Root of All Sin: Selfishness? UPDATED

My column at First Things today is about walking on The Diamond Path, a road some of us learned about as children, after a brazen caper:Flashback, forty-some years: as my friends and I prepare to make our first confessions God is very much on all our minds, as are the notions of sin and shame and forgiveness.Contrary to modern thinking, we six year-olds are not little dopes incapable of comprehending moral concepts. Knowing that we will soon be kneeling in a confessional and facing up to all … [Read more...]

Gay Marriage, Eden & Our Constant Illusion – UPDATED

My column at First Things this week completes the journey I began three weeks ago, and I have to say the timing of the whole thing seems oddly coincidental, to me. I've had the idea of discussing homosexuality and God, otherness, nature and nurture and calling and depth of longing and marriage for a while, but never felt like it was the right time to bring it up, and then -- even though I wasn't paying much attention to the headlines when I began -- it all seems to have landed at the same time … [Read more...]

Mo Dowd, Wrong Again

I am not sure she actually reads more than summary reports on anything, and even if that's true, I'm not sure she is able to comprehend sentences that do not conform to her worldview, still I am going to take a chance and send Maureen Dowd this piece on what critics and the press got wrong regarding the John Jay study on causality (pdf) and the sex abuse issue within the church.Dowd, you'll recall, went full metal mental all over Archbishop Dolan over gay marriage in doing so tried to sneer … [Read more...]

Gay Marriage, Sentimentalism and Being – UPDATE

Over at First Things, I felt compelled to continue unpacking my thoughts from last week, about homosexuality, nature/nurture, "necessary otherness" and what it all might mean.Larry Kramer called the gay community “exceptional,” and in doing so he opens the door to question what that means, whether it implies a giftedness that is planned, and meant for all of us. If that is so, our homosexual brothers and sisters deserve a full participation in our human adventure, right down to the “plans of fu … [Read more...]

Dog Day Afternoon – UPDATED

+ + + + Heh++++++++ Meanwhile, offered without comment because I have to pay attention to paying work, and because I'm getting a trifle bored. And the Wagner at the end was just so self-important and heavy-handed that, I'm sorry, I laughed. All I could think was "kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit, kill da wabbit!"I think I am done writing about John Corapi, unless something earthshaking comes up. I'll keep praying for him, but I'm not giving him any more publicity. If you need more things … [Read more...]

Bishop Finn: Epic Fail and Fallout

By all accounts, Bishop Robert Finn is a very good man, but it seems he is a very good man who made a very big -- huge; astounding -- mistake:Creepy is one thing. The question remained: was [Father Shawn] Ratigan's behavior criminal? Based on the evidence available at the time, nobody could have said in good conscience that it was. [. . .] Julie Hess, St. Patrick's principal, was able to fuse a mosaic of apparent non-events into a coherent picture of pathology. In May of 2010, she reproduced … [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...]

The Gates of Hell are Rattling…

My column at First Things this week looks at the aphorism that "those who can't do teach," and wonders what lessons have been learned from those bishops of ours who did not know how to do their jobs:If “those who can’t do teach,” then a few of our teacher-bishops imparted some profoundly important lessons to us over the past six weeks. The shocking story of Belgium’s Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, and his stomach-turning delusions about what constitutes love and “moments” between an adult and a child … [Read more...]

Meeting Him on the Mt. of Olives

" . . . let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere … [Read more...]

Fr. Corapi and the Limits of Tragedy – UPDATED

In an earlier piece, Max Lindenman admitted to spending more time reading internet comboxes than is probably healthy for any human being.In this week's column, he clearly has spent a good deal of time reading the various postings and musings, here at Patheos, and elsewhere, about the ongoing (although not actually progressing) story of the investigation and suspension of Father John Corapi, and all of this has him wondering about both Irony and the limits of Tragedy:I have to confess, I like … [Read more...]


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