My Sweet Pot-Smoking Lord…

My Tuesday column is up at First Things. Needing a distraction from Japan, I looked closer-to-home and ended up focusing on author James Frey and the planned Good Friday release of his latest book, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, expressing both boredom and hopefulness about it:I was unsurprised to read that this book—which will debut in a small run of only 11,000, underwritten by uber-gallery owner Larry Gagosian, with Frey self-publishing the inevitable second printing—is scheduled for … [Read more...]

Rob Bell, Common Names and Dominus Iesus – UPDATED

There's something to be said for having an unusual moniker. A few years ago, our family traveled with another family and the husband/father of the other gang kept getting pulled aside for extra searching and occasional questioning; apparently this hard-working fellow shares the same name as a bad-guy and about a million other men. Being good-natured, he did not mind the extra attention, which made him feel like the TSA folk were "on the job."But when one is already embroiled in a doctrinal … [Read more...]

Big Fat Tuesday Lenten Linkfest!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, of course, and today is Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday, so let's take a look at the wealth of excellent posts and articles that the internets put at our disposal about these vital, and vitally important days. I suspect I am not the only one who is feeling grateful that this season of repentance, quiescence and discipline is upon us. Personally, I feel like I need it. But it feels like the whole world needs it too, doesn't it? I can't tell you how many emails I've … [Read more...]

The Demon Dreamseller

Drape a lovely girl over the hood of a sports car and the poor chimps start drooling over it immediately. Show them a condominium overlooking a beach at sunset. Show them a scrumptious meal, beautiful clothes, or jewelry; show them an impossibly tanned and handsome man with a dreamily beautiful woman in most any setting and they will buy not just a product but a dream, and it is this dream which we are most interested in.My dear flukes, if you are assigned to the United States, you will find … [Read more...]

Shahbaz Bhatti; free speech martyr – UPDATES

Via Allahpundit, who called the video "haunting":Washington Post coverage here.Writes Margaret Cabaniss at Inside Catholic:Last month I blogged about Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic politician in Pakistan who had been courageously speaking out against the anti-blasphemy laws in that country, even in the face of death threats. "I follow the principles of my conscience, and I am ready to die and sacrifice my life for the principles I believe,” he said at the time.Horribly, maddeningly, t … [Read more...]

Holy Eucharist, Humility and Flannery O

My column at First Things this week looks at the story of Father Augustin Escobar, the California priest who recently had his priestly faculties suspended for concelebrating Mass with a Presbyterian minister. As few details had yet emerged as I was writing, I stuck to the question of closed communionThere exists an odd double-standard concerning Catholic observances and almost any other ritual. Culturally nuanced and sensitive Americans would never presume to attend a Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Jesus and Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

It's that time of the year again. As Ash Wednesday approaches (it's later than usual this year, and am I the only one who feels likes she's missing it and needs it to begin?) I'll be suggesting books that may enhance the Lenten journey.Foremost in my recommendations will be this book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. It is foremost because the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, and it is so poorly understood by so many -- even among Catholics -- that I can … [Read more...]

Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X