01/01/2002

It's hard to watch Francis Bok remember. He speaks softly, haltingly. His piercing eyes stare out, sometimes at you, sometimes into space, but always to that day 15 years ago in Sudan. He was seven years old and living with his family in a small southern village. His mother had sent him to the local [...]

It's hard to watch Francis Bok remember. He speaks softly, haltingly. His piercing eyes stare out, sometimes at you, sometimes into space, but always to that day 15 years ago in Sudan. He was seven years old and living with his family in a small southern village. His mother had sent him to the local [...]

The liturgy has ended, and the cardinals have all gone home. The crowds have abandoned St. Peter's Square to the pigeons and the tourists. You're sitting alone unwinding in your apartment in the Apostolic Palace, a newly minted pope, when suddenly the question hits you: Now what? There's always some indeterminacy in the Roman air [...]

It usually starts with the missalettes—those lightweight booklets scattered around the pews of your parish church. They contain all the readings of the Sunday Masses, plus some hymns and responses in the back. There's nothing between the covers that would offend an orthodox sense of the faith, and most of the songs are traditional by [...]

"The rosary has the character of a sojourn. Its essence is the sheltering security of a quiet, holy world that envelops the person who is praying.” ~Romano Guardini, The Rosary of Our Lady St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, championed the rich benefits of prayerful meditation. At the beginning of his [...]

The old joke goes something like this: The pastor couldn't get his early Sunday morning congregation to respond when he noticed that the PA system was on the blink. "The Lord be with you," he said several times, only to be greeted with blank stares from the parishioners in the big suburban church. "There's something [...]

The Jesuits usually take pride in being up-to-date. Sadly though, their association with a recent poll of Catholics shows they're willing to employ some truly outdated methodologies. Pollster John Zogby was commissioned by Le Moyne, a Jesuit college in Syracuse, New York, to conduct a series of polls measuring Catholic attitudes. On November 16, the [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear oral argument in the Cleveland school voucher case, and by June, thousands of poor inner-city children will learn whether they will be freed from the bondage of an incompetent government school monopoly. Their hopes, in turn, depend on whether the justices can free themselves from First Amendment shibboleths [...]

Amid the reams of journalistic verbiage about how the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone broke every box-office record in the history of the universe, I ran across the odd report of public protests by religious types who believe the world's most popular movie to be a tool of Satan. I knew [...]

This is my 77th consecutive article in this space. I didn't know I had it in me. Yet I plow on into my eighth year. It is not as if I could ever run out of material. Time is the finite commodity. I will run out of that long before I have exhausted the treasures [...]

Just as the parable of the mustard seed has its counterpart in the parable of the yeast, the parable of the hidden treasure is twinned with that of the pearl of great price. No twins are absolutely identical. Twinship can show up differences more vividly than an ordinary match of siblings. The finding of the [...]

The bombing campaign against the Taliban began on October 7, 2001, the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary and the 430th anniversary of the 1571 defeat of the Turks in the naval battle at Lepanto. Osama bin Laden and his evil minions, who pay attention to such things, probably noted the date and chalked it [...]

A friend informed me that a decree has gone out in her local parish that henceforth the reading of missals at Mass is no longer allowed. Instead, we are to pay rapt attention to what goes on in the sanctuary. Actually, I doubt if many people have missals anymore. I have always hated the various [...]

Mark Twain said that, contrary to the usual rule, his memory had improved with age. When he was younger, he remembered only things that had actually happened. I was reminded of this while reading the lectures T.S. Eliot gave in 1926 on the subject of metaphysical poetry. Attempting to define his subject, Eliot puts before [...]

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