Because of Catholics Like Vincent Liem of Vietnam (1732-1773)

November is the month that we Catholics remember the dead. There’s the Feast of All Souls, and the Feast of All Saints, celebrated right after Halloween.  Here in the United States, as the Fortnight for Freedom enters its third day, the Archdiocese of St. Louis suggests we remember the martyrs of Vietnam, and St. Andrew Dung Lac. I don’t know much about Andrew, but I found a treasure trove worth of information about the Vietnamese martyrs, especially one named Vincent Liem. [Read more…]

A Sonnet on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Heart of Mary, by Sheldon Vanauken (1914-1996).

Dear sister, I was not divine,
The angel left me woman as before,
And when, like flame beneath my heart, I bore
The Son, I was vestal and the shrine.

My arms held Heaven at my breast—not wine
But milk made blood, in which no mothering doubt
Prefigured patterns of the pouring out,
O Lamb! to stain the world incarnadine.

The Magi saw a crown that lay ahead,
But not the bitter glory of the reign;
They called him King and knelt among the kine.
I pondered in my heart what they said,
Yet could not see the bloody cup of pain.
I was but woman—though my God was mine.

D-Day, June 6, 1944

An American Army chaplain kneels next to a wounded soldier in order to administer the Eucharist and Last Rites, France, 1944.

The photograph above was taken by Frank Scherschel for Life Magazine, after D-Day. From today’s issue commemorating the landing, the editors at Life share the following,

It’s no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in photos, movies, old news reels — what happened on the beaches of Normandy (codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed an historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.

But in rare color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine’s Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: [Read more…]

Because Catholics Say Stuff Like This…And Mean It

You know, like soon after their city has been devastated by a nuclear bomb. Catholics, being fallen human beings, say other stuff that is less encouraging too. But thoughts like the ones above are timeless, beautiful, and true.

I have faith that I will meet Takashi Nagai in person one day.

Which reminds me! My friends Ian and Dominic Higgins are busting their buns trying to squeeze the film version of Nagai’s life into the can before the next anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing rolls around (August 9). I’m talking about All That Remains. [Read more…]

Thoughts on the Role of the Laity on this Feast of St. Joan of Arc UPDATED

And so we leave Eastertide behind.  Before we move on into “Ordinary Time”, recall the events of Holy Week with me. During that week, way back in the year 33 AD, the forces of human justice, lobbied aggressively by the interested parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees, convinced the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, to sentence Jesus to death on a cross. And though the whole mess was a tragic setup, it was all done officially and legally.

I can think of many things today that are both official and legal and still very tragic. Here’s an example. A friend of mine who is serving in the Army in Afghanistan sent me this message recently: [Read more…]

Because Blaise Pascal Knew The Art of Risk Management and the Importance of Consequences


The late economic historian, and former financier Peter Bernstein explains this fact well in an article published in the New York Times during the early innings of the tumult of the U.S. debt crisis. Bernstein authored a half dozen classics, among them Against the Gods, the Remarkable Story of Risk, which was published in 1996.

It was in that book that I became reaquainted with Blaise Pascal, [Read more…]

Memo to the Blog-o-sphere: Saying Atheists R Stoopid is Lame

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that witnessing to atheists, at least in the manner that seems to be popular in the Catholic blog-o-sphere nowadays, is in a sad state of affairs.

Posts thumbing our noses at atheists, posts basically saying that atheists are idiots, and posts attempting to stick their noses in what some believe to be atheist formed pools of pee-pee (I reckon), is pretty much de rigueur. [Read more…]

Scripture Quote of the Week…

From St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (13:8,10),

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbor; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.

Because On this Ship, I Don’t Have to Decide Everything UPDATED

There has been a lot of fur flying around lately regarding prodigal groups (possibly) coming back into the fold, while others get a solid scolding, etc. Since the season of Advent, Catholics have endured changes to the Liturgy and a new version of the Missal, and we’ve had to relearn lines we had memorized since forever. And lately the HHS Mandate has been seen as a galvanizing moment by many, me among them, and only as a distraction by others. In the immortal words of  Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” [Read more…]

For Your Lenten Friday Night at the Movies V

This is the year of seeing films I have never seen before. Last week, we saw Richard Burton and Jean Simmons in The Robe. And in the weeks previously, we’ve watched St. Ralph, and The Mighty Macs too. So aside from The Musketeers double feature, every film this year has been a first time view for me.

Tonight is no exception. [Read more…]