“I felt only love”: Vinicio Riva on Francis’ Kiss -UPDATED

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Everyone remembers this gentleman, and this beautiful moment, one that has lingered in our awareness so well that weeks later, we are still reading, writing and talking about it, still processing it:When these pictures burst upon the scene, Max Lindenman, in a thoughtful post, wondered (worried?) whether the man's anonymity might tempt us to dismiss his human reality.But I do wish I knew more about him — his name, his nationality, his employment history, how faith and doubt play o … [Read more...]

Christianists, Proselytizing and the Encounter with Christ

Image shamelessly cribbed from Frank Weathers

Recently there was a dust-up among some Catholics who wondered what exactly Pope Francis meant when he, during an interview with La Repubblica editor Eugenio Scalfari said that proselytizing was a "solemn nonsense".Clearly, what he meant was that preaching at people doesn't work; while being a reflection of Christ among us is powerful evangelization.If anyone needed the proof of it, recall the ill-reception proselytizing Christians received in 2008, when -- instead of living and working … [Read more...]

Francis, Mary De Turris Poust, the Word and Trust – UPDATED

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The weekend was busy and I was offline for most of it, so I came late to Mary DeTurris Poust's most excellent rant on the state of homilies and parish liturgies in general but when I read it, I cheered. I completely understood where she was coming from, because so often I've gone to mass half-dragging my feet, dreading the sort of (can I say this?) half-assed manner in which so many parishes serve it. And I don't mean "serve it" as entertainment for the rest of us but serve as in service: as in … [Read more...]

Pope Francis Allows Gay Priests to Exhale – UPDATES

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Lots of exploding heads on the internet today, thanks to this headline, which will, naturally, be over-emphasized by the press. But it is certainly worth noting:Pope Francis says he won't judge gay priestsPope Francis reached out an olive branch to the gay community Monday, saying that he won't "judge" gay priests."If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"The pope's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

Is faith a carousel or a roller coaster, for you?

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Time is flying. People will soon be getting their March/April issue of The Catholic Answer, and in it you'll find a column that might inspire the question in you: Vice or Victory? Carousel or Roller Coaster?Here was a woman swinging between excesses and defects of pride with pit stops at vanity, gluttony and sloth; here was someone excessive over “work” gifts and defective in appreciation of familial ones; a person deciding that while God and family may offer forgiveness, she knew better and … [Read more...]

Aurora Victim: “I do forgive him…”

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A remarkable take-back of power:Within just a few short hours of surgery on his foot Monday, Aurora, CO shooting victim, Pierce O’Farrill tells nationally-syndicated radio host, Todd Schnitt, that he wants to talk to the shooter, James Holmes.In the exclusive “Schnitt Show” interview, O’Farrill, who was shot three times, recalls the horror in vivid detail and says,“I would like to talk to him. I do forgive him.”Mr. O'Farrill is in better shape than other victims, but this reminded me … [Read more...]

A Church Where Sheep May Safely Graze

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Imagine you're pregnant, unchurched and addicted, and you want to step out of the darkness and into the light. What sort of hand will you trust to lead you out?My first child was conceived out of wedlock. I was, at the time, not only unmarried but also a crystal meth addict. I was not Catholic but some strange combination of agnostic/lapsed Protestant; my boyfriend and the father of my child was a Catholic. Obviously neither he nor I were living virtuous lives at the time, but the reality … [Read more...]

Mercy Strewn, the Feathers Still Linger

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Over at The Catholic Answer Magazine, my column dredges up the pain caused by gossip, and hints that mercy is always a good, if not-always-perfect, option.Answering the phone, I was alarmed to hear only a deep, guttural sobbing on the other end. After a moment, the caller collected herself enough to say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”“Who is this?” I asked, suspecting a wrong number.In another second I recognized the voice; it belonged to someone who, 20 years earlier, had spread a serio … [Read more...]

The Crescat’s Brave Piece

Roma vbm11 Katrina Fernandez and Ugly Broad

One of the reasons I have always liked Katrina Fernandez is that she has the soul of an artist and the sharp-elbowed honesty of one who has spent some time sketching among the longshoremen: she is both elevated and earthy in her perspective. In this, she reminds me a little of Heather King, whom I have referred to as "a mystic with a bit of a mouth"Some of that, I've always thought, suggested the self-bandaging of a person who had survived serious wounding and found a way to cope. I know a … [Read more...]


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