When Neither Will Do: Either/Or Gives Way to Both/And

purses

Part three in the ongoing Saga of the Satchels, or "what happens when Lizzie tries to do something really simple and girly, like buy a new handbag."So, these arrived yesterday, both of them:On the left, the red Baggallini, which is a little larger than the bag I have carried for five years, but a little smaller than I had hoped. It may yet be too small to stash a light scarf. But I still really like it.On the right is the red vintage Scarleton bag, with which the devil Hallie … [Read more...]

“The Eye of a Samurai Knows No Tear”

Samurai with Sword, Circa 1860

The cruelest, most violent Samurai in Japan decides he wants to become enlightened. He bursts into the home of an esteemed Zen Master and demands that the Master teach him how to become enlightened.The Zen Master looks deeply into his eyes and says, “No. You are a dirty, vicious Samurai. I will not teach you.”Enraged, the Samurai yanks out his sword and places it right at the Zen Master’s neck. He hollers, “Do you have any idea who I am? I am the cruelest Samurai in the world. I c … [Read more...]

Two Extraordinary Moments Where a Single Hand Gesture Tells the Whole Story

Twice today I have been very moved to come across gloriously beautiful -- dare I say transcendent -- images, where the poignancy of the moment was movingly emphasized by the small unconscious movement of a single hand.First, thanks to Deacon Greg, I saw the La Stampa photo of Pope Francis kissing a man so seriously disfigured that most of us would likely find him difficult to look at, and would turn away.Everyone is looking at this picture, and it is, indeed, breath-taking.But … [Read more...]

Don’t Assume People Know God Loves Them

This is excellent, from Rebecca Ryskind Teti. . .the women asked to speak to me privately. Candidly, although I couldn’t imagine what I’d said that gave offense, I expected a rebuke. What actually came melted my heart. First, she sheepishly admitted she had no idea where to find Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in her Bible. Then she got to her real question. Eyes welling up, she asked, “I am a recovering alcoholic who has made a total mess of her life and others’. Is there any hope for me?” … [Read more...]

So, what IS the “new evangelization?” – UPDATE

TCA_150_NewEvang

In Catholic circles, everyone talks about "The New Evangelization", but explaining what exactly it is, is not always easy. In my column in this issue of The Catholic Answer Magazine, I more or less "go to the sources" to help give solid examples of The New Evangelization, in Theory and Application:Weeks before his death in 2005, Pope John Paul still appeared at his apartment window and, unable to speak, showed his faithful attention to the people and received theirs in return. His mere … [Read more...]

Obama’s Speech: Cynical Me and Cynical He – UPDATED

This afternoon, President Obama showed up before the White House Press Corp and talked about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. You can read the full text, here.I agree with much the president says. Racism is -- and always has been -- "a God-damned thing". As a nation we should be under no illusions that just because we're no longer in a Jim Crow era, that we are living on the Starship Enterprise where racism is a thing of the past. Profiling is real. African Americans (and for … [Read more...]

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

shutterstock_102538235 (1)_gay marriage flowers

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...]

Everyday in Every Way the Days are Gay & Gay & Gay

That headline is too cute by half, and I know it, but given all the First Things columns I've written trying to wonder-out and puzzle-out and anticipate the subject of Modern Concepts in Sexuality (and where and how the Catholic Church's teachings soar or fall flat, largely depending upon how they are taught), and the recent Supreme Court DOMA decision, it does seem like for any story I read -- about anything -- I read five touching on an aspect of homosexuality and faith, and most especially, … [Read more...]

Part II The Chanting Coffin-Maker: Mother Dolores & Agape

Dolores and Don

In Part I of my interview with Mother Dolores Hart, she shared an insight that struck me as being profoundly important to our understanding of the vagaries of love: "all love relationships don’t end at the altar".What is love but a means to an end, the end being to become for each other a model of God? Not an idol, nor an icon/image but a model that helps us to know more fully the depths the Creator's love for each of us.Ponder it: here were Dolores Hart, beautiful young actress and Don … [Read more...]

“All love relationships don’t end at the altar!” – Part I

As a rule, when it comes to interviewing celebrities, Tony Rossi is our go-to guy, around here. Last week, though, he could not work into his schedule an opportunity to talk to Mother Dolores Hart, the actress-turned-Benedictine-nun who was the subject of last year's documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis", and this year's best-seller, The Ear of the Heart. Mother Dolores is currently missing her cloister while she makes a major promotional tour in support of the book, and I had the opportunity … [Read more...]


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