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
It is getting harder to do more than write off the cuff. Play it by ear. Reading the news has become painful enough. Responding to it coherently, and in a timely way, seems increasingly futile. Insanity rains down on us at such speed I can’t keep up. I am in awe of others who can. I honor anyone able to grasp a starting point within chaos, capable of imposing order on discussion of it. And has the stomach to discern its destination. Continue Reading
When I learned that John Leo had retired as editor-in-chief of Minding the Campus, my thoughts leaped to T.S. Eliot’s final prayer at the end of Ash Wednesday: “Suffer me not to be separated.” The news came as a wrench, a decisive twist to the bolt on a repository of shaping memories, His writing was at the center of much that had stamped my wits and my interests over decades.
The man entered my life through a Xeroxed copy of his December 1, 1965 column in the National Catholic Reporter. Continue Reading
Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court cannot come soon enough. From all that we have read, she is a brilliant choice. And a welcome one. Barrett clerked for the great Scalia for two years and considers him her mentor. That is heartening.
But no one should expect her to be a slam-dunk to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Stare decisis is a contentious issue. Celebrating her nomination as a pro-life victory is premature. And it fans prevailing hysteria that abortion is about to disappear tout court, that back alleys will be in business in the morning. Continue Reading
Let me tell you, please, about Bevan’s dog. The anecdote does service to the awkward truth that, often enough, peace has to be imposed. And maintained.
It is a brief tale. Inelegant. Some might call it indelicate. But it has bearing, in the crooked way that analogies do, on political news. And on the manner in which news sidles into ecclesial thinking, then into the pulpit. The story came back to me on a Sunday in January when the priest capped the formulaic prayer for peace by adding “especially in the Middle East.” Continue Reading