Holy Women & Everyday Hero Priests -UPDATE

"The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine genius which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms that the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope, and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness (n. 31)."--- Blessed Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris DignitatemExciting … [Read more...]

Dear St. Aloysius

I love St. Aloysius and while in Rome was privileged to be able to pray at his tomb for my sons.A nice piece on him, in AmericaIn his single-minded pursuit of God, and especially his willingness to give up literal riches, Aloysius perfectly emblemizes a key meditation of the Spiritual Exercises called the “Two Standards.” In that meditation, St. Ignatius asks the retreatant to imagine being asked to serve under the banner, or “standard,” of one of two leaders—Christ the King or Satan. If on … [Read more...]

The Parent-Child Thing

It doesn't always flow so easily, or so naturally, especially when the family has been shattered and new people are coming in and out of the framework.When I was 14, two things happened. First, he met a woman, moved in with her, and got engaged. Second, I entered high school. The future he and I had talked about so hopefully became foreshortened; like Tony Manero's, my future was tonight.With startling speed, my father changed from a wise and patient counselor into, well, a crabby and … [Read more...]

Dowd's Yips Derail Even Her Praise – UPDATED

Seems yesterday was my day for writing about female journalists. Last night I was late to the Anthony Weiner/Andrew Breitbart story, barely having time to observe Barbara Walters diminish herself by allowing her hate to overrule her sense. Before that, I was filing my latest column for First Things, which looks at how Maureen Dowd -- whose whole career, latterly, has been about stone-throwing and filtering hate through pop-references -- has so ruined her pitching mechanics that even when she … [Read more...]

Feast of Dear St. Philip Neri

Today is the memorial of my dear patron, teacher and friend, St. Philip Neri, whose chapel in Santa Maria in Vallicella (also called Chiesa Nuova) in Rome feels like a very natural and welcoming second home, for me -- where I was able to participate, daily, in the mass on my last visit.In her column, "A Word in Season" Pat Gohn takes a really wonderful look at this very great saint, whose "mission" was to the people of Rome; the churches and hospitals he built are still serving. The Oratory he … [Read more...]

Beatification: Raw Video

Two minutes of history, y'all: Benedict formally asks that his predecessor be included among the blessed.It's official:CBS News: Cardinal Wuerl weighs in; some shots of pilgrims in the rain. Can anyone spot Elizabeth?Footage of the vigil. (Yes, the announcer mispronounces "Dziwisz," though not so badly as the other one):Update: World News offers its overview. It estimates the number of attendees at 1.5 million. I'm not sure, but I think that's a record. And yes, the Poles … [Read more...]

Live-blogging Beatification John Paul II

(Photo SourceHe is a Beato! Loved singing the Gloria, in Latin, with my fellow Catholics. Bells ringing all over Rome!8:33 AM After doing more grousing than a mature woman and a Christian should, I stood up, watched the chopper overhead, the stunning vista, the crowds, the placement, the choir...and I was just overwhelmed. I found myself doing the hand-to-chest thing: holy moley, look where I am! This is unbelievable; it is breathtaking, heart-aching, staggering, and I want to share it with … [Read more...]

Beatification Link Roundup

Here, some of the best and brightest weigh in on Pope John Paul II's beatification, and correct some popular misconceptions.The Curt Jester ripostes John Paul's critics by explaining the difference between heroic virtue and administrative brilliance.Fr. Z. reminds readers that they shall know a saint by the fruits of the people mourning him.While defending John Paul's sanctity, Pia de Solenni calls for more transparency on the handling of the Maciel and sex-abuse cases.In the National … [Read more...]

Virgins, Martyrs and Vermin

[GUEST POST, WRITTEN BY MAX LINDENMAN]A few more thoughts on the quirks of the canonization process...Regarding the round-the-clock publicity surrounding the capture and liberation of Private Jessica Lynch, Larry Flynt sniffed, "{the government] force-fed us Joan of Arc." If Larry had done his homework he'd have known that far greater scoundrels than anyone in the Bush administration had promoted the cults of -- sorry, Jessie -- far holier women, the Maid of Orleans being only … [Read more...]

What Saints Can't You Stand?

I don't mean to overdo the Fr. Jim Martin plugs -- I swear, nobody's passing me anything under the table. But today in Slate, Fr. Jmi published a fascinating piece, "Saintly Bad Behavior," in which he makes the point that many saints venerated by the Church were oddballs or plain old jerks. Of course, he puts it more gently:Four centuries later, St. Jerome, the brilliant polymath who translated the Bible into Latin, was a famously nasty Christian. When confronted with criticism, he was … [Read more...]