Between Loving and Labeling

From Web Exclusives

I want to love, again. Youth cannot be reclaimed, and I would not want to, but increasingly I feel a need—a calling, perhaps—to find a way to reach back and recapture one aspect of my youth: a willingness to be a little naive, to take people as they are, rather than as I believe I can classify them. It was how I lived before I became very engaged with politics and religion and chose labeling over loving . . . . Continue Reading »

Is the Church Suppressing God’s Will?

From Web Exclusives

The editorial board of the National Catholic Reporter this week endorsed the ordination of women. Basing its position on a 1976 vote by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, on “countless conversations in parish halls, lecture halls and family gatherings,” and on the supposed support of myriad unnamed bishops, the Reporter calls “for the Catholic church to correct this unjust teaching.” … Continue Reading »

Begin the Apocalypse!

From Web Exclusives

Two weeks ago in this space, while still processing Election 2012, I wrote of my relief at the outcome, not because I approved of it, but because it provided a bit of needed clarity. Faced with a challenger whose most daring political strategy was to cultivate vagueness in his relentless pursuit of all things beige, and an incumbent gleefully willing to launch a daily barrage of splattering, oozing color bombs heedless of what or whom they hit“or whether their tints were environmentally toxic or even true“the voters chose “sound and fury” over “nothing.” … Continue Reading »

The Mass of the Very Old Men

From Web Exclusives

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 6:25 AM: In the palest light, I follow footprints left in the season’s first frost, just a few minutes behind the regulars. The church’s glaring overhead lights are softened by the flame-glow of a few dozen candles”real wax, seven-day candles that burn a constant supplication”and by the shimmer of one gloriously large and eye-catching Icon of the Crucifixion scene. I wait to stand my candle as a slope-shouldered older man first places his own and then remains a few moments in wonder before all that beauty… . Continue Reading »

Moses and the Gipper and the End of America

From Web Exclusives

I am relieved. Now that a week has passed, and people have processed things a little, I can admit publicly what I have to date only said to a few close friends. I am relieved at the outcome of the election. This is not to say I am pleased. Regardless of what he said while addressing the University of Notre Dame, Barack Obama has amply demonstrated his willingness to ignore the rights of religious entities to exist and to operate”in ways that go well beyond formal acts of worship”according to their founding precepts… . Continue Reading »

Offices Executive and Divine

From Web Exclusives

We are told that the election cycle is fourteen months long, but we know better. The 2012 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been ongoing since the last ballot was counted in 2008. We are living in an era of the perpetual campaign, where each policy is declared, each speech is delivered, each press conference completed with one eye turned toward the next election campaign and, usually, the other eye turned toward its funding… . Continue Reading »

Gratefully Weeping Through the Knox Bible

From Web Exclusives

We are barely two weeks away from an election day that, to paraphrase Churchill, is not the beginning of our end (our end as a nation has been, like the end of each human life, a process built-in at conception, with our last gasp set in motion by our first breath) but may signal the end of the beginning of our end… . Continue Reading »

The Conceit of Primacy

From Web Exclusives

Not long ago, while discussing the viability of a continued Eucharistic church given the dearth of priestly vocations, I told someone that the outlook is better than our perceptions would have us believe. In Maryland, Colorado, Missouri, and other parts of the Midwest, for instance, and even in the American South, some seminaries are at capacity… . Continue Reading »

U.S. Press Plays Pravda

From Web Exclusives

Almost exactly one year ago in this space, I offered anecdotal evidence of a previously unthinkable development: the growing distrust among senior citizens for a mainstream press whose credibility was, until very recently, so sterling that arguments among their set were definitively settled with the declaration, “It has to be true! It’s in the paper!” … Continue Reading »

3:00 Prayer in the Year of Faith

From Web Exclusives

October 11, 2012 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. It is perhaps both a tribute to that council and a challenge to it, that Pope Benedict XVI has chosen that date to commence a “Year of Faith” which will continue until November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King… . Continue Reading »