Jesuits

Arthur rackham illustration

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
St. Xavier's: From the Waterfront Priest to the Dancing Priest

There exists no sharper illustration of present-day enfeeblement of the Jesuit temper than the difference between the ministries of John Corridan, S.J., the “waterfront priest” of the 1940’s, and today’s Robert VerEecke, S.J., the “dancing priest.” Fr. Corridan earned a significant place in labor history. Fr. VerEecke earned removal from the Church of St. Francis Xavier for making sexual overtures to a male parishioner. The diminution is tragic. And telling. In the slide from Corridan, a morally serious man, to VerEecke, a flâneur on ideological boulevards, we witness the unsteadiness of a Church listing toward the conceits of the age. Continue Reading
Confusion of Tongues: Language of Sin vs Bureaucracy

To religious minds, the language of sin, its vocabulary and syntax, cuts closer to the heart of things than its secular replacement: the language of bureaucracy. In a religious lexicon, the word sin describes violation of the inalienable rights of the God Who commands. Bureauspeak, by contrast, is a secular rhetorical practice adept at describing violations of standard procedure. Or, if you prefer, offenses against decorum. The sinner says, “Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.” The bureau-rhetor says whatever is needed to minimize negative reaction to slippage among personnel or, perhaps, one’s own. Continue Reading
Artist Unknown. Engraved endpaper (17th C.)

Devotion to the Sacred Heart is deeply rooted in the traditions of the Latin Church. Its prompt to compassionate meditation on the sufferings of Christ, to gratitude and contrition, is venerable. Less so is the iconography that attaches to its modern form. Promoted in conformity to Margaret Mary Alacoque’s apparitions, the devotion’s iconic motif remains edifying to many. At the same time, that excised, free-floating organ looks mawkish, even grotesque—a physiological hovercraft— to many others. Paul Zalonski, a Benedictine Oblate and ardent defender of the devotion, states it this way:
Popular piety tends to associate a devotion with its iconographic expression.
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