America Magazine: A Sentimental Education

America bills itself as the go-to publication for “thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking.” Distressingly often, the Jesuit flagship puts me in mind of the hookah-smoking Caterpillar who shouts to Alice “I’ve something important to say!” Sometimes it really does. Other times I wonder if St. Ignatius has his regrets. My wonderment spikes when the editors prod me to think deeply about the eco-spirituality of Pope Francis. Laudato Sí placed environmental issues at the heart of Christian concern. Continue Reading
pregnant pro-abortion protester

The Dobbs decision has been thoroughly analyzed and discussed elsewhere. What appears here are notes jotted in the margins. Begin with the anarchic trajectory of Justice Kennedy’s “mystery passage” of thirty years ago. Roe v. Wade invented a Constitutional right out of whole cloth. Planned Parenthood v. Casey exalted the grounds of that invention. The 1992 decision codified Justice Kennedy’s madcap dictum: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Continue Reading
Minton in drag

Biden’s new appointment to the Department of Energy is a strutting, non-binary drag queen. He is also a packmate in the leather subset of “pup handlers.” You can bone up on the culture of puppy love later. For now, pay attention to Sam Brinton holding forth on the ethical necessity of role-playing of another kind: genderqueer pronouns for the newly discovered constellation of gender identities. A link to his three and a half minute video is in the previous post. Still, it is better to have the libretto in front of you. Continue Reading
Sam Minton in drag

I have not brought myself to pay this year’s dues on my long-term membership in AICA-USA, the United States section of the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art. Founded in 1950 in Paris (hence the acronym), it presents its mission as “elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.” [Embalming criticism in an academic discipline sends cold steel through the heart of the kind of lively observations recorded by the Goncourt brothers. Continue Reading
candidate kissing baby

“Hello, sweetie. Can I have a Ritz cracker?” At last Monday’s noon Mass in a local Novus Ordo parish, the young woman ahead of me on line for Communion was carrying a toddler. The child clutched a Ritz cracker. The presiding priest, a baby-boomerish Dominican, dropped the host into the mother’s hand while chirping to the little one the banality above. What the mother thought of that, I do not know. But it made me flinch. Flannery O’Connor had words for this sort of thing: “Stupidity and vulgarity are harder to put up with than sin, harder on the nerves.” Continue Reading