Babylon’s Falling: Recovering an Exilic Christian Consciousness

Babylon is indeed falling. But then, Babylon is always falling, which is to say that there has always been a Babylon and the Christian people have always been exiles within it. Read more

The Word from Dr. Lowdown

Yesterday morning I picked up my friend, Issa Umi, at the suburban train stop. He was wearing a soft hat, mismatched women’s earrings, and a peculiar shirt and vest combination. (He later told me a lady in his new apartment building exclaimed “You look like art!”, as she strolled past him.) Issa had taken the train down from Chicago in order to pick up some belongings he had left in storage from a previous stay in my NW Indiana town…. Read more

Feeling the Francis Effect

How to understand Pope Francis? Despite the apparent dyspepsia his arrival has caused among some of the unafflictedly comfortable, it really shouldn’t be that difficult to get him right, wouldn’t you think? Here’s a tip: I recently watched a DVD of The Francis Effect, which I suspect is probably the best single video introduction to the life, ideas and mission of Pope Francis currently available. Produced by Salt + Light, the Toronto/Montreal-based Catholic television network, the film is a skillful blending of both… Read more

Jesus the Imagination

Art, says Michael Martin, has the potential to create a new Gospel every day. “Not a different one,” he adds, “but a new one, and this through the incarnational possible.” In the summer of 2016, Martin, a farmer and author of The Submerged Reality and The Incarnation of the Poetic Word, invited a number of friends to a rural Michigan weekend of reflection on the arts and culture. This was an arty, literate bunch but we shared a dissatisfaction at… Read more

Does God Love the Poor More Than the Rich?

On the surface, it would seem so; in Scripture, there are nearly 3,000 verses concerned with justice for the lowly, the oppressed, and the stranger. Read more

Why You Should Read (and Listen to) Sam Rocha

Not long after Pope Francis’ election in 2013, we friends around Solidarity Hall began to sense that some of our fellow Catholics were just not getting this new Argentinian guy. We decided to collect some essays, partly “translating” Francis for an American audience and also speculating on how we saw the coming years of his papacy. Somewhere I had heard of a youngish but talented Patheos Channel blogger, Sam Rocha, and we asked him to contribute something. Sam obligingly sent us… Read more

Catholic Artists Getting Re-enchanted

Like some hack sportswriter who skips the game but writes his piece by listening on the radio at home, I offer here a report on last week’s Trying to Say God conference at the University of Notre Dame, despite the fact I couldn’t make it there. (Family unexpectedly came in from out of town.) Happily, I was able to listen to some of the presentations posted as audio files on SoundCloud, courtesy of that estimable Patheos blog, Sick Pilgrim, whose proprietors… Read more

The Life of “An Apostle of Charity”

Raymond Sickinger, a professor of history at Providence College, has written an impressive new biography of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the mid-19th Century French layman who Pope St. John Paul II called an “apostle of charity” and “a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church.” Read more

Jesus, Taxes, and Charity

It’s sadly become somewhat de rigueur, particularly but not exclusively on the American political right, to proof-text or misread this passage or to read into it things that were not intended, to prove an ideological point or – as I rather more strongly suspect – to put a religious gloss on an ideological position (that of libertarianism, or anarcho-capitalism) which is, according to the social teaching of the Church, fundamentally godless. Read more

Francis meets TED, Talks About ‘Solidarity’

How wonderful it would be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work and became instead the default attitude in political, economic, and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the ‘culture of waste,’ which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people. Read more

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