Christmas bulb

Chief among the uses of enchantment is catechesis. The truth of that is made plain in Priscilla Smith McCaffrey’s Christmas Blossoms, a short story steeped in the mystery of the Incarnation. Suitable for all seasons, the protagonist’s deepening entrancement with the Nativity story resonates most sweetly at Christmastide. Viewed from the vantage point of structure and intention, the narrative moves within the atmosphere of what might be called a Catholic fairy tale. Historically such tales were written for all ages, adults no less than children. Continue Reading
Cordileone: Rosaries, Roses, & Reptiles

“O young Lochinvar is come out of the west”—West Coast, that is. You have likely read the media pas de deux between Nancy Pelosi and her ordinary, Archbishop Cordileone. Forgive me if I am unsympathetic to His Excellency’s current “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” gambit. The sell-by date for talk about killing innocent life in the womb expired in September with passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021. Once the clock ran out on the utility of words, it was time for canonical action. Continue Reading
Lamentation

The Lord has delivered me into the grip of those I cannot resist. (Lamentations 1) Readers have written to ask why Studio Matters had gone quiet. There was the September essay in The Federalist on art work about 9/11 by eighth graders in 2011. After that, only radio silence. There was—still is— much in need of saying. I am simply not the one to say it. The catastrophic cruelty and ignorance—assuming it was ignorance rather than demented malice—of the manner in which the Biden regime fled Afghanistan are beyond my capacities for coherence. Continue Reading
Lysol ad

Do you suppose the Vatican does a risk assessment analysis before publishing an encyclical? Can you think of a time the Holy See indemnified itself against potentially harmful, if unforeseeable, consequences of papal geopolitics? Do you remember ever having read a collection of theological essays that was followed by a legal disclaimer? Some formal language that warns you against relying on the contents? Or distances itself from any truth claims therein? Me neither. That is what is so telling about the full-page product warning—what else to call it?—that Continue Reading
Ad for stem cell marketing

At the outset, let me add a brief preface. Part 1 of this look at the Vatican series of conferences on cell research and the biotech industry began on this weblog last month. I had promised a Part 2. Much of that promise appeared in The Federalist, July 15th, under the title “Inside The Vatican’s Surprising Alliance With Biotech Venture Capital.” For clarity’s sake—and to avoid repetition here—it makes sense to read The Federalist piece first. Part 2 introduced the mystic marriage of Cardinal Ravasi and the entrepreneurial Robin L. Continue Reading