Find Your Own Calcutta

Myself I've never met a saint of the Church and I've only met one person who ever knew a prospective saint. (It was someone who knew Dorothy Day well.)But we all need to meet more of them, even if it's only in the pages of books like Fr. James Martin's My Life with the Saints, now out in a 10th anniversary edition.The author picked out sixteen of his favorite saints (including saint-in-the-making Dorothy Day) and interestingly wraps bits of his own life story around his mini-biographies … [Read more...]

A Lawless Man

On Friday, January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. It will be dark day for our nation, and a portent of even more dire days ahead, because the highest office in our land is being assumed by a fundamentally lawless man.Like Erebus and Nyx, Trump is born of Chaos. His campaign, indeed his broader public career and persona, have been characterized by the absence of any recognized constraints on his conduct and by the cavalier violati … [Read more...]

Good News & Great Joy

To all people of good will fighting for social, economic, and environmental justice, defending the poor & the marginalized, ministering to the world's sick and wounded, or working for peace and reconciliation among both men and nations- rejoice!  You do not labor to build the Beloved Community in vain, but are instead the harbingers of a Kingdom that is, even now, triumphantly breaking into our world.To all people in darkness- the poor, the oppressed and abused, the migrants, the fo … [Read more...]

Roasting Marshmallows at the Apocalypse

[A review of Nothing to Vote For: The Futility of the American Electoral Process, by Daniel Schwindt]One of the more misguided, even destructive projects of our hyper-merchandized culture is the labeling of entire generations into Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. As though our society needed yet another mechanism for dividing ourselves from each other, especially via stereotypes based on shopping. As an example of the crudity of these generational labels, I offer the example of my … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Deal: Privatizing the Presidency

Dispossessed of jobs and their dignity for a generation now or more, the Trump voters are glowing as they await what they were promised: nothing less than the reversal of a great tidal wave of economic history, the one popularly referred to as globalization or offshoring or free trade.As their unlikely tribune of the plebs, they have elevated a man with businesses in 18 countries, including Trump-branded hotels in India (2), Istanbul, Uruguay, the Phillippines, South Korea, Panama, Rio de … [Read more...]

Blessed are the dissidents

"Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization."- Masha Gessen“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie."- Alexandr SolzhenitsynAs I write this, reports are circulating that Donald Trump, our President-elect, intends to follow through on some of his most divisive campaign promises and actually create some sort of … [Read more...]

Lights Coming Back on in Gary

I knew my involvement in civic matters in northwest Indiana would eventually take me to Gary, about 25 miles from my town of Valparaiso. As I’ve driven along Interstate 90 heading to and from Chicago, I’ve often peered down from the expressway into the city’s empty streets and dilapidated neighborhoods. For many long-time residents of the area, the town’s very name is an epithet for a landscape of failure and fear where it’s thought that no one stays who can find a way to leave. I admit I have no … [Read more...]

Shelter From the Storm

The truth is, I'm going to be just fine during the Trump Administration. I 'm holding a straight flush: white, male, able-bodied, middle-class, and middle-aged. I have a business of my own and my wife has a solid, well-paying job with a Fortune 10 company. We own our home and have other assets, including investment and retirement accounts. Our son has already been to war and is in no danger of having to go again. Our daughter can rely on us for economic and emotional support. Frankly, there is l … [Read more...]

Radically Catholic in the Age of Trump

For several years now, I've attended daily Mass at St. Clare Church, where the average parishioner could be described as white, old, and well-off. For the first couple of years, I routinely joined other communicants for the Wednesday "Coffee and ..." in the parish center. Eventually, though, I had to stop attending. When someone asked me why I wasn't coming around anymore, my response was "Because I want to think the best of you all." You see, I heard things on Wednesday mornings that would curl … [Read more...]

An Election Day Lamentation: Mourning a Missed Opportunity

 In politics, as in war, there is often only one favorable moment- an opportunity when tantalizing possibilities open up and the very course of history can be diverted in new directions. But these moments, which depend on the convergence of circumstances largely due to mere chance, are fleeting, and must be seized immediately and exploited because they may never occur again.As a result, in the political arena, radical reform is always a project for the bold and the e … [Read more...]