In Which I Nag You To Buy Life Insurance

06/08/2015 Comments (6)

What keeps you up at night? What kind of dark horses go galloping around your brain at 3:30 a.m.?  Lately, my horses are: what if someone asks the kids to prove the existence of God, and they can't, because we gave up on Aquinas? I haven't printed out photos in six years! I'm not sure I ever taught them about sonata form, and now some of them think Cake is actually a good band! I never thanked Nora's mom for making us food when the baby was born, and I'm still not sure which Nora's mom it was! We'll have to change schools. And so on.

Happily, I no longer wake up wondering how our kids will pay for funeral expenses if we die. Yep, the Fishers have life insurance.

For a long time, we just...READ MORE

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Our Tools for Evangelization Have Never Been Greater, Why Do We Stink At It?

06/08/2015 Comments (60)

Our Tools for Evangelization Have Never Been Greater, Why Do We Stink At It?

So there are twelve guys in Israel with nothing but the sandals on their feet. They dispersed and did nothing short of change the world.

How did they do it? Evangelistic zeal. These guys really believed what they were selling.

St. Ignatius of Loyola was injured in the army and read a book about the saints and went out and changed the world. How? Evangelistic zeal.

So today, we have the internet, IPhones, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and various other apps, devices, and instruments to help us spread the Word throughout the world. One might have expected that such a technological revolution in the Western...READ MORE

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Cardinal Müller Warns Against Adapting the Church to Today's Often Pagan Lifestyles

06/08/2015 Comments (69)

Cardinal Gerhard Müller

– EP

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has spoken out firmly against trying to adapt the Church’s teaching to today’s often pagan lifestyles, saying such an approach introduces subjectivism and arbitrariness.

In an interview with the Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost on June 6th, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned that placing “any so-called lived realities” on the same level as scripture and tradition is “nothing more than the introduction of subjectivism and arbitrariness, wrapped up in sentimental and smug religious terminology.” 

The cardinal’s comments have been widely seen as a criticism of a recent “shadow council” when bishops and experts from Germany, France and...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal muller, divorce reamrriage, germany, homosexuality, paganism, synod on the family

IKEA Church and “The Godfather”

How different styles of worship spaces form our imaginations and aesthetic sensibilities — for good or ill

06/08/2015 Comments (34)

Not IKEA Church: The reredos and partial view of the sanctuary and apse at Saint John’s in Orange, NJ.

My family belongs to a beautiful old parish in a poor neighborhood in the Archdiocese of Newark — a church notable enough to have its own Wikipedia page. It boasts an elaborate carved wooden reredos, gorgeous stained glass, a historic pipe organ and lovely paintings over the altar and sanctuary depicting events from the Annunciation to the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.

Like many parishes in poor neighborhoods, it is always in need of repairs. We’ve replaced the leaky roof, but not yet repaired the water damage to the ceiling.

At some point in the past, the original confessionals were ripped out and the altar rail taken down (it’s since been put back). For the most part, though, the...READ MORE

Filed under church architecture, church art, hymns, liturgical music, liturgy, movies

Catholic Religion Quiz, Part I

06/07/2015 Comments (40)

Some time back the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life put out a quiz in which atheists did better than Christians in answering some basic questions about such matters as “Which Bible figure is most closely associated with leading the exodus from Egypt?” (In case you were wondering, the correct answer was “Charlton Heston”. And if you believe that, odds are you are Christian and not an atheist—at least according to the Pew poll.) The reason atheists did better is that, being at war with all mankind about the thing that matters to it most, they oppose all theists and are wary of the whole broad spectrum of religious belief (though with a particular focus on Christ, to be sure). Christians,...READ MORE

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Jenner's 'Call Me Caitlyn' Moment Prompts Awkward Question: What Is a Woman?

06/07/2015 Comments (17)

Over the weekend, the online tsunami triggered by the arrival of Caitlyn Jenner brought me to the Vanity Fair website. There Caitlyn Jenner rules, showcased on the July cover of the magazine.

The first thing you notice is the statuesque figure framed on the cover. "Call Me Caitlyn," directs this person, who flaunts a handsome face, red lipstick and a toned body encased in a corset. 

The work of the magazine's premier photographer, Annie Leibovitz, the iconic cover photo will become one for the ages, as Demi Moore's naked pregnant body on a past cover once turned heads and provoked a national debate.  

The 22-page article and photo spread can be downloaded now, and the issue will hit...READ MORE

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Comfort and Affliction

06/04/2015 Comments (5)

God often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. For Israel, toiling under Pharaoh's lash, the revelation to Moses is good news indeed: "I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Ex 3:7-8). This Scripture has passed into the collective consciousness of Western Civilization as the archetypal word of comfort, hope and promise.

And yet, as the Israelites find out, these words of comfort are not to be taken for a moment as a promise of a free ride. The Israelites soon discover that God, unlike the jury that acquitted the Menendez brothers, is not about to let...READ MORE

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The Supreme Court’s Willingness to Embrace Irrationality Should Shock You

06/04/2015 Comments (36)

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to define marriage and the family, most likely sometime this month (Obergefell v. Hodges). Here’s the good news: The justices may allow each state to define marriage and the family as it sees fit. But here’s the bad news: The justices may allow each state to define marriage and the family as it sees fit.

The point here isn’t, of course, to deny that a worst-case scenario is possible (and is even likely): i.e., the justices imposing on every state the redefinition of marriage to include all-male and all-female unions and deny children their basic human right to know and be loved by their married biological mom and dad whenever possible. Rather, it’s simply...READ MORE

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