Bringing Death into the Light was Never Crazy

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When I was a little girl my mother informed me, early and often, that “children should be seen, and not heard.” An obedient sort, I soon learned that if I would only keep my piehole closed, I was quite welcome to hover at the periphery of adult gatherings, until well past bedtime. There, I would quietly drink in the stories that would bubble up and out of various aunties and uncles whose guards were let down and tongues loosened”for better or worse”thanks to a steady imbibing of what they called “the creature” in all its shades… . Continue Reading »

A Moment of Revelation

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A few years ago, down with a bug and seeking a bit of couchside entertainment, I flipped through endless television channels in search of something fresh and new”anything that did not seem like a reworking of something I’d seen before. I found an unusual-looking fellow performing an obnoxious dance, complete with lewd pantomime. His audience consisted of two unimpressed record-shop clerks, and when the dance abruptly ended a conversation ensued about life and music and the consequences of sullen attitudes and selfish behavior… . Continue Reading »

Benedict’s Christocentrism: Realities of a Primary Order

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Pope Benedict XVI will be 85 years old next April and, while the pontiff is fully in his wits, we can see a loss of weight; it is reported that he feels a quite understandable fatigue born of pain, age, and heavy responsibility. A few days ago the Associated Press, noting “a decline” in the Holy Father, immediately focused on “…questions about the future of the papacy given that Benedict himself has said popes should resign if they can’t do the job.” … Continue Reading »

The Terrifying Tim Tebow

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It says a great deal about the depths to which America’s values have fallen that Tim Tebow—who, once upon a time, would have been the wholesome, women-and-mom-respecting, clean-playing, fresh-faced and faithful Hollywood ideal of a football hero”is the target of such deep derision from so many sources, and in an era of such vaunted “tolerance.” Although it may seem too easy to some, I blame the baby-boomers”a generation so in love with deconstructing old standards (and so completely neurotic about being perceived as anti-establishment, smart, and most of all, cool) that it only can express full-on admiration for the anti-heroes… . Continue Reading »

The Distraction of a Dive-Bombing

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It was perhaps a year or so after the terror attacks of 9/11, during the debates over the Patriot Act. I was reading comment threads in a right-leaning political forum, and noted one woman who vociferously objected to the legislation. She was a “stalwart conservative” and a bit of a rugged individualist”she could shoot a gun and dress a kill (if I had known of Sarah Palin’s existence at the time, I’d have favorably compared the two)”and her concerns about the legislation were sound… . Continue Reading »

The Shushing Tyranny of “Be Nice!”

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There is a lot to like about James Martin’s latest book, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life. Aside from the amusing anecdotes and laugh-out-loud funny jokes (often ones that fry his own Society of Jesus, to his clear delight), Martin makes a fine intellectual, scriptural, and spiritual endorsement of G.K. Chesterton’s observation that “angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” A faith grounded in gratitude and a wider perspective, we understand, can create a solid tarmac from which we may soar… . Continue Reading »

Christ the King and the ’Net Positive

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In reading for the feast of Christ the King, and in preparation for Advent, I am every year compelled to re-read and contemplate the thoughts of our good Pope Benedict in Co-workers of the Truth: The King is Jesus. In him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man, and even of turning his wrong ways in to right ways… . Continue Reading »

American Optimism is a Strange God

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I am told in some of my email that when writing about the future of the church or about the future of America, I tend toward the cynical and the pessimistic, and that these qualities are unhelpful to and unwanted by readers who”for reasons that defy comprehension”log on to the internet expecting to be soothed, reassured, and entertained. While reading the news. The news is not good, and it is not good on any front. Europe is, to put it mildly, in disarray… . Continue Reading »

O Saints, Teach Us What You Know!

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For a while, as each year wound down, a friend of mine would ask me if I would like her to “pull a patron” for me”a spiritual guide and teacher for the upcoming year. She had an impressive stack of holy cards, and if you wanted, she would randomly pull one for you, and that saint would then become your “patron” for the year. “Saint Titus!” she served up, one year. Really, I thought. A guy about whom almost nothing is known? Great… . Continue Reading »

Revolution is Calling

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A few years ago, in the midst of his diaconate studies, a friend was invited by a small parish group to discuss the journey that for him had been one of immense joy, albeit filled with hard work, fear, and wonder. In the middle of his talk, he was interrupted by a woman who could not wait for the discussion period. She took deep umbrage at the fact that this man could be ordained, while she”a woman with an advanced degree and “just as many credentials” as he “and more than some priests!” was not “offered the same option.” … Continue Reading »