December 4, 2018

Of all the liturgical seasons, Advent is uniquely colored by mystery, longing, and paradox. It is therefore the season most susceptible to the power of poetry, a form far more capable of channeling these three movements than prose. As Madeline L’Engle writes in her Advent poem, After Annunciation, “This is the irrational season / when love blooms bright and wild. / Had Mary been filled with reason / there’d have been no room for the child.” Advent is also the season of silence,… Read more

December 1, 2018

Pray for everyone you encounter this Advent, but remember the poor in a special way. Resolve to be Christ to them this year. In return, they’ll become Christ to you, and your Advent will be doubly blessed. Read more

December 1, 2018

There is always something about Advent that appeals to me deeply. Maybe, I’ve sometimes thought, it’s something about the sense of a fresh start as we begin a new liturgical year. It may also have something to do with the fact that it was close to the beginning of Advent when I first began attending Mass regularly, and thus I have loved Advent ever since I was coming to love liturgy. Maybe Advent simply appeals to my craving for structure… Read more

November 29, 2018

Those were the first words I heard when I came to after my colonoscopy this last February 10. I’d had some symptoms over the Christmas holiday last year – some bloody stools, a general sense of weakness, and so on – but was hoping against hope that it was just a terrible diet plus middle aged aches and pains. Nope – it was cancer. Hearing that news made the world go kind of grey – I felt both numb and… Read more

November 23, 2018

I once heard it said that we need to find ways to blaspheme the money god, and this especially holds true in a society where that god has such a profound and deadly hold. And so I say to everyone reading this, no matter who you are: on this most holy day of the Cult of Mammon, remember that you are worth infinitely more than your role in the economy. If you have to work a long and tiring shift… Read more

November 20, 2018

I ran into a fascinating interview on Pray Tell Blog with Dr. Tia Noelle Pratt, a sociologist of religion who is currently completing a major study of African American Catholics.  It was published as part of Black Catholic History Month.  I recommend the whole thing, but here I want to focus on a short response that reinforced my own thoughts, where she touches on the idea of a white space. You mentioned the concept of an “ultra-white space” at SSSR…. Read more

November 9, 2018

To follow up on my post yesterday on the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, I want to share a column by Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh.  It turns out that the Bishop knew well one of the men killed–as Michael Sean Winters points out, that this is unremarkable is one of the great consequences of Vatican II.   (Hat tip to MSW for sharing this.)  Here is one beautiful passage: This massacre is both deeply personal for us and… Read more

November 8, 2018

I’ve long had a personal rule that I never debate strict five-point Calvinists online because it is a pointless exercise … I’m now adding Trump supporters to that list. Read more

November 8, 2018

I have been thinking a lot about antisemitism lately.  Obviously, this was sparked by the killing of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27.  Had it just been the shooting, I think I would have moved on–sadly, we have become desensitized to mass shootings in America.  Years ago, after the execution of Michael Ross in CT, a BBC reporter asked me why protesting his execution was so important:  “After all, what’s one more execution… Read more

November 4, 2018

Granted, it’s never entirely not about the issues. The lawmakers we elect will invariably make decisions that will affect any number of human lives in any number of ways, and we the electorate know this. And yet it is for that very reason, in a bizarre twist of political irony befitting the absurdity of these times, that the issues our would-be lawmakers are pontificating on with apocalyptic fervor in their bids for our votes are presently of secondary concern. Secondary, that… Read more

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