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Showing posts from November, 2013

Francis's Letter of Intent

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As most people are aware (it is, after all, currently the front page story on the New York Times website), Pope Francis issued yesterday an "apostolic exhortation" entitled Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).  You can read the whole thing here--it is quite lengthy and I have only read portions in depth and skimmed the rest of it.  Here, however, are my initial thoughts:

1.  I agree with most commentators that this document reads like a mission statement or outline of the Pope's reform agenda--and it is clearly a reform agenda that is more wide-ranging and substantive than shuffling around some folks in the Vatican.

2.  Before getting to what he wants to do, it is worthwhile to mention the two hot-button issues that the document explicitly states are not up for debate--women priests (para. 104) and opposition to abortion (para. 213).  Not only does he single them out for specific discussion, but these mentions come in the context of a document that again and again h…

As the Holidays Approach...

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Rachel Held Evans has a helpful chart to determine whether you are  being persecuted for being excited about Christmas.

On Being Weird and "Religious Hipsterism"

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Yesterday, the Church of England voted to allow the ordination of female bishops.  This was a significant move in the context of the Anglican world.  While many of the daughter churches of the Church of England (the US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, for two examples) have had women bishops for some time, many others do not, and have justified their decision on the basis of the fact that the English Church has not made that move.  It also has significant theological importance--like the Catholics and Orthodox, the Anglicans believe that bishops are the direct successors of the Apostles, and so allowing a woman to be ordained as a bishop is a statement that women are (and, on some level, always were) proper successors to that ministry.

It does not come as a great surprise that Catholic conservatives have used this as an opportunity to resume the Old Rivalry and throw stones at the Anglicans.  In particular, folks seem to have gravitated to a comment by one of the pe…

The Great Shame

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In the past few weeks, I have returned to something I haven't done since my time with the Dominicans--I have been praying Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official daily prayer of the Church.  It is not a massive commitment of time--15 minutes in the morning and 15 or less in the evening--and it has done a nice job of providing a regular practice of marking the day.  It also gives an opportunity to follow along with the Calendar of the Saints.  I have, however, added a little twist by following the Franciscan calendar, which includes some of the less well known saints who were Franciscans.  Since I have been drawn of late to St. Francis, I figured it would be a good way to engage in the Franciscan tradition.

A couple of weeks back (October 23) was the feast of St. John of Capistrano.  Here in America, to the extent he is known at all, he is known for a town in Southern California and the swallows that return to that town every year.  I would i…

Friday Fun--"Smooth Criminal"

Unpopular opinion alert--I think Michael Jackson's seventh album Bad is better than the more famous Thriller.  To be clear, I am not denying the awesomeness of Thriller.  Thriller is a tremendous album, but I like the songs on Bad better.  "Bad," "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Dirty Diana," "Smooth Criminal"--all of these are really fantastic.  Put aside whatever negative thoughts you might have about Jackson's later life and his improprieties and take a listen to this album.

I went back and forth on which video to include.  My two favorite songs on the album are probably "Dirty Diana" and "The Way You Make Me Feel."  However, the video for "Dirty Diana" is a concert video, and so not that interesting.  "The Way You Make Me Feel" is a great video, and would have been a good choice to include.  Still, it really has nothing on "Smooth Criminal," which might be t…