Surrender Unto Surrender

Since the recent, horrifying reports of Coptic Catholics being slaughtered at worship in Iraq and Egypt each day’s email has brought at least one, and sometimes several, angry and emotional missives”diatribes which generally begin by ruing the day that the post-9/11 George W. Bush declared, “Islam means peace.” … Continue Reading »

The Priesthood and Justice

At the end of last year, Msgr. Charles Kavanagh, who held several significant positions in the Archdiocese of New York, was laicized at the age of seventy-three for an incident of abuse that occurred over thirty years ago. I do not know all the details of the Kavanagh case and will not, therefore, comment on its specifics… . Continue Reading »

The Cosmopolitan Life

I would not want to be a Cosmogirl. The other day I picked up some copies of Cosmopolitan from the library sale table and was struck by how … pathetic is the apparent target reader, the 3,000,000-some Cosmogirls who buy the magazine (over half from a newsstand) and who seem really, really, to need a man. It is full of articles about finding a man, finding a good man, keeping a man, and pleasing a man, and though most are written in a bright and chirpy voice, the urgency and even desperation are not hard to see… . Continue Reading »

New Year’s Titanic Gods

Since other writers on this site have already declared their indifference to or hostility towards New Year’s celebrations, I suppose I should avoid doing the same, if only for variety’s sake. The truth is, though, that my family never observed the day when I was growing up, and always made a point of going to bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve… . Continue Reading »

Visions of Mary

I am not sure what my own first vision of Mary was, but from an early age I was aware of two images: one a literal picture, the other an imagined scene; and both remain with me half a century later. The picture was a gilded reproduction of an icon, the original of which is displayed in Rome in the Church of Saint Alfonsus Liguiri … Continue Reading »

Our Pagan Ritual

It was cold, very cold that New Year’s eve in the Adirondack Mountains, perhaps twenty below. A fine, imperceptible snow was almost hovering like a thin mist as I fumbled with the small backpacking stove, unable to manipulate the little knobs. So I took off my mittens, and the harsh cold of the frozen metal pierced through my thin silk inner gloves, making the tips of my finger almost instantly numb… . Continue Reading »

Why the News Makes Us Dumb

The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is often described as a “slow-news week.” We use that phrase without considering that world-historical events seem to take a vacation during the period when journalists are on holiday. Could it be that most of what is considered news is a product created for consumption when we are most likely to be paying attention? … Continue Reading »

New Year’s and the Lord of History

The contrarian rule I have long tried to observe with respect to New Year’s Eve—get to bed by 10 p.m.—was confirmed by its breach on the night of Dec. 31, 1981. Perhaps the inspiration came from watching too many episodes of The Duchess of Duke Street, … Continue Reading »

For 2011: Unwrap the Silence

Christmas has, in too many ways, become the equivalent of an overdone theme-park vacation. By its end, one is knock-kneed with exhaustion and desperately in need of a genuine opportunity to rest. A Christmas snow, like the one we’ve just had, does wonders to cull the silence… . Continue Reading »