December 2008 Archives

Inspired by William Safire’s annual Office Pool of predictions for the coming year, I am herewith inaugurating a “Catholic Pool” for 2009. Safire’s 2009 NYT pool column ran last Sunday, and you have to hand it to him for keeping …Read More

The latest report shows housing values continue to plummet. And the misdeeds of swindlers like Bernie Madoff continue to proliferate. What to do? The German town of Augsburg–of the famous Lutheran Confession–has a very Catholic response: Dirt cheap rents ($.23 …Read More

I thought the old saw that suicides increase during the holidays–the result, it was assumed, of isolation and despair deepened by the camaraderie ostensibly being enjoyed by everyone else–was an Urban Legend that I was the last to catch on …Read More

The escalating warfare in the birthplace of the Prince of Peace may claim another victim: Benedict’s visit to Israel this May. According to CNS, Vatican sources have said a worsening of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could alter the pope’s travel plans. …Read More

Notre Dame’s well-known, highly-regarded–though not in some circles–theologian and commentator Richard McBrien spoke recently with the Globe’s Michael Paulson and, not surprisingly, fireworks ensued. Yet as often happens, it wasn’t so much anything McBrien said, as much as the apoplexy …Read More

As a father of only a few years duration, I have developed an especial affection for St. Joseph, who always intrigued me given the short shrift he gets in the Gospels. And that leads to such odd devotions as burying …Read More

In this U.S. Catholic interview, scripture scholar Sr. Laurie Brink, OP provides some very sensible, scholarly, and faith-based pastoral answers to questions you may have wondered about the Gospel accounts of Christmas–but were afraid to ask. For instance: Why do …Read More

But he’s not quite like you’ve been told. He was St. Nicholas of Myra, in fourth-century Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and as Kim Lawton of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly shows, some Americans are re-discovering a truly profound Christmas character: “St. …Read More

Scandals galore, the Fall of Man, the Pope on Original Sin (as per Cathleen Kaveny at dotCommonweal)–how did it all happen? Answer: Evolution made us do it. From Natalie Angier’s science column in the NYT: Deceitful behavior has a long …Read More

Yes, I knew about the anti-papist origins of “hocus pocus,” a riff on the formula of consecration in Latin in the Mass, hoc est corpus meum, or “this is my body.” But it turns out the “Hokey Cokey,” as the …Read More