Blessed Sacrament

LGBTQIA: It’s the Taxonomy, Stupid*

“Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4: 1-2) It [...]

How to Not Receive the Eucharist

There are thousands of articles explaining "how to receive communion," and thousands more explaining who may receive communion. But there are few articles about how to not receive the Eucharist. Notice I say "receive the Eucharist." I hate the phrase "receive communion." Communion is not a thing to be received, but a condition at which [...]

The Chattering Classes Are Us

Catholics once had an intuitive understanding of sacred space: To enter a church, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, was to enter a different kind of environment, one of the hallmarks of which was a reverent silence. Some of that intuition remains. But much of it has been lost. Thus, within the past [...]

The Future of the Church in England

Back in the 1980s, I was involved with a group that produced a booklet looking at the future of the Church in Britain. We were assured -- and repeated, without really thinking about it very deeply -- that the downward trend of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and ordinations to the priesthood meant that there would be [...]

He Came Down from Heaven: A Consolation

  I have been clearing out rooms since the death of my husband and have been sometimes overcome by a sense of the charnel-house. The possessions of the dead can seem loathsome when they have lost all utility and are mere reminders of mortality, of corruption and decay, of grief and loss. Even evidence of [...]

The Most Heroic Thing I Have Ever Witnessed

On January 11, my family went to noon Mass at Blessed Sacrament parish in Seattle. It was being celebrated by our visiting priest, but after he processed up to the altar, we were astonished to see that Father Tom Kraft had taken a seat beside him. Father Tom is one of the sweetest and holiest [...]

Faith in Flanders

Antwerp is home to glorious churches, but it's difficult to pray in them. At the cathedral dedicated to Our Lady, a large section at the base of the nave, with a glorious view of the whole church under its superb gothic arches, is set aside for prayer. But it feels bleak. The Blessed Sacrament is [...]

Mass in the Gym

On the wall behind the altar, where I am accustomed to finding a crucifix on which to focus, hangs an enormous clock, reminiscent of ones I remember from elementary school classrooms years ago. It hums as it tirelessly ticks its way through the Mass. When we stand for the Gospel, metal folding chairs scrape against [...]

Dennis Clinton Graham Heiner

Every All Souls Day at the Sanctus I leave it to the Just Judge to choreograph those assembling around the altar from the Church Expectant and Triumphant. On the list now is Dennis Clinton Graham Heiner (1927-2008), who crossed 38th Street daily for Mass. Outwardly, Dennis had a coddled childhood in New York City, and [...]

A Short Road to Perfection

It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection — short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are [...]

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