Textbook-Free Campus; Fact-Free History, No Jobs

I have issues with textbook-free campuses, and so, it appears, does Jesse Jackson, Jr.And some of our issues are the same. I too have wondered what happens to all the publishing houses, all the paper producers, the raw-material-providers, all the book binders, all the designers, all the office-workers, all the shipping and trucking jobs that disappear if campuses become "textbook free."I am also concerned about what happens to our understanding of the past -- or even our present -- when … [Read more...]

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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...]

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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...]

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Are you Happy?

When my Elder son was very small, and was trying to figure out facial expressions, he would ask me, or my husband, or the lady at the grocery store, "Are you 'appy?"He was missing his h's for a little while.Sometimes my husband and I will still tease each other with that. He'll see me looking pensive and ask "are you 'appy?"It's a sweet question, and it always makes me smile, for the warm memories of my son at such a young age. But sometimes I wonder if, rather than asking people … [Read more...]

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Ferraro's Funeral – UPDATES!

I've had a few emails asking me why I haven't yet commented about the death of Geraldine Ferraro and fact that she will be laid to rest this Thursday after a funeral Mass.Frankly, I haven't thought much about it. She battled blood cancer for over a decade, and it seems to me she bore that cross with a good deal of grace and discretion; many people did not even know she was struggling, and she did not seem to seek out sympathy. That's an instructive thing to ponder in Lent, at least I think it … [Read more...]

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Perpetual Adolescents in the Widening Gyre -UPDATED

I give you two rather different pieces, both sharing a common thread: the full-rein head we have given to all of our adolescent leanings.If the society has been dumbed-down -- and it has been -- it has also developed a case of arrested development, and both issues appear to stem from a generational and cultural mindset that has embraced the sensibilities and reason of 14 year-olds.Think about being 14, for a moment. When you are 14, you know everything, and you resent anyone saying you … [Read more...]

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"Racism is a God-damned thing!"

If you are not reading historian Pat McNamara's weekly column In Ages Past, you're missing great profiles, of American Catholics who impacted this nation in dramatic and often downright exhausting ways.This week, say hello to Father John Markoe, S.J. - football star, soldier, alcoholic, priest, and a civil rights activist a few decades ahead of the rest:Born in 1890 to a blueblood family whose ancestors included Benjamin Franklin, John Prince Markoe was the son of a prominent Minnesota … [Read more...]

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Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]

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Ultrasound Abortions; What No One Sees

Have you ever looked back on a moment of your life, and discovered that as you're pondering, you are shaking your head in regret for your actions?Abby Johnson, writing about the abortion that changed her life, is doing more than shaking her head. She is using her contrition to educate women about the reality of the genuine violence they permit to occur, within their wombs--within the core of their own bodies--during an abortion.“Thirteen weeks,” I heard the nurse say after taking mea … [Read more...]

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