Arturo Vasquez

Arturo Vasquez is a writer and independent researcher in New Orleans. He blogs regularly at Reditus: A Chronicle of Aesthetic Christianity.

recent articles

The Constant Threat of the Miraculous

For the modern informed Catholic, the miraculous and the holy do not necessarily go hand in hand. Among many of the devout, confusion often exists as to whether miracles are real, whether they are from God or from somewhere else, and whether questionable people are profiting from them. In our time, places like Medjugorje have … Read more

On Dark Places

Recently, I encountered an online discussion among Catholic converts and Protestants that strayed into the topic of the St. Joseph house-selling kit. It was meant to be a sort of “gotcha!” moment for Catholics defending the cult of the saints. While I have no intention of going into the arguments concerning this particular practice, I … Read more

Borders that Unite

With apologies to Christine O’Donnell, I am not you. I didn’t grow up in places where Mexicans were a distant if ominous threat. I can’t say that I came of age only speaking English, that I feel totally grounded in this country (even though I was born here), or that I never helped anyone who … Read more

The Small-T Traditions

In many ways, the American experience is all about forgetting. Since this is a nation where almost everyone descends from immigrants, homogenization of cultural differences is necessary for creating a harmonious social order. It is only a matter of time before this affects the religious sphere of any given group. It is at least arguable … Read more

Faith in the Streets

It was on the feast of Christ the King. I remember it because it was a particularly gorgeous day in Buenos Aires, and we seminarians had been given the afternoon off in order to tour the city. We went to the renowned Church of Our Lady of Pilar, though I was not as impressed with … Read more

Three Hard Facts about the Liturgy

When I hear or see people arguing about liturgy, either on-line or in person, I tend to run the other way. This is not for lack of an opinion, or out of some sense of not wanting to be “controversial”; I run because even people who think they know about liturgy are really quite uninformed … Read more

The Menace of Botanicas

One of the joys of growing up Mexican American was learning a lot of your religion at the supermarket. At the local grocery store in my childhood neighborhood, there could be found a generous selection of votive candles for sale, all with prayers in Spanish and English for all occasions and afflictions. San Lazaro, San … Read more

Holy Things for the Holy?

Having grown up in some of the most liberal dioceses in California, there were many times when I had to endure some questionable thinking from some pretty high places. During my confirmation classes, I was subjected to a sermon by the then pastor (who later left the priesthood) about how Catholic couples should get married … Read more

The Power of a Piece of Bone

The third-century pagan philosopher Porphyry wrote that his master Plotinus was ashamed to be seen in a body. No passage in literature better summarizes the attitude of the ancient educated classes toward death and our humble mortal frame. In a worldview based on cosmic tragedy, the soul getting stuck in the trap of flesh was … Read more

Too Much Mary?

The Nobel Prize-winning writer Octavio Paz once quipped that the Mexican people, after five centuries of experimentation, have come to believe only in two things: the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery. Having been raised by Mexican immigrants in this country, I cannot testify to my ancestral nation’s enthusiasm for games of chance with … Read more

The Fall of the Archbishop

Archbishop Rembert Weakland was a distant if familiar villain in my early teenage years. In the vestibule of the parish office where we held our Legion of Mary meetings, our liberal priests would put old copies of the newsletter of the Womens’ Ordination Conference, National Catholic Reporter, and other publications of the Catholic left that … Read more

Faith in the Time of Jim Crow

Over my fried alligator and onion rings at a restaurant outside New Orleans, Mr. and Mrs. G. spoke of their lives growing up in segregated southern Louisiana. The conversation was light and nostalgic until I brought up the issue of what the relationship was like in their childhood between “Creoles of color” and Cajuns. Mr. … Read more

Our Lady on the Highway

A while back, on the fateful day of April 15 that reminds each of us how much worse off we are than medieval serfs — whose “tax” to the feudal lord was typically capped at 10 percent — I promised to counterbalance my consideration of the Seven Deadly Sins with the Seven Contrary Virtues. Then, … Read more

Christ in the Village: The Treasures of Catholic Culture

  Bits and pieces of my mother’s childhood in Mexico have trickled down to me through the years, usually at unexpected times. As a child, she would tell me of the ceremonies in her village during Holy Week, the posadas during Advent, and the processions through the fields on the feast of St. Isidore, the … Read more

Babies, Bandits, and Other Questionable Saints

The fifth-century Christian writer Suplicius Severus tells a story from the life of St. Martin of Tours. Upon being made bishop of that city, Martin became curious about a small roadside shrine supposedly devoted to an early Christian martyr. Wanting to know if the shrine was authentic, he asked older members of the community about … Read more

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