July 15, 2019

I review Thomas Williams’s flamboyantly helpful new edition, for the University Bookman: Thomas Williams spends a decent chunk of the introduction to his new translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions justifying its existence. What can yet another translation hope to provide? Did Augustine steal more pears since the last one? Last year I read Sarah Ruden’s 2017 translation, and re-read the limpid F. J. Sheed translation that first introduced me to Augustine. Of these three the Williams is the one I’d hand… Read more

July 12, 2019

Hey, remember that novel I was shopping around? This one: It’s a comedy about a woman returning to DC after federal prison, trying to reenter her old social circle of local sadomasochists and get used to her new circle of halfway-house residents; when she learns that someone she knows is being abused, she needs to decide how much of her new life she’s willing to risk. Comedy gold! I have news. First off, I’ve found a publisher: Clickworks, the Baltimore… Read more

June 27, 2019

I’m at America magazine, venturing beyond America: Everybody knows the Catholic Church dominates the world of religious horror films. The sumptuous vestments, the Latin chants, the millennia-old practices—not to mention the extremely literal belief in a living Devil, who, as Pope Francis frequently notes, still works in the world today—all seem custom-made for a genre that evokes rapture and fear. Catholic faith and practices offer a striking visual and auditory language through which horror films can explore the limits of… Read more

June 25, 2019

No theme. Rafiki: This is two well-worn storylines–Romeo & Juliet plus coming out amid religious homophobia–made distinctive because it’s a) set in Kenya and b) great to look at. The daughters of rival politicians fall in love, one is high femme and one is soft butch, everyone’s clothes are fabulous and the setting is full of color and verve; and there are beatings and exorcisms and jail, and then a very rushed happy-ish ending. Definitely worth watching if you’re interested… Read more

June 17, 2019

There are three signs posted up in the gay bar we see in Paul Bogart’s 1988 adaptation of Torch Song Trilogy, over the doorway into the back room where you can go for anonymous sex. They say (this is from memory not notes, so the first one may be slightly wrong) MANAGEMENT TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY PARADISE WATCH YOUR WALLET. These perfect signs are the markers of a certain kind of place and time, which can evoke nostalgia once it’s safely… Read more

June 13, 2019

In Catholic spirituality silence is associated with humility and reverence. Silence is the abyss in which we encounter God; it is a form of poverty, in which we cede the right to be heard; it is a refuge from the clamor of media/entertainment/Twitter/”the take economy.” It is properly opposed not to singing but to noise. (EE Cummings wrote, “(silence is the blood whose flesh/is singing).”) This is the perspective of Robert Cardinal Sarah’s 2016 The Power of Silence. In gay… Read more

June 13, 2019

I’m reading Caroline Walker Bynum’s excellent Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, and I threw a little bit of it into my Revoice presentation. But I didn’t quote this prayer, since I hadn’t gotten that far in the book yet! It’s from St. Gertrude the Great (Gertrude of Helfta) and what I find so striking here–and so necessary for gay Christians, and Catholics in these times–is the combination of Christ as good Lover and… Read more

June 11, 2019

part one; part two. Celibacy is beautiful because celibacy is a witness to our trust in God and in the resurrection of the dead. We witness through celibacy in three ways. First, for St. Augustine, one of the primary purposes of procreation is to bring forth the Messiah. So once the Messiah has come, celibacy becomes open to us, a new form of freedom. By living celibately we proclaim that the Messiah has come in Christ and is already among… Read more

June 11, 2019

part one. Celibacy frees (or pushes!) us to form and strengthen kinds of relationship which might otherwise go neglected. # celibate people are godparents, friends inc covenant friends, monks nuns and priests. Celibate partners (sometimes analogized to a monastery of two), crisis pregnancy counselors, adoptive & foster parents, wife’s or husband’s best friend (one of the pillars which helps support their marriage), “auntie,” caregiver to aging parents. Missionaries, whose relationships are to peoples who need the Gospel. Members of intentional… Read more

June 11, 2019

These are my notes from the workshop I gave at Revoice on “ecstasy in celibacy.” Lightly edited. The handout from the workshop is here. I opened with prayer: Jesus our Beauty, Jesus our Joy, fill our hearts. Jesus our King, Jesus our Peace, guide our thoughts. Come, Holy Spirit, and renew our hearts—renew our minds—and renew the face of the earth. Amen. My first task was to manage expectations. By which I mean, lower expectations! First of all, I AM… Read more

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