Rhyme and Reason

Hymns are chimerical critters. Their bodies are made of poetry, and their breath is music. The natural ligature of these beasts is rhyme. But sweet rhyme has fallen on strange times in both poetry and music. In poetry, rhyme is terribly out of fashion. It has come to serve more as a rhetorical . . . . Continue Reading »

Puritans on the Potomac

On a late November evening in 1867, two years after the end of the American Civil War, Celestia Ferris, chief washer-woman at the Bureau of Engraving, organized a prayer meeting not far from the U. S. Capitol. She was joined by a circle of earnest Christians, mostly of the Baptist persuasion, who . . . . Continue Reading »

Inhuman Baseball

Unfortunately, the scene is now familiar to us. The runner on first breaks for second as the pitcher delivers the ball to home. The catcher jumps to his feet, throws a rocket to the second baseman as the runner slides into the base. The play is close, as are so many plays in this game of inches, but . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

On Not Being Seventy

For the longest moment driving home two days ago, I was convinced that my next birthday, then just days away, would be my seventieth.I cannot think what trick of mind swayed me to that conclusion. True, I have been looking forward to being seventy, perhaps enough mentally to add a year to my tally. . . . . Continue Reading »

Silence of the Churches

Tomorrow, on April 29th, Rome’s white marble Trevi Fountain—its swirling waters and the charging baroque statues of Oceanus, his sea shell chariot and attendant tritons and horses—will all be turned blood red in a campaign to raise awareness about modern day Christian martyrs. The popular . . . . Continue Reading »

The Most Important Day of Your Life

During talks around the country in recent years, I’ve been asking Catholic audiences how many of those present know the date of their baptism. The high-end response is a little under 10 percent. The average is about 2 to 3 percent. This, brethren, is a problem. You know your birthday. You know (or . . . . Continue Reading »