Maureen Mullarkey

Burning Jews (14th C.)

Moral equivalence is in Rome’s saddle. The Vatican has forgotten the moral necessity of praying to win. Does the concept of victory over Islam, that darling of the interfaith crowd, make our clergy uncomfortable? It certainly seems so. Yesterday, October 21, was the second Saturday after Hamas’ onslaught against Israel. My local parish e-bulletin arrived in the morning with this bit of uplift:
I was deeply moved to hear that the Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem offered himself as an exchange for the children hostages held by Hamas.
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Teilhard de Chardin: Closet Racist? Eugenicist?

Perhaps in dread of the next installment of Pope Francis’ environmental theology, Laudato Sí, v.2, Catholic media is turning search lights again on Teilhard de Chardin. With apologies to professional theologians and philosophers, I admit to weariness with zest for heresy-spotting. And scapegoating. If Teilhard’s mysticism came close at times to the edge of the precipice, it was his fidelity to the absolute primacy of Christ that, in the words of Henri de Lubac “saved him from a fall.” [See de Lubac’s Teilhard de Chardin: The Man and His Meaning.] Continue Reading
St. Catherine, The Church, & Feminism

My recent post on Saint Catherine of Siena prompted several quizzical—not to say unhappy— letters. There seems a common conviction that Catherine’s title “Doctor of the Church” is long-standing. In tandem with that misbelief comes confidence that the very title refutes any claim that the saint was illiterate. Surely the scholarship is faulty! Let us look. “Doctor” is an honorific that ranks Catherine alongside the founding luminaries in the Church’s intellectual history: Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory I, and Jerome. Because it grants her theological and doctrine significance equal to these four giants (plus some thirty other Doctors, including ones from the East), there exists the impression that her “doctorate” is a venerable tradition that goes way back. Continue Reading
revival poster

There is no political cure for an ailing culture. Remedy either arises from within or the patient succumbs to the false panaceas of social justice, sustainability, environmentalism—the day’s menu of toxic enthusiasms. Yet at the same time, we are called to live our religious convictions in the face of political constraints and counterfeit pieties of the age—and place—in which we find ourselves. What to do? An affiliation of ministers in New York State’s Hudson Valley are doing what American evangelicals have done successfully twice before in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Continue Reading
St. Catherine writing

Unraveling the cat’s cradle of Catherine of Siena’s “writings” yields a twisty path into the politics of saint-making. The Saint Catherine of popular imagination is a composite of biography and invention. Glossed by shared cultural assumptions and aims, the hybrid is taken as historic. Idealization and legend are cherished as fact. Referring to Catherine’s productivity as writings is the customary way of naming it. Categorized among medieval women writers, the saint is sometimes depicted at a writing desk with pen in hand. Continue Reading