To Kiss the Crucified King

For the first few years since I started attending Mass, I hesitated to participate in the veneration of the cross on Good Friday.  Despite my growing fascination with liturgical symbolism, it somehow seemed a bridge too far for my more austere Protestant sensitivities, so that on first observation I could only see the kissing of an object.  [Read More…]

To Resist or Rise Above?

I find myself in a disorienting dilemma. Everything about Donald Trump repels me – to the point that, quite frankly, I can’t even bring myself to legitimize his presidency by referring to him by the title, a feeling reinforced every time a bratty, self-absorbed tweet is reported as news.  During his improbable campaign, I vacillated [Read More…]

Practicing the Virtue of Hope

This will not be about voting. It is, however, about lying awake imagining all the possible quasi-apocalyptic outcomes and after-effects of the impending election.  I am truly hard-pressed to think of any realistically possible good outcome – of the election itself, of the probable backlash, or of the one or the other set of scandals and indiscretions that [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…]

Beyond Yes or No: The Anti-Dichotomy Queen Takes On the Synod

Like my colleague David, I have been following the synod of bishops with interest, with my preferred sources being mainly the refreshingly unfiltered (and often quite detailed) reports from the Vatican Information Service via email subscription, and the incomparably lucid reporting of John Allen and his team at Crux.  Allen does us a particularly valuable [Read More…]

Forgiveness is Hell

The BBC World Service recently featured some striking coverage of responses to Wednesday’s shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, particularly from within the church community itself.  I was especially amazed by one attendee of a prayer vigil for the victims (speaking about 32 1/2 minutes into this radio program) who said of Dylann [Read More…]

Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis (Introducing Solidarity Hall Press)

I’ve been watching the mailbox like a kid at Christmas.  Except we’re in Easter, so alleluia!  My cause for rejoicing today is the arrival of my honest-to-goodness paperback copy of Solidarity Hall‘s inaugural publication, Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis, in which I and a few of my fellow Vox Novians (previous contributors Sam Rocha, [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…]

Romero’s Last Christmas Homily

On this night 35 years ago, Archbishop Oscar Romero presided over what would be his last celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord. In his homily, he preached a word of hope in a particularly tumultuous context to the faithful of El Salvador; yet the tumult of our own time, indeed of every [Read More…]