The Real Threat to Reproductive Health

As the congressional battle lines over health care are drawn yet again, Republicans have been awkwardly coming to grips with the second half of their “repeal and replace” mantra.  Especially to the most right-liberal wing of the GOP, any replacement of Obamacare will look too much like it, simply by being a health care bill.  This [Read More…]

The Church, the State, and the Sanctity of Life

As I sat down to watch Tuesday’s vice-presidential debate, knowing that much has already been made of both candidates’ self-professed Christian faith, what I dreaded most was the possibility of the name of Jesus Christ being taken up as a political weapon on both sides. In fact, they almost made it through the debate without doing [Read More…]

The Value of a Microcephalic Life (beyond the fetal double-talk)

A recent NPR story on pre-natal detection of the effects of the Zika virus caught my attention a couple of weeks ago.  Although I was alerted by the foreboding reference to the mother’s loss in the teaser that appeared in my email inbox, the following two sentences still hit me in the gut: The woman decided to [Read More…]

Abortion as Political Profit: the Unspoken Consensus

There is a timely yet potentially endangered bill making its way from the House to the Senate, intended, as its name suggests, to protect the pain-capable unborn past 20 weeks.  (It is not my purpose here to analyze the bill at length, but as an aside it is interesting to note that the rape and incest [Read More…]

Motherhood and Hard Cases

This Sunday (Mothers’ Day, coincidentally or not), a shocking juxtaposition appeared in my facebook feed, of the kind that somehow compels some response, even as I wonder how I can have the audacity to say anything at all.  I suppose it’s because violence always deeply disturbs me, despite, or maybe because of, being so often [Read More…]

When We Crucify Our Lord

Two years ago the community choir I sing with in Toronto put on a concert devoted entirely to music by African-American and African-Canadian choral composers. We performed a lot of great music in that concert, much of it drawing on the tradition of African-American spirituals. For me, the most powerful piece was “Crucifixion” by Adolphus [Read More…]

The Tears of the Infant Jesus

The word “solemn” has a range of meaning that borders on the paradoxical.  Most commonly, outside of church parlance, it’s synonymous with somber and serious.  In a liturgical context, however, it approaches the opposite meaning: the more solemn a feast day, the more festive and celebratory.  There is a logical connection here in terms of the weight [Read More…]

Come, let us keep praying: a lament for late Advent

This summer, as accounts were unfolding of the forced exodus of Iraqi Christians from Mosul and its environs, I changed my picture here on WordPress as well as Facebook to this haunting image of the Arabic letter “noun”, which had been popping up as a sign of solidarity among Christians (and even a few other kind [Read More…]

MSW on the Left and Abortion

Recently I wrote a critique of the Pro-Life movement, suggesting that it was in the grips of a totalizing ideology.   Several commentators responded by arguing that this sort of attack was a reflection of partisanship, that it did nothing for the Pro-Life movement, and that I was turning a blind-eye to similar faults among progressive [Read More…]

Saint Martin of Tours and the Mythos of Militarism

Attending daily Mass this morning, I was reminded of two observances taking place today, in an ironic intersection of liturgical and national calendars.  For the Catholic Church, it is the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a 4th-century convert who experienced an irreconcilable tension between his Christian faith and his career as a soldier.  Meanwhile, [Read More…]