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Two Cheers for Commercialized Christmas

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Spirituality|

Every year around two minutes past midnight November 1, when Halloween ends and the malls begin spewing out “Xmas Muzak,” Christians trundle out their well-worn complaints about the tinselly squalor of today’s commercialized Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. I, too, bemoan the ever-expanding catalogue of banality known as “holiday carols” which are little more than neutered [...]

Pro Sports as Substitute Religion

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Spirituality|

Man was made to worship. It's in his DNA, so to speak, to reach out towards and even to surrender to a Higher Power. The object of his worship will either be the one true God, or any of the myriad of false substitutes like pornography or alcohol (or other drugs) or even human esteem. One [...]

The HollyChurch Double Standard

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Spirituality|

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine the industry known in shorthand as Hollywood as a kind of parallel Catholic Church. Call it the First HollyChurch of Bel Air. (Remember, this is an analogy, not a simile.) In HollyChurch, the studio heads and producers are the bishops; the directors are the priests; and the celebrity actors are [...]

Off-Centering Prayer

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Spirituality|

A technique out there purporting to be a form of Christian prayer has made inroads in countless parishes across the US and Canada. Its promoters try very hard to sound Catholic and monastic, but it is, in fact, not really either. It’s called Centering Prayer, and the movement it spawned in a few short years was [...]

Taking the Knee Cuts Both Ways

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Spirituality|

Show of hands – are you as fed up as I am with the recycled media story about NFL players “taking the knee” to protest how bad (racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Canadian, fascist) America is? A few thoughts from a non-American who deeply loves this country. (To borrow from the 80s band Men At Work, I come [...]

Cameraderie Is Not Looking For You

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Spirituality|

I’ve been thinking a lot about the need for strong friendships and supportive communities to sustain good mental health. Men in particular are in dire need today for a camaraderie that goes deeper than sports scores and fishing gear. (We men excel at looking at and talking about external stuff together but do not excel in [...]

Small Is Huge and Beautiful

By | February 8th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Spirituality|

It may be simply that we have fallen natures and therefore tend toward the grandiose. I’m referring to the tendency among so many Catholics to talk about the Culture Crisis and to call for major overhauls, elaborate ideas about how to Turn This Crazy World Around, and dream about plans to fix the macro. I say [...]

Want Enemies? Write About These Ten Things

By | September 5th, 2017|Categories: Spirituality|

There is a list of topics that, if Catholic writers dare touch them, will get you immediate and strong objections and bitter complains from readers. In no particular order, unless you enjoy acquiring enemies and readers who associate you with Satan, the music (sic) of John Cage, and the legs of Phyllis Diller, the following 10 [...]

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How To Earn Enemies: Part Deux

By | September 5th, 2017|Categories: Spirituality|

The other week I posted a list of ten things that are guaranteed to garner enemies if you dare speak or write about them in the Catholic blogosphere. The negative feedback it generated validated my thesis in a marvelous way! Since I couldn’t fit all the ELIs (Enemy List Items) into ten, here are ten more [...]

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Only the lonely

By | July 24th, 2017|Categories: Spirituality|

Loneliness is hard. Hard for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the randomness of it. You can be stricken at seemingly random times and settings that seem, on the surface, to be counter-intuitive: at a friend’s wedding party, in the bosom of the Christmas season, or during summer vacation. One minute you’re happy floating in the [...]

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