April 23, 2019

  My mother used to tell us stories about the housekeeper who worked for her family when she was a child– an unholy terror named Margaret Shank. This doesn’t sound like a story for Easter Week, but it is, because my mother would often talk about Margaret Shank during the Easter preparations. Easter was the only time Ms. Shank had eaten junk food, as a child– her parents visited her in the orphanage once a year, on Easter Sunday, bringing… Read more

April 21, 2019

I had been dead for eons. I was not the first to die– the first to sin, but not to die. I had to see my second son murdered by my firstborn, before it was my time. And then I went down into the ground, and then my children all joined me, and then my children’s children, and so on for all the generations to come. All of my children were with me, the just and the unjust together in… Read more

April 20, 2019

  There is nothing good about this Friday. There is nothing good about a day when you cannot find the Lord. There is nothing good about a church with nothing the tabernacle, nothing on the altar, every statue draped, the candles extinguished, not even a drop of water in the font. There is nothing good about this Friday, when we shuffle into a bench, hungry from fasting, and find that the Bread of Life is not there. This is the… Read more

April 18, 2019

“She completely misunderstands the Atonement” Is such a strange thing to say. Someone said it about me the other day, and it seemed so obviously truthful as to be absurd. Of course I completely misunderstand the Atonement. Everybody does except God Himself. It’s one of those things that can’t be spelled out in a sentence like ordinary knowledge. As far as I’ve been given to understand, some of my Protestant brothers and sisters– not all, not even most, but a… Read more

April 16, 2019

  We are all still mourning the tragic fire at Notre Dame cathedral, and justly so. This is a trauma for the whole world. Thankfully, though, the building is still standing. She is more or less structurally sound. I am amazed at the photos I’ve seen this morning– the rose window is still intact, most of the interior is intact, the relics were saved. I’ve even seen photos of the statues that used to be on the spire and roof,… Read more

April 15, 2019

  To begin with, I need to state that the firefighters working to put out the fire at Notre Dame today were wearing white or off-white hats. That’s the color of the hat that the fireman depicted in the photo of the (thankfully mostly undamaged) interior at Notre Dame was wearing. I don’t own the rights to that photo, but I shared it publicly on Twitter here. You can see that he’s wearing a badly smudged, round whitish hat that… Read more

April 15, 2019

I’m supposed to say something about Notre Dame de Paris. On any other day, you wouldn’t have been able to stop me talking about Notre Dame de Paris. Notre Dame de Paris, or as it came to be known in English, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was my first grown-up book, when I was about eleven years old. It engendered in me an obsession with becoming fluent in French, so as to read Hugo in his native tongue; and with… Read more

April 13, 2019

Have you remembered your almsgiving penance this Lent? You know, the one you resolved to do, and forgot? Well, I’ve got something you can do right now in honor of Holy Week, and maybe keep up all year. The Friendship Room is looking for donors to stock their Little Free Grocery. They’re hoping to get a different individual, church or organization to commit to doing it on a different day, every day of the month. What’s a Little Free Grocery,… Read more

April 13, 2019

  Somehow, one afternoon, I ended up on a bench in Fort Steuben Park. I had meant to go to the Adoration chapel downtown, but I couldn’t stay long. The constant discouraging news coming out about our church has made the Adoration chapel in the big baroque church a twitchy place, nerve-wracking in the extreme for people like me. I decided to pray as I walked around downtown instead. I wandered down Fourth Street, humming Sacred Harp hymns. David, the… Read more

April 11, 2019

I was talking last night to my friend who is a member of SNAP. She herself is a survivor, and she has been studying the history and canon laws associated with this issue for decades. She was not surprised, but frustrated nonetheless, about Pope Emeritus Benedict’s “notes” on the sex abuse crisis which were released yesterday. She writes: Ok, this is how it really went. Up until the early 20th century, Canon Law did not provide for the church to… Read more

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