Eve of Deconstruction: Feminism and John Paul II

Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women, Mulieris Dignitatem, turns 20 this year, and in honor of its August 15 anniversary, Catholic women’s conferences around the world are celebrating the single instance in all John Paul II’s writings when he advocated “feminism” — or, as he qualified it, a … Read more

An Odd Reminder

  Well brought-up children are taught to say thank you, along with all of the other greetings and responses that attend polite life. Such responses must be imposed at first, of course, and learned by rote, but soon enough they become habitual, and virtually unconscious. This does not, however, mean that they are fraudulent. Somehow … Read more

Spinning the Pope’s Visit

One week after Pope Benedict XVI touches down in the United States, the Pennsylvania primary will be held. All indications are the media would much prefer to concentrate on the latter; they certainly feel more at home covering a subject they know something about. Nonetheless, they will have to give Hillary and Barack a back seat, … Read more

Seeking Smallness

“Do you think we’ll ever really be grown up?” I remember asking my next-door neighbor and best friend Krissy years ago. “Do you think we’ll ever talk about gas prices and health insurance and stuff?” We two ten-year-olds sat on our purple bicycles with sparkly tasseled handle bars and funky flowered banana seats as we … Read more

In Praise of Disenchantment

I’ve got a four-leaf clover And it ain’t done me a single lick of good — I’m still a drunk and I’m still a loser Living in a lousy neighborhood… — Old 97’s, “Four-Leaf Clover” I wasn’t a religiously inclined child. I was really the opposite: a superstitious child. I had a whole slew of … Read more

Our Lady of Ransom

The revival of the Catholic Faith in England in the 19th century saw the establishment of various feasts and traditions, in the conscious desire to restore and revive things that had been lost. One such feast day was that of Our Lady of Ransom. This ancient medieval title was restored to Mary, and a Guild … Read more

Catholics Organize to Elect Barack Obama

► Note: This column has been corrected, 7:30pm, Thursday, April 3, 2008. See letter following this column. Lately there’s been much talk about the endorsements for Sen. Barack Obama made by two Catholic leaders: Republican pro-life jurist Doug Kmiec and Democratic pro-life Senator Bob Casey Jr.of Pennsylvania. But these endorsements are just the tip of … Read more

Science Fiction and the Areopagus

  My kids have been using their spare time to bone up on the Essential Marvel Comics. I know — this makes me a bad parent. Of course, when I was their age, I was poring over MAD Magazine. (I can still recall the cartoons — and the awe-inspiring sound effects — of Don Martin … Read more

Last Chance for California Homeschooling?

Recent reporting has attempted to quell the fear that homeschooling has been banned in California, but the February 28 decision handed down by the California Court of Appeals has indeed done just that. The Court of Appeals ordered the original court to prohibit a California family from continuing to enroll their children in a homeschooling … Read more

News You Might Believe

  Priest with Annulment Charism Starts Lay Movement SAN ANTONIO — A priest who claims he has been gifted with the charism of annulment has created a lay movement to help Catholics answer the call to invalidate marriages. Rev. George Finnegan of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in San Antonio said he got the call … Read more

Meeting Reverend John Hagee

Rev. John Hagee, the pastor of a San Antonio mega-church, has been a major Evangelical figure for many years. But since his endorsement of Sen. John McCain for president, the name Reverend Hagee has become synonymous with anti-Catholicism. A few days ago I met with Hagee and his wife, Diana, in New York City for … Read more

New American Classical Music

As promised, I will end this trilogy on American classical music (see the previous January and February installments) by covering some of the recent releases of works by composers of whom you have probably never heard. I believe their music demonstrates what I have contended in my last two missives: that American music has recovered … Read more

Global Warming and the Pope

In his 2008 World Day of Peace address, Pope Benedict XVI made clear that human beings “are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole.” He explained that respecting the environment does not mean considering “material or animal nature more important than man.” According to some early accounts, this amounted to a “surprise attack” on … Read more

What Price Perfection?

Filmmaker Andrew Niccol, probably best known for his role as the writer of The Truman Show, likes to describe his stories as “films set about five minutes in the future.” And while some movies claim to have been snatched from today’s headlines, few would suggest that they are the headlines of tomorrow.   Consider God’s … Read more

Stuck with the Lord

“Mom, mom!” a tense, tightly curled nine-year-old hissed from the pew in front of me. “Mom, the Lord is stuck in my retainer.” My own post-Eucharist prayer expanded, I considered the last time I, too, got stuck with the Lord. One April morning three years ago, after sending children to school and husband to work, … Read more

Thanking the Fathers

They weren’t there. As we gathered at the front of the cathedral, on a day of bitter cold more suited to Christmas than to Holy Week, we had the holy cards and the placard. We were a happy group, enthusiastically greeting newcomers, calling out to old friends, making introductions. But the Other Group wasn’t there. … Read more

A Memo to the Obama Campaign

I am writing this unsolicited memo to help the Obama campaign understand the Catholic vote. It has been the practice of Democratic presidential candidates, including former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, to enlist the help of well-known Catholic dissenters as advisers to their campaigns (no need to name names). As a result, … Read more

God’s Laughter

One of the themes that sometimes pops up in Catholic reflections during Easter is the idea of the Resurrection as a sort of divine practical joke. There are grounds for it from both a human and from a supernatural perspective. As Garrison Keillor points out, the disciples on the Emmaus Road were the happy victims … Read more

McCain and the Pope

Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to … Read more

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