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Faith

How the Media is Missing the Pope’s Radical Critique of American Religion

I sometimes think that Catholic theology operates on a super high frequency that just doesn’t register on some people’s hearing. That’s the conclusion I came to when I read veteran NY Times Vatican-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley’s summing up of the papal visit so far. Comparing it to Prince Charles’ second wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, (in contrast to JPII’s more Princess Diana-like “extravanga” visits) was clever, but trite. Has the trip, for her, really been about “seamlessly binding together the thorniest Vatican… READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    beneidct xvi | bishops | pope | secularism

Faith

Close to Benedict at the Basilica

Close to Benedict at the Basilica

9:30 pm. I’m beat and a more than a bit sunburned after a day spent in hot pursuit of the popemobile through Washington D.C. This afternoon I was on the campus of Catholic University, where Pope Benedict arrived at around 5:30 to attend Vespers and address the US Catholic bishops in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. As with Pennsylvania Ave earlier today, the air thrummed with excitement over the pope’s imminent arrival. Mobs of college-aged youngsters assembled on the green lawn of their campus singing… READ MORE >

(3) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    benedict xvi | bishops | pope

Faith

The Pope’s Birthday Party

The Pope’s Birthday Party

11:50. am In roughly fifteen minutes the popemobile will pass by. I walked down Pennsylvania Ave. towards the White House this morning and the mood is electric. Thousands of people line the sidewalk behind the barricades, holding aloft the Vatican flag and chanting “Viva il Papa!” Praise music is the soundtrack (and lots of ‘Happy Birthdays’): every block showcases strumming guitars, tambourines, bongo drums, and a circle of dancers. The crowds are as diverse in age and ethnicity as the universal church, but I’m also sensing… READ MORE >


Beyond Politics at the White House: What the Pope said, and what he didn’t say

As I listened to Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at the White House this morning, I thought of a very wise statement about God: “He loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay that way.” All popes follow this method, the one established by Jesus: Communicate unconditional love specifically to every person and nation, highlighting whatever is good and true in their history and ideals, while withholding particular criticisms. And boldy issue ethical and religious challenges in general terms, with the hope that… READ MORE >


Faith

Open Doors at St. Stephen Martyr

Open Doors at St. Stephen Martyr

I’m comfortably settled in DC at the church of Saint Stephen Martyr on Pennsylvania Ave, and my particular thanks go to Br. Hugh Vincent Dyer (a fellow Godspy contributor) for his generous hospitality. As I entered the parish office I received a warm welcome from Msgr. Filardi, the pastor, but could sense that my arrival was a shade anticlimactic. For just as the door closed behind me, I saw another arrival on a nearby TV screen: Pope Benedict was strolling across the tarmac towards President Bush, whose hand was outstretched in welcome.… READ MORE >


Faith

America: Encounter the Pope

America: Encounter the Pope

The Pope is coming to America. I’ll be with the crowds in D.C. and New York this week, live-blogging my experience of the pope’s visit, and the experiences of the pilgrims and bystanders around me. Secular media coverage has positioned America front-and-center of the trip. I’d like to do the reverse. In my mind, the pope isn’t just coming to America; this is a chance for Americans to come to Benedict XVI-to engage him, encounter his message, listen, absorb, pray, reflect. The pope arrives in Washington DC later… READ MORE >

(6) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    benedict xvi

Faith

Beyond Benedict, ‘the American Pope’

Beyond Benedict, ‘the American Pope’

Time Magazine’s recent cover story about Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit had two headlines: “Why The Pope Loves America,” and “The American Pope.’ Neither title was accurate. It’s hard to imagine the soft-spoken, intellectual, Mozart-loving pontiff as somehow quintessentially American. But is it true that he loves America? Sure, but in the unconditional, fatherly sense—not, as the authors of the Time magazine story claim, because “he sees us as the world’s best example” of a faith-based society. The story pieces… READ MORE >


Issues

Driving a Wedge into the ‘Evangelical Center’ on Gay Marriage

Driving a Wedge into the ‘Evangelical Center’ on Gay Marriage

Why is it taboo within the cultural left to “privilege” marriage in any way? Several years ago I came across a snarky little news item in New York Magazine titled: “The Smug Marrieds Head Underground: Pro-marriage propaganda to invade subway.” What sort of propaganda was this? They were subway billboards produced by an abstinence advocacy group called Campaign for Our Children. The ads featured happy-faced couples and headlines like “‘Marriage works.” “Married people earn more money.” “Kids of married parents do better… READ MORE >


Life

An Easter Homecoming for Jimmy

Easter marks the dawning of a new and eternal day. The Church commemorates the Resurrection day of Christ as an octave; eight days of rejoicing as if it were a single day. The preface for the Eucharistic prayer in these days speaks in the present tense “on this Easter day”. The Beatles sang of needing love eight days a week and of a longing for a space in which love could overflow even beyond eight days. God’s superabundant Love is manifested in this the highest of octaves. Throughout Christendom baptismal fonts, the womb of the… READ MORE >

(3) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    easter | homeless | octave

Politics

JFK, Barak Obama and the role of religion in American political life

JFK, Barak Obama and the role of religion in American political life

When Democratic presidential nominee Barak Obama spoke in mid-March about race, the speech was hailed as a watershed moment in American politics. Laudatory comparisons were made to John F. Kennedy’s speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, where he addressed head on the question of whether a Catholic could be considered for the nation’s highest office. Though his speech focused on the issue of race itself in American politics, what received less attention was Obama’s reflection and defense of traditional… READ MORE >

(6) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    church | kennedy | obama | religion

Spirituality

Well-Springs of Belief: An undiscovered contemporary classic

Well-Springs of Belief: An undiscovered contemporary classic

As Holy Week began and I reviewed my slack observance of Lent—that is, as I reflected on “things done and left undone”—I found I had wasted my soul more than anything through needless distraction. Pascal pointed out how kings have their minstrels and courtiers and fools to ward off the possibility of self-reflection, as he diagnoses how divertissement keeps everyone from confronting the mystery of his life. This past penitential season, I had let Hardball, CNN’s The Situation Room, and innumerable panels led by Brit Hume on Fox… READ MORE >

(15) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    dale allison | lent | nature | silence

Faith

Easter and the Problem of Evil

Easter and the Problem of Evil

This Easter I waited for the usual Newsweek, Time or U.S. News magazine cover story about “Why Jesus Really Died,” or the “Lost Christianities” the Church has supposedly suppressed in centuries past. Mercifully, I didn’t notice any (I did find a very respectful photo essay on Ireland’s religious orders in Newsweek). Could it be that mainstream media editors have figured that the recent glut of “new atheism” books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and others has made debunking Christianity passé? Magari!… READ MORE >

(2) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    ehrman | god | suffering

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