June 3, 2020

    This is part of a series of reflections on opera, religion, and culture by guest writer Gregory Moomjy   Being an opera lover from such a young age, my understanding of my favorite operas deepened as I grew older. For instance, when I first saw Verdi’s La Traviata (1853) when I was eight years old, I had no concept of the importance of family honor in 18th century Europe. (At the time I was more interested in spotting… Read more

May 20, 2020

  by guest writer Gregory Moomjy As an opera lover, I know how easy it is to make fun of operatic tropes. Perhaps none is easier to lampoon than that of the put-upon soprano dying for love in the end. To be sure, there are many operas where this is the case. Unfortunately, tropes have a way of dampening the gravitas of their subject matter. And Puccini’s Tosca (1900) has fallen victim to this pattern. Tosca is a unique opera… Read more

May 14, 2020

  by guest writer William M. Shea   This is a follow up to a previous piece addressing criticisms of the pope by progressive Catholics. I think that Jamie Manson [NCR 4/14/20] in her recent column on Pope Francis is journalist on a crusade. There is nothing wrong with that. Thank God for journalists on crusades! Had it not been for Jason Berry and Spotlight we might still be in the dark about sexual corruption among our clergy. They kicked… Read more

May 10, 2020

by guest writer William M. Shea Christopher Lamb, in an interview by Charles Collins [Crux 4/29/20], makes this comment: “For liberals, Francis is too conservative and for conservatives he’s too liberal.The pope is an old-fashioned Jesuit who can’t be put into a box.”  (Crux 4/29/20) Throughout his seven year pontificate Francis has undone the stereotypical image of the papacy, even more than John XXIII of happy memory. He has proven to be such for many it seems, not least for… Read more

May 5, 2020

by guest writer Gregory Moomjy As children, we all have formative experiences. Perhaps few rival that of the great composer, Giuseppe Verdi. Serving as an altar boy in Busseto, Italy at the age of seven, Verdi was once so transfixed by the beauty of the church organ, that he missed his cue to provide holy water during mass. Unfortunately, his slight was met with a frustrated kick from the presiding priest, causing the maestro to fall down several steps. In… Read more

April 19, 2020

  by guest writer Judy Bratten   One of my favorite gifts last Christmas came from our friend Paul in Kansas. Only four years earlier, I had given him a one-day, rapid rise course in whole grain breadmaking. Now he bakes his own breads from his own grain, organically grown on golden Kansas fields. The gift was a loaf of dark, moist bread and an article on bread making, the old-fashioned way, including instructions on producing homegrown yeast. As I… Read more

April 10, 2020

  by Gregory Moomjy As an opera lover, I am quite accustomed to musical settings of religious texts. In fact, scenes like the Easter hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana, or the final prayer for Mary and her court in Maria Stuarda are some of the most awe inspiring and uplifting moments in opera. The same thing can even be said for the Eucharist at the end of the first act of Parsifal, even though—in typical Wagnerian fashion—it can drag on. All… Read more

November 13, 2019

by guest writer Hope Contentious Call me crazy, and it will be true. Call me Talitha Coum and you will repeat what God told me. Bipolar Disorder. Type One. That’s what I was diagnosed with months before my 18th birthday. That’s the disease that landed me in the hospital off and on for most of a year. The one that brought me to my knees with depression, the one that shot me to the moon with mania. That’s the one… Read more

June 11, 2019

Press Release In 1988, while gang life in Los Angeles ran rampant, a Jesuit priest named Father Gregory Boyle—Father Greg, Father G, G-dog, G, Pops, and Dad, as he is affectionately called—bicycled through East Los Angeles, attempting to convince gang members to leave their former lives behind. Where others saw common criminals, Father Boyle saw individuals who were bereft of any hope or vision for a better life. This inspired him to create Homeboy Industries, a safe haven where gang… Read more

May 20, 2019

by guest writer Andrew Reising States around the country have been passing some truly restrictive abortion laws, seemingly for the purpose of having those laws challenged, in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. But in Alabama’s new law, there are provisions that make many conservative pro-lifers feel like they have gone too far. Not only are the penalties laid out in the law extreme (something it shares with Georgia’s new law), but it contains no… Read more

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