Richard Becker

Richard Becker is a husband, father of seven, nursing instructor, and religious educator. He blogs regularly at God-Haunted Lunatic.

recent articles

The Young Are Better Prepared with Earlier Confirmation

Later this month, the Vatican is hosting an international summit of bishops to address the clerical sex-abuse crisis. Based on comments Pope Francis has made to the press, the gathering will focus its attention on prayer and penance, but also educating the Church’s shepherds on what the issue is all about. As if the US … Read more

A Thousand Miles for Love

Katharine, my preteen, sent me a link to a song she’d happened across. “It’s my new jam,” she wrote, and I eagerly clicked on it to listen. What dad of a preteen wouldn’t? Imagine my surprise when Kath’s new jam turned out to be an ad for a cleaning product. The accompanying video was fun … Read more

All Things Considered (x3)

National Public Radio’s afternoon news program, “All Things Considered,” is about big stuff and small stuff, world-shaking events and minute ephemera. In this sense, it does approximate “all things,” indeed, and I’ve been a devoted fan since Terry, my college roomie, clued me in nearly 40 years ago. “What is this anyway?” I asked him … Read more

Permanent Assignments for Parish Priests Long Overdue

Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.  ~ The Temptations Efforts must be made to restore socially the conviction that the place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance.  ~ Pope St. John Paul II I’m a rotten dad, but … Read more

Taking a Cue from Big Tobacco: Big Tech Introduces the iFilter!

“I’m addicted to the Internet because it’s more interesting than people.”  ~ Dilbert The headline in the Wall Street Journal jumped out at me: “Step Away From the Phone”—as in “step away from the weapon” or “step away from the edge of the cliff.” And here’s the article’s sub-title: “To help screen addicts break the habit, … Read more

On Defying the Majority When They Are Wrong

“The majority can often be wrong.”  ~ Charlan Nemeth John Mulaney’s grandmother is my new hero. I admit it’s an odd claim because I don’t know much about her—not even her name. But, based on John’s testimony, I know this much: His grandmother is no respecter of persons. She cares not a speck for popular … Read more

Of Facebook, Transparency, and Pentecost

“Man tends by nature toward the truth” (CCC 2467). Brian Regan does a funny bit about Pop-Tarts in which he reads aloud the package directions. Yes, there are Pop-Tart directions—which is pretty much Regan’s joke in a nutshell. However, his rendition of those instructions is genius, particularly step #1: “Remove pastry from pouch.” Regan, nodding … Read more

VSED: A New Form of Assisted Suicide

“Suicide is always as morally objectionable as murder.”  ~ Pope St. John Paul II Super Bowl LII is in the books now, and everybody knows that the Philadelphia Eagles were victorious on the field—finally! But what about the real battle of Super Bowl Sunday—that is, who won the contest for best commercial? Doritos and Mountain … Read more

On Prioritizing the Values Taught to Children

“You can’t die in every ditch.” It was a favorite saying of Fr. Ed Madden, my pastor and boss, when I was a greenhorn DRE back in Boulder. So many problems, so many complaints, so many challenges crop up in the course of ordinary parish work, and I was motivated (at first) to tackle them … Read more

What Was Mr. Bennet Reading?

“Books—oh no! I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings.” “I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject.” ~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen As a family, we watch Simon Langton’s BBC version of Pride and Prejudice at … Read more

The Three Books I’m Going to Read Next

“The medium is the message.”  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic … Read more

Of Friendship, Faith, and Death: A Film Series for the Ages

Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant (Sirach). I heard last month about the Academy Awards and the Big Flub. I suppose it would’ve been fun to witness it live instead of on YouTube, but not fun enough to regret skipping the broadcast altogether. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about … Read more

Note to Pollsters: What “Practicing Catholic” Really Means

First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony.  ~ Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii If someone says “practicing Catholic,” what do you think of? If your first thought it involved Mass attendance, you’d be in good company. Pollsters and pundits tend to clump Catholics into … Read more

At the Movies with Campaign 2016

“What are we going to do?” asked the Professor. “At this moment,” said Syme, with a scientific detachment, “I think we are going to smash into a lamppost.” ~ G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare By all accounts, this has been a strange campaign season, and it’s only going to get stranger, so … Read more

Me Before You: On Disability, Suicide, and Guts

They all think any minute I’m going to commit suicide. What a joke. The truth of course is the exact opposite: suicide is the only thing that keeps me alive.  ~ Walker Percy Ordinarily I’d avoid commenting much on a movie I hadn’t seen. However, I’m willing to make an exception in the case of “Me … Read more

Recommended Reading for Your College-bound Teen

“We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary.” ~ Miss Elizabeth Bennet The last thing a high school graduate wants is books—I get it. And high schoolers that grew up in bookish families want books least of all—I get that, too (although my two collegiate children would demur on … Read more

Holy Saturday: On Looking Back and Peering Ahead

“Something strange is happening….”  ~ Bp. Melito of Sardis This past Holy Saturday I had the privilege of sponsoring my friend Chris as he made a profession of faith and became a Catholic—Deo gratias! What a joy to stand with him, attest to his readiness, announce his new name—“Monsignor, this is Thomas Aquinas”—and then celebrate … Read more

A Memorial Tribute to a Good Shepherd

Have you seen “Spotlight” yet? The critically acclaimed film recounting the Boston Globe’s investigation of clerical sex abuse? I recently attended a screening, and the critics are right: It’s an excellent film, although incredibly painful to watch. And for a devout Catholic, viewing “Spotlight” requires a great deal of endurance and humility—the victims’ stories are … Read more

Musical Quietude: Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel

We cannot grasp music intellectually, but we can let ourselves be touched by it.  ~ David Steindl-Rast, OSB And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (Lk 2.19). HELP WANTED: Cello player. Viola would suffice, but I’d prefer a cello—doesn’t it have a more mellow, deeper tone? Plus, I like how the cello … Read more

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