Grief, a Joyful Nun, Misery-lovers & the Annunciation

My column at First Things looks at two stories from last week -- one grievous, and one glad -- and how, amid the mysteries contained within each, some people could only be miserable:The immediate responses seemed like reasonable ones: The plight of a family facing a wound of such depth would naturally evoke empathetic sadness in others, and our human need to feel empowered in dreadful circumstances fueled an impressively-answered fundraiser meant to defray the costs of emergency airlifts, … [Read more...]

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Science Proves It: Creation Actually Sings Praise!

There is a moment in the dawn -- and it comes again in the gloaming, the evening twilight -- when a stillness falls, and for just the merest second it seems like the veil between heaven and earth has thinned out and may be more easily pierced. The birds chirp; the leaves rustle; the crickets cheep. It is a moment. If you happen to be taking part in Lauds or Vespers at that time, you can particularly feel it slip in and then away. A moment of singularity; one-ness with creation.As weakly as I … [Read more...]

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Catholics: Talking Homosexuality without Sentimentality UPDATED

I've been called a few names for suggesting that sentimentality is a kind of soft tyranny. So be it. I concur with Flannery O' Connor that when we swim in the sticky syrup of sentimentality, we lead ourselves to ovens and gulags.Feelings are wonderful things and I am glad we have them, but they are often irrational things, as well. Think of the things you "love" and "hate". Often your passion is irrational to your friends, and -- if you're honest -- even to yourself. Because they are … [Read more...]

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I love this book…UPDATED

The nicest part of my job is that I get a ton of books to read and review. Unfortunately I can't always find time to really give a book a good going-over, but when Paul Badde's The True Icon: From the Shroud of Turin to the Veil of Manoppello arrived in my mailbox, I did my usual thumb-through and found myself utterly hooked.This lavishly illustrated volume chronicles a very personal journey for Badde -- a tracing of the history of the Shroud of Turin and the lesser known veil that begins … [Read more...]

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