The federal budget proposal released this week is in some ways a predictable reflection of the twisted priorities of a global superpower: yet more military spending at the expense of aid to the country’s poorer citizens.  And in a further twist, a particular concern about potential cuts to SNAP and Medicaid was expressed in a brief segment on my local NPR station – by a head of veteran housing services. Just let the irony of that sink in.  For all… Read more

As a lifelong lover of books, I’ve often encountered authors whom I really can’t say I like that much– and yet, I keep on reading them. And sometimes, if I read them long enough, I eventually grow to respect and even enjoy them. For me, one of these writers is the great British fiction writer and essayist C.S. Lewis, known best for his Christian apologetics. As a child, I loved Lewis – indeed, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe… Read more

Mark Shea wrote a post on his blog some time back where he basically disavowed any involvement with Catholic Tribe Right. Knowing Mark as I do, I knew it was not that he was becoming any sort of lefty, per se – he is by temperament and sensibility more righty than lefty – it was more that he could no longer abide the contortions the Catholic Right had to do to justify their tribal priorities.  During the Bush administration, Mark… Read more

Many years ago I wrote a post on survey data from the Guttmacher Institute on use of Natural Family Planning.  To quote from my lede: The report finds that only 2% of Catholic women use natural family planning, and that this number does not vary significantly when frequency of mass attendance is taken into account.   The figure rises to 3% among married Catholic women. This provoked an interesting discussion going in several directions, one of which was challenging the numbers… Read more

Over the past year at least, we’ve heard plenty of discourse about the divisions plaguing our country. While government policies such as the end of the DACA and TPS programs threaten to break up families by deporting people for whom the US is the only home they’ve known, families of US citizens are divided by politics and ideology, to the point that people’s differences impede connection and conversation. I’m sure that many readers of this blog found the holidays difficult…. Read more

[Updated 01/16/2018: there was some bad html that was preventing part of this post from appearing. Hopefully, it has been fixed. DCU] I finally got a chance to read Angela Nagle’s small book, Kill All Normies.  It came out last summer, but the library never bought a copy and I was too lazy to use inter-library loan, so my wife bought it for me for Christmas.  (In passing let me give a shout out to the publisher, Zero Books.  They… Read more

Being the token Catholic in my family sometimes means feeling like I have to over-explain some things. While visiting family but without much going on in the way of New Year’s Eve festivities, I opted to attend a late-evening Mass at the parish where I had attended Christmas midnight Mass.  As I was preparing to leave, my mother asked me quizzically, “So, is it a New Year’s Mass?”  I explained, not for the first time and with a hint of… Read more

Among the literary gems I picked up at a recent parish bazaar was a compilation of homilies by the 20th-century theological heavyweight Karl Rahner, titled The Great Church Year and organized by liturgical seasons and feasts.  On Christmas Day I opened to the first entry in the “Christmas Season” section and found, at first, a rather dismal proclamation of the insignificance of the world of human activity with a nihilism to rival the Ecclesiastes. But then, in the middle of all… Read more

This is not an earth-shattering question, but I am curious:  in your parishes, how long do you kneel after communion?  I ask because my new parish here in Alabama seems to kneel an extraordinarily long time.  In my experience at other parishes, we generally all kneel until  everyone receives communion and the priest returns the sacrament to the tabernacle. Here in Tuscaloosa, we all kneel until the priest and the deacon have purified all the vessels and they have taken… Read more

Driving home Wednesday afternoon, I heard this discussion on NPR’s All Things Considered about the legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law, most famously associated with Boston’s clergy sex abuse cover-up, who had died that morning. May God have mercy on him. When the Boston Globe journalist interviewed on the program, in her summary of Law’s complicated pastoral history, described the Catholic Church in Boston during the time of his tenure as “so powerful, so influential,” contributing to his “prestigious” stature as archbishop, I… Read more

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