Becoming What We Contemplate: The Risks of Violence as Entertainment


When I was a twelve-year-old, I wanted to be like Rambo. Often, I would don one of dad’s ties as a headband, wear a grey tank top, and run around with the ‘machine gun’ I had created out of PVC pipes. I would stay in character long enough to avenge an old friend, free every Prisoner-Of-War behind enemy lines, and single-handedly drive out all communists from my backyard. Occasionally, I would save the world from a zombie apocalypse (you’re welcome). Those memories came to mind a couple of weeks a … [Read more...]

We Are All Persons of Interest

Person Of Interest

   Maybe it's up to me to do what the good people can't. Or maybe there are no good people. Maybe there are only good decisions. — John Reese, Season One, Person of Interest  Our home did not have a television when I was growing up. So instead, for entertainment, my parents elected to read us stories. And they did, night after night, year after year. I can still picture the scene: my brothers and sisters and I sprawled on the living room floor, with hands busy drawing, the … [Read more...]

More Than Just a Selfie: How Pope Francis Really Keeps it Real


@KofC epic #selfie #PopeFrancis— Fabio M. Ragona (@FabioMRagona) August 29, 2013Most if not all of us have seen the selfies with Pope Francis, which are arguably the most popular example of how much he is in touch with what’s going on in the world. He feels “real” in that way, but his realness goes beyond delightful spontaneity. He keeps it real in a more profound way.  I think that his realness, in particular, isn’t just a matter of personal charisma, but a r … [Read more...]

Remembering 9/11 with a Gospel that Preaches Itself

9/11 Cross — "I Remember…" by Rachel Titiriga via Flickr (Creative Commons)

To you who hear I say, love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you. Sometimes, the lectionary provides us with a reading that preaches itself. As we remember 9/11 today, Thursday of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time offers us eleven profoundly challenging verses from chapter six of Luke's Gospel.And if I'm being honest, I have to say that as painful and sad as the memories are, I don't struggle to remember 9/11. And I'm … [Read more...]

Facing Failure: Why the Seal of Confession Is Inviolable

Confession — Picture by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I try not to make a habit of wading into swamps, but there’s something going on in Louisiana that should not be ignored.[1. A few other contributors in the Patheos Catholic channel suggested a Jesuit might take look at this situation, in particular explaining from a Catholic viewpoint some of what’s being discussed over on the atheist channel.] The state Supreme Court ruled that, once a penitent has waived confidentiality, what was discussed in the sacrament of confession can be fair game in cou … [Read more...]

“So Great a Cloud”: Virtual Choir & Real Gift


Is there a real relationship between faith and technology, or is it just a matter of one using the other? Is the Church’s task with respect to the internet just to learn how to get its message out, or do we actually have something to learn from it? And do we have anything to offer back about technology, beyond moralizing about its proper use? Can we go beyond talking about how to use technology to talking about what it is really for?Here’s a potential answer to these questions: a beautiful vi … [Read more...]