guest Post By Erin Brownback Last Thursday, after a lengthy Twitter conversation with an ardent supporter of abortion, I posted this tweet.Since then, it has been redistributed in a variety of contexts, and most recently has been used to make the case that to lie to expose the truth of evil is to say, “I will try by any means that is not sinful or illegal to DESTROY you.”I’d like to be clear.We are called to love, respect, and show kindness to all people because they are each ma … [Read more...]

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“Survival, Resilience, Redemption”: Heroes of 2014

(Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Heroes of 2014. Read other perspectives at the page beginning today.)If you ask a well-established charity whether they'd rather have a large dramatic donation a few times a year or a steady income from small, dependable donors, they'll tell you they want, need and appreciate "both", but that if they had to choose, they'd take the everyday small donors, who manage to remain faithful in lush times and in lean; they are the o … [Read more...]

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“Sisterhood” May be Reality-TV for Reality-TV Haters

Maybe.When it was announced that Lifetime network would be airing a "reality" series chronicling five young women as they "discerned" whether or not they have religious vocations, I was as skeptical as Diana von Glahn, who felt pure dread at the prospect.More than dreading, I was a bit repulsed by the very idea. Having experienced my own vocational discernment as long-looking -- a process both serious and slow, and full of challenges to my own self -- the notion that five women being … [Read more...]

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The Burke and Kasper Videos: Epic Fail All Around – UPDATED

If you're not already fully repelled by everything in our world being politicized, this might do the trick.Seriously, when I watched these two videos -- which take a page from the political propaganda playbook -- my stomach turned. I actually had a visceral reaction to the overt manipulation at work, here. Propaganda videos, complete with dark music and heavy messaging on one side and fluffy light and goo on the other, are repellent enough in in the political arena. To see them being … [Read more...]

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Consigning Joni Mitchell to the Prayers of Dorothy Day

Very likely due to being ill for nearly four months, I'm in a bit of a work-and-spiritual funk just now. I've got the blues and am hauling out all the usual prescriptions to try to help myself along.I want to "snap out of it" because I know that I have no business feeling glum; my life is too full of good things, for which -- when my head is on straight -- I am everyday grateful. My husband and kids are healthy. My son is happily married to a wonderful young woman. My other son is making … [Read more...]

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Sisters Rescuing Women from Sex Trades

They are the Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries, and who looking at them could imagine that they have taken upon themselves -- as have so many great missionary sisters before them -- such difficult work, serving populations invisible to so many?Nuns reach out to sex workers in fight against prostitution in the Philippines:In a red-light district in Cebu, central Philippines, the taxi stopped when its passenger called out, “There, that girl,” pointing to one of the women standing in the lin … [Read more...]

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Patheos Welcomes Dr. Pia de Solenni to the Mix!

One of the great pleasures and challenges of assembling the Catholic channel at Patheos has been presenting a broad-but-balanced-view of Catholicism -- one that is not-too-conservative, nor too-progressive in scope, but finds the more common middle area between those extremes, wherein most Catholics reside.For most Catholics, in fact, arriving at Catholic Orthodoxy is a process. Our faith is difficult, sometimes; that's what makes it great.Catholicism demands not "blind obedience" but … [Read more...]

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Douglas-to-Dust: Feeling Helpless About the Homeless

New York City is such a microcosm of every aspect of the human experience -- and the human condition in all its vagaries of darkness and light -- that if one is halfway awake and paying attention, it is impossible not to, at some point, have your world-view challenged, or your spiritual bell rung. I recently related how getting clocked at Penn Station has changed everything for me, though not always in a good way.Recently, Tom Zampino, a lawyer working in the city, had one of those moments, … [Read more...]

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The Bada-bing, Bada-boom Nursing Center

Many years ago, when we were only a few years married, my husband and I joined friends at a local club, for a New Year's Eve celebration. As the night progressed, we discovered that part of the entertainment included a young woman performing a strip-tease, down to her g-string and miniscule pasties, which she proceeded to set "fire" to, as she vacated the room.Perhaps it is because of my childhood history, but I have never been comfortable around such displays, which always strike me as … [Read more...]

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Can Pro-and-Anti Gay Marriage People Co-exist?

Still stuck in my writer's block, the only way I could write a column this week for First Things was to format it as a playlet -- a little one-act thing called "Suitable Recommendations" -- wherein I try (and I have no idea whether I succeed) to showcase a story we're increasingly seeing being played out as gay marriage becomes more common: the business owner whose conscience can't let him or her provide services to a same-sex couple planning a wedding.Gentleman: That’s some religion you’ve … [Read more...]

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