In your raving idolatry I find a bit of peace…

Last night, I logged off fairly early and missed a big donnybrook on Facebook that had to do with people angry at me because of this piece from yesterday. Lots of namecalling and screaming in my direction, mostly because I dared to find anything worthwhile in Obama's speech, even as I identified it as a cynical move to divert attention away from his awful presidency.Apparently my near-constant criticisms of the man since 2007 were insufficient bona fides to allow me one instance of (mild) … [Read more...]

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Papa and Pop-Pop, Side-by-Side as Christians

What a day it is! With the release of Lumen Fidei and the announcement of canonizations of Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, today is all about continuity, cohesion and co-operation: the announced canonization of two modern popes; the release of an encyclical composed by two modern popes, "written with four hands" but with one heart; an unexpected moment when two modern popes sit side-by-side and ask our great angelic warrior, Saint Michael the Archangel, and the most humble of … [Read more...]

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The Mystery of God’s Own Timing

Yesterday morning my email and twitter feeds were busy with people laughing and saying "he did it again! It's downright spooky!" while sending me this link to Pope Francis' homily, which contained many important themes but was particular heavy on the subject of idolatry:‘The Lord is the only God, there is no other’, but then live as if He was not the only God and have other deities at our disposal...There is a danger of ‘ idolatry: idolatry, which is brought to us through the spirit of the w … [Read more...]

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If Atheists want a creed, they ought to have one

In Florida, some atheists, peeved that a monument to the Ten Commandments could not be protested out of existence are planning to erect their own monument, celebrating their beliefs:A small city in heavily Christian northern Florida is about to become home to the first public monument in the United States dedicated to atheism.Florida members of American Atheists, a national advocacy group, plan to erect a 1,500-pound granite display in front of the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis and I are in a Vulcan Mind Meld!

We've joked that our new Pontiff and I seem to be enjoying an unusual bit of synchonicity on the issue of idolatry. In his wonderful talks and homilies he touches frequently on the issue, enough so that Brandon Vogt -- the hardly sleeping and inventive Brandon Vogt -- took the time to create this amusing photoshop for me:Here's Pope Francis this morning:“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an e … [Read more...]

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Perhaps America Needs Peggy Olsen to Serve its Inner Don Draper

Photojournalists love to capture politicians with backlighting, or standing before round seals and symbols; it helps the subject to stand out, of course, and where presidents are concerned the dramatic halo effect might be making a sincere or ironic editorial point. I wonder if there is something subconscious about it, though; do we need to see our president regardless of party, as someone with a connection to the divine?Politicians are as susceptible to believing their own hype as anyone … [Read more...]

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Echo Chambers Leave Us too Weak to Fight Idols and Bullies

Since they seem to be recurring themes in my life and my writing, last week I had occasion to again contemplate idols and idolatry and also the way bullies operate. Both idols and bullies play with our psyche, of course, and can do great damage. They are like germs and bacteria that bring disease and make us exceedingly ill, but only if they can first penetrate the immune system.In the case of bullies and idols, this involves a piercing of the spiritual and psychological immune systems. We … [Read more...]

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“He listened to the girl on GPS. Then to me, for 200 miles…”

I totally forgot that while taping this interview with Tony Rossi, I had completely revealed myself to be the harridan I try to hide from you, on a daily basis. It's here at about 5:10 into the chat.Tony's blog Christopher Closeup is one of the places I go when I need to decompress, because he always has a perspective-changer up there, lighting "one candle" against the darkness with heartening regularity. I'm not much of a light, but he generously offered to talk to me about my … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis Endorses My Book, “Strange Gods”? – UPDATE

Well, no, not officially, but I had a little fun on Twitter this weekend, when several friends mentioned Pope Francis' latest tweet at @Pontifex:It just slips in so very well with the whole topic of my book, Strange Gods; Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, which will be hitting bookstores soon. In the introduction I write:Do we stop to think of what it means to have something "before God"? It means to put something "first", yes, but more fundamentally, it means to put something … [Read more...]

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Does Church Suppress God’s Will? That’s Wicked, Right?

Like Mark Shea, I too thought the National Catholic Reporter had endorsed female ordination years ago. I actually had no intention of writing about it for my First Things column, today.Yet somehow -- and though I had intended to write more about Calah Alexander and the idea of a Ministry of Succor to young mothers, I ended up at female ordination, asking a few questions about NCR's stand:The overbearing men of Rome, most particularly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are depicted as … [Read more...]

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