Praying with Viola’s Firm Resolve


Ross Douthat and PEG have been having a back and forth over the possibility of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics (part 1, part 2, part 3), and my attention was caught by Douthat's discussion of the "firm resolve" to turn from sin required to make a good confession and return to communion.  He writes: To use a higher-stakes version of the professional case Gobry references — if you work at a job that by its nature requires grave sin for full participation (let’s say, I dunno, you’re … [Read more...]

What Are Shakespeare’s Lovers Talking About?

beaucoup de bruit pour rien

I don't have any strong opinions yet about Nate Silver's revamped FiveThirtyEight, but, on their first day, they did have a piece on statistics and Shakespeare, and, what can I say, I'm an easy mark.Emma Pierson took a look at how many lines any given pair of characters in a play spoke to each other.  (She tried out four methods of tallying, described in her footnotes).  Here's what she found: I wanted Romeo and Juliet to end up together — if they couldn’t in the play, at least they could in … [Read more...]

The Cost of Fetishizing Marriage

The Act I tableau of The Fantasticks

PEG has a great essay up on the odd way our culture has settled into talking about marriage: But the problem is that ["marriage is awesome"] is an inversion of the Biblical theology of marriage. The root is Protestant. In his urge to torch his own vows, Luther built an exalted theology of marriage as the summit of Christian life (completely ignoring Paul, #solascriptura). The Protestant communities, separated from the apostolic Church, lost the great gift of the Holy Spirit of celibate life and … [Read more...]

St. Valentine and Pope Francis

a closer look

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Relevant Radio for the St. Valentine's Day taping of A Closer Look with Sheila Liaugminas.  I was joined by three other Patheos bloggers: Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress), Betty Duffy, and Mark Shea (Catholic and Enjoying It!).We had a pretty wide ranging conversation, and you can listen to the hour-long program here, but I'll summarized two topics I covered below.We opened by talking about the namesake of the day.  Saint Valentine is us … [Read more...]

Knock Knock. Who’s There? A Wedding… I think

elvis wedding

  The NYT Weddings section recently reported on a new trend for marriage officiants: marketing themselves for their entertainment potential rather than any particular ministry.  One popular officiant is the Kenny Kramer, who inspired the Seinfeld character of the same name. The bride’s parents squirmed. Seconds later, Mr. Kramer, who prefers not to be called the Rev. Kramer but rather Irreverent Kramer, pronounced the smiling couple husband and wife, and after they kissed, he reminded them of h … [Read more...]

Highly Speculative Love Affairs

zero gravity wedding

In the collection of C.S. Lewis essays I finished recently(Of Other Worlds), one of the selections ("Unreal Estates") is the transcript of a discussion between Lewis, Kingsley Amis, and Brian Aldiss on genre literature, among other topics.  At one point in the conversation, the following exchange appears: Lewis: By the way, has any science fiction writer succeeded in inventing a third sex? Apart from the third sex we all know. Amis: Clifford Simak invented a set-up where there were seven … [Read more...]

It’s Hard to Make Up Marriage

wedding cake assembly

This month, Libby Anne and Dan Finke are asking bloggers to comment on the purpose of marriage as part of their Forward Thinking linkup.  And, in order to try to speak clearly, I'd like to riff off of a recent Modern Love column in the Times, where the unmarried author shared his experience officiating a friend's wedding.Because it was a secular wedding, the officiant and his friends had a lot of flexibility with the how of the ceremony, but the author of the essay seemed to be frighteningly … [Read more...]