Tag: Catholic

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The first time I ever met the Abbot, I had been coming to the monastery for maybe four weeks.  It was my 17th birthday, the first time I went. The beginning of junior year of high school, just able to drive on my own with a JOL, and I had taken my Miata there on […]

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Cara and Gerard celebrate National Catholic Schools Week with Tom Carroll, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Boston. He shares his view of the value that Catholic schools add; the reasons for their success at improving student outcomes and creating a sense of community; and their commitment to serving children from underprivileged backgrounds, regardless of religious affiliation. 

They explore how Catholic schools have adapted to changes resulting from COVID-19, taking a proactive approach to closures and remote instruction, and re-opening in the fall while many public schools across the country have remained closed. They discuss the impact of these decisions on their enrollment, and the efforts they have undertaken to follow health protocols and ensure safe and clean classroom environments, leading to a minuscule COVID-19 case count. They also delve into why Superintendent Carroll is a strong supporter of tax credit scholarship programs, that would allow all families, regardless of income, to enroll their children in the schools that are best for them.

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Ray discovered Church Militant, a Catholic organization that broadcasts US and international news from a Catholic and conservative perspective.  They cite sources, and highlight information that would otherwise be difficult to find.  This Election News segment is especially valuable, in our opinion. Preview Open

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Group Writing April: Easter Flowers

 

Years ago, my daughter asked for us to join our parish’s Altar Rosary Society, which is a group of parishioners who clean the church, launder the altar linens, straighten up the pews and, at Easter and Christmas, we decorate the church. For Christmas, there are poinsettias and ropes of evergreen garlands. Usually for Easter, there are dozens of lilies and hyacinths and daffodils and other beautiful spring flowers to adorn the altar and the statues of Mary and the saints, filling the church with their heavenly smell.

Tomorrow, the day before Palm Sunday, is usually the day we get out our buckets and clean all the wood in the church, and give the whole building an extra-special cleaning for Easter. As everyone knows, Murphy’s Oil is the smell of “clean.”

‘He Hasn’t Got Any Underwear on Underneath Those Robes!’: Why Anecdotes Matter

 

Historians are often taught to begin their analysis by focusing on the big picture, the meta-narrative that spans decades and defines careers. But I think that the more mundane flotsam and jetsam of life have similar worth in explaining epochs, important lives, and the texture of history itself. It’s also still the Christmas season (at least until I have to fly back to England on the 18th) and after facing the terrifying milestone of turning 20, I’m in the mood for nostalgia. So indulge me, in telling a very Christmas-y story. 

My Dad grew up in a devout Baptist family and while he has strayed somewhat in terms of attendance and even denominational loyalty, he did come out of that upbringing with a deep suspicion of Catholicism. This made his choice to marry a Catholic girl from the next town over particularly perplexing. In due time, he had two daughters and allowed his wife, my mother, to raise us as Catholics, if only because he had no feasible alternative (having fallen away from the local Baptist community) and was adamant that we be raised to believe in something.

Why All Catholics Should Believe

 

A recent Pew study showed that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in communion. I was dismayed at this not because I am a champion of this teaching but because I believe that people of faith should wholeheartedly believe what their faith teaches. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Here is a little back story. At the last supper in the upper room, Jesus held forth the bread and wine and said, “This is my body, this is my blood. Eat in remembrance of me.” Most Christians (with the exception of Quakers and the Salvation Army) believe that this meal is to be reenacted in our worship today.

While there is debate over little stuff (how often, wine vs. grape juice, etc.), the substantive controversy has to do with the metaphysical aspect of this reenactment.

Russell Kirk’s Favorite Loincloth, or The Conservative Novelist Adapts

 

“Different times demand different actions. Had I been born in Ancient Egypt I may well have advocated for change, even radical change. But modern times require shoring up the Old Moral Order.”– Russell Kirk

If you can, for just a moment pull your mind from Pharaoh Kirkses II and his sartorial choices, and contemplate his point. When asked to consider the conservative novelist, we normally choose from a set cast of characters; Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, Allen Drury, G.K. Chesterton, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. They represent the bulwark, the voice that stands loudly astride history yelling stop and portrays old values and mores with humanity and passion. Rarely do we stop to consider the novelist that finds those values buried beneath the deep layers of their own modernity, and by showing only faint glimmers argues for their modified return. Two novelists separated by birth and an ocean, Ma Jian and Walker Percy, provide powerful examples of the adapted conservative novelist and his worth.

“The carbine lies across my lap. Just below the cloverleaf, in the ruined motel, the three girls are waiting for me.” Dr. Thomas More, the narrator of Love in the Ruins, is not a well man. He drinks too much, wanders in the dead of night through malarial swamps, and lusts after every woman he can find, just for a moment without his dead daughter and gnostic spouse. In Dr. More there is none of the saintly debauchery of Sebastian Flyte or even the simple sinfulness of Wormwood’s ward, he is a funny and fallen man fully conscious of the beauty he is slowly losing a drunken grip on. Unlike the more famous Thanatos Syndrome, which has been accused even by Percy fans of being preachy, Love in the Ruins thrives on its subtlety, on the guilty pleasure that is watching the moral deterioration of Dr. More which expresses itself in jabs at Commonweal, George Wallace, and the prosperity gospel. Dr. More wishes, it grows clear as the novel goes on, to be faced with the simpler choice of Thomas More, to sacrifice himself to martyrdom and be done with a society that refused to allow old values to adapt or even exist.

Ash Wednesday, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Paddy

 

You were made from dust…

Had I walked about, and run, this morning topless and with neon purple hair, I think I would have attracted fewer stares than I did today. Growing up in very Catholic Massachusetts, I’m not sure it had ever occurred to me on more than a purely intellectual level what it means to be a religious minority, especially one that (even for a day) was marked out in its physical difference. Which is not to say that I feel the victim; I am perfectly free, as so many martyrs and fathers in ‘priest holes’ were not, to practice my faith, and to giggle at the man who stopped walking his dog and turned around to watch me go by like a latter-day circus attraction. In fact, I left Mass this morning more uplifted than I had been in weeks, embracing something of the Chestertonian paradox that finds the deepest hope in the most profound sadness. On a day of penitence, prayer, and fasting, I found joy.

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I’ve walked in the fields, and I’ve trod light for daysSeems I’ll do that old rag, takes me all kinds of waysExcept the way I’d be headed if I knew where I was goingBut I’m from the country, and it’s better not knowing.  I do not pretend to know much about life. I have read […]

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“To be a ‘cultural Catholic,’ say, or a ‘cultural Jew’ is to align with a group as much as it is to assent to a set of philosophical or spiritual propositions, and to say you are one or the other is increasingly more about your chosen community than about what you believe.” This is a […]

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           Having read Jere Real’s fascinating essay on The Playwright as Bohemian Tory, and having time to reflect during this university break, I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to the practical influence which philosophers, and other thinkers, can have on the way we live, particularly for the young.    […]

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This month of Thanksgiving was marked by the quiet passing from this world into the next, of someone who risked her life to save members of the Jewish Resistance during a time when pure evil threatened everyone in its path. With determination and courage to fight back, this small group of nuns stepped out to […]

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There is something going on among the Catholic faithful that, from a worldly perspective, seems exceedingly odd given the wide-ranging lay response to the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on child sexual abuse and the cover-up by the Church hierarchy. The Catholic laity is appalled, furious, and unyielding in demanding that each and every bishop […]

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7 Shocking Takeaways from the PA Catholic Church Grand Jury Document

 

Today was a day that will forever change the face of the Catholic Church in America. The New York Times reported today:

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

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Lost with the state of the union last night was the vote earlier in the day in the Senate failing to pass The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act by a vote of 51-46. It required sixty votes to pass. This was to ban abortions after 20 weeks from conception, the point where supposedly a fetus […]

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My former church is having a Reformation celebration honoring the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his arguments upon the bulletin board of his day.  I’m not quite sure what I feel about the celebration. My faith tradition is indeed on the Protestant side of the Reformation.  I do see the good things to […]

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America encourage President Trump to scrap President Obama’s unconstitutional and unilateral program allowing illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, noting the issue ought to be addressed by Congress.  They also slam former FBI Director James Comey upon the revelation that he decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton in her email investigation long before the investigation was done or key witnesses were interviewed.  And they roll their eyes as a Catholic school in California removes most of its statues, including ones of Jesus and Mary, in an effort to be more inclusive and “forward-looking.”

David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss President Trump’s executive orders that scrutinize the amount of land designated as national monuments and Obama-era restrictions on offshore drilling.  They also groan as it looks like the update health care bill is also struggling to find the votes to pass.  And they take aim at the ACLU for suing a Catholic hospital for refusing surgery for a transgender patient.

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The new Liturgical Year began today. We Catholics have moved to the ‘A’ readings of the lectionary. We are in a time of waiting for the Nativity of our Lord. Advent is a time of penance, reflection, and anticipation. In order to not be completely overcome by commercialization, I will be reading Rediscover Advent and Advent with […]

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