I have spent more time than I care to admit – by which I mean any time at all – looking at this photograph of Kim Kardashian and feeling annoyed. It took me a few moments of that time to figure out why, but here it is: I felt annoyed because I felt controlled, manipulated. And I didn’t like it. (more…) Read more

Brittany Maynard’s decision to euthanize herself has recently garnered much attention. A perhaps lesser-known but somewhat similar story was documented across the Atlantic on the Guardian. In the article, Paula Cocozza wrote about the relationship between Annie the palliative nurse and Jo the dying patient. Jo had planned to take the route of euthanasia, but the time spent with Annie seemed to have given her second thoughts. This is not a picture-perfect case. Jo hadn’t completely closed the door on… Read more

Redeemed humanity is still young. –C.S. Lewis We often think of human history in terms of centuries, and are impressed if a family tree can be traced back a few dozen generations. But on the grand scale of our species, we are the leaves at the top of a very bushy tree of life. So I learnt from the August edition of Scientific American, which was dedicated to human evolution. In old textbooks our descent is described in a relatively… Read more

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)…. Read more

    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… Read more

@KofC epic #selfie #PopeFrancis pic.twitter.com/CLYduUpxDA — Fabio M. Ragona (@FabioMRagona) August 29, 2013 Most 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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

Today, in addition to being the Feast of the Assumption, would have been martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero’s 97th birthday. It’s been a big eighteen months (or so) for Romero news. In April of last year his path to sainthood was unblocked, and although there hasn’t been any movement thus far, when Pope Francis met with the bishops of El Salvador in May of this year he reportedly “assured the bishops of El Salvador that the sainthood cause of slain Archbishop… Read more

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