Culture Cues

Prêt-À-Manger Eucharist, etc.

More than monuments are toppling. Our sense of the sacred diminishes further with each week that fear of Wuhan virus ranks higher on parish concerns than the concept of sin. Thomas Mann once quipped that nowadays sin is “an amusing word used only when one is trying to get a laugh.” Now we can get our laughs untainted by any nagging guilt right in our own parishes. They have risen from slumber over the concept of sin in order to testify with vigor to hygiene in the age of COVID. Continue Reading
Hand Sanitizer: The New Sacramental

“Doctor, Doctor, will I die?” “Yes, my child, and so shall I.” Hand sanitizer has entered the liturgy as both a stay against mortality and a sacramental displacing holy water. Coronavirus is not cholera but it might as well be. That is the unavoidable impression given by churches with dry fonts but multiple dispensers of sanitizer. Every acute respiratory illness is serious. By no means is this latest Chinese virus to be taken lightly. But there is no point in my adding to the media drum beat. Continue Reading
From Frank Sheed To A Queer Femme

Tanked up on rage, the mob is on the move. It wears a tame face here in my town: lawn signs, righteous statements in store windows, and silent vigils for BLM. But under the mask—both the disposable kind and the indelible one stamped on polite conformist psyches—lies the same disdain for our country. And the same assent to blood libel against white Americans. It is not necessary to replay here all that you have already read on the maelstrom of anti-Americanism whirling across the nation. Continue Reading
Viruses: Evil Suffered vs. Evil Done

The virus is cruel, but not evil. Because it sickens and can kill, it is natural for us to experience it as malevolent. Yet how could it be? A virus is as much a tribute to God’s handiwork as the dogwood blossoming by my neighbor’s mailbox, or the blue heron standing below the waterfall on our local pond. Viruses have endured longer than the sandstone cliffs on the Jurassic coast of Devon. They are older than the ferns, conifers, and butterflies of the Cretaceous Period. Continue Reading
Memorial Day, 2020

To mark Memorial Day, 2007, Peter Collier wrote a magnificent reflection in the Wall Street Journal. Before he died this past November, he gave permission to his friends at Power Line to reprint it. Scott Johnson’s introduction is necessarily succinct: “The column remains timely and is accessible online here. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today.” Under the heading “America’s Honor,” the essay begins:
Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays.
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