If You Watch Garbage, You Will Get Dirty

02/05/2015 Comments (77)

Last night, my husband and I were talking over our day -- conversations we'd had, news that made us think. He said, "Watching that kind of thing warps you, and warps the way you look at the rest of the world."

And I said, "I know. And there's tons of evidence that people who watch this stuff keep needing weirder and more awful things to look at, to keep their interest."

After a "Huh?" moment, we realized that we were talking about two different stories in the news. He was talking about people who thought they had a good reason to watch that poor Jordanian pilot being burnt alive in a cage; but I was talking about people who thought it was fine to watch two actors humiliate themselves and...READ MORE

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A Good Book Can Go A Long Way in Lent

02/04/2015 Comments (11)

My reading time has been dissolved into something akin to “other people’s normal” lately, and it’s killing me.

Even so, with Lent around the corner, I can’t help but look to my bookshelves for some inspiration. This year, maybe more than usual, I feel like I need some extra motivation.

Among the books I’m looking forward to this Lent is Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s newly released 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent (Servant Books). I first read it back on the cusp of fall, and I’ll be honest: I was dreading it.

As it turned out, though, it was just the book I needed at that moment. I found myself appreciating that I was reading it in the fall, because when Lent rolls around—as in, right...READ MORE

Filed under books, brian doyle, lent, marcellino d'ambrosio, mark hart, peter kreeft, prayers, the mass, theology, thomas aquinas

Archbishop Romero and Three Missionaries Declared Martyrs

02/03/2015 Comments (5)
Christopher Dickey

Archbishop Óscar Romero pictured just a few weeks before his death.

– Christopher Dickey

After years of speculation and delays over concerns his elevation to the altars may be politicized, the Vatican announced today that Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador will be beatified.

Following a private audience this morning with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican said Pope Francis authorized the Congregation to promulgate a decree declaring that Archbishop Romero was “killed in hatred of the faith” on March 24, 1980.

The Vatican also announced today that three European missionaries killed by a Peruvian armed militia while serving the poor will also be beatified.

Born August 15, 1917, Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y...READ MORE

Filed under beatification, el salvador, franciscans, martyrdom, oscar romero, peru, poor, pope francis

Dealing with Busybodies: Some Practical Tips

02/03/2015 Comments (19)

Some time ago, I shared some practical tips for how to make a difficult decision. While it can be a huge relief to make the initial choice, we sometimes still have to face another hurdle: defending or explaining ourselves to people who feel entitled to an opinion about our lives.

How difficult this is depends on your personality. Some people can just shake it off when other people question or disapprove of our choices. But it's not necessarily a personality flaw to care what other people think, or to be disturbed when we're challenged, or to wonder how to navigate an interrogation without either losing our dignity or the friendship of the people who insist on knowing more. For a sociable...READ MORE

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UK Mother of Six Could Be Sterilized

02/03/2015 Comments (29)

The UK government may soon be all set to forcibly sterilize a mother of six with learning disabilities, according to shocking news reports. But don't worry, they say it's for her own good.

Social Services have requested that a judge approve of them forcibly entering her home, dragging her to the hospital, and sterilizing her. But they say it has nothing to do with eugenics. No. It's nothing like that.

Health and social services officials want the judge to declare: the woman lacks capacity to make decisions under the terms of mental capacity legislation; a "therapeutic" sterilisation is in her best interests – and authorise medics to sterilise her; to authorise her removal from her home to...READ MORE

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Tending the Ecosystem of the Faith

02/01/2015 Comments (53)

As a born and bred Western Washingtonian, I was raised to respect the environment. My entire education, especially in this part of the country, was ordered to toward making me acutely aware of the fundamental interconnectedness of things. If you dump some toxic junk out of your boat somewhere upstream on the Skagit River, the effects are felt everywhere downstream. If the mill north of Everett pumps out tons of sulfide stench into the air (as it often did when I was a boy), it doesn’t just stay in the air on the mill’s property. It becomes everybody’s property and you smelled it in south Everett where I lived. If some apparently insignificant seaweed starts to die off in Puget Sound, it can...READ MORE

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Bringing Up Purgatory at a Funeral?

01/30/2015 Comments (438)

Dante depicted as looking at purgatory, in a 16th-century painting.

– Wikipedia

Is it in bad taste, even insensitive, to speak of purgatory at a funeral?

Many seem to think so. In my experience, most homilists at funeral Masses report that our loved one is already in heaven, and we should hold onto that thought as we grieve our loss.

So I was startled this month when the homilist at a recent funeral Mass for an old friend asked the congregation to pray for him in purgatory.  The priest added, as if anticipating the shock of some mourners: “It seems to me, any Christian who does not accept purgatory, diminishes God’s love for man, and at the same time devalues the beauty of the human person."

His intriguing words grabbed my attention.

The priest, Dominican Father...READ MORE

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RIP Charles Townes, Brilliant Physicist, Man of Faith

01/29/2015 Comments (14)

Yesterday, Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes died at the age of 99. He invented the laser and discovered the black hole at the center of the galaxy, and spent many decades on the vanguard of scientific inquiry.

He also seems to have been a tremendously approachable and genial man, and was very open about his Christian faith -- and about the natural cooperation between faith and reason, religion and science. In a 2005 interview with National Public Radio, he said: 

Consider what religion is. Religion is an attempt to understand the purpose and meaning of our universe. What is science? It's an attempt to understand how our universe works. Well, if there's a purpose and meaning, that must...READ MORE

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