Easter Triduum

Was Jesus a Secularist?

Did Jesus legitimize the concept of a secular state? Many people, including well-intentioned Christians in today’s polite society, seem to think so. The “proof-text” they point to is Christ’s famous retort in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “render unto to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but render unto God that which is God’s.” Yet a closer examination, [...]

The Real Absence

“I have sowed sackcloth upon my skin, and have covered my flesh with ashes. — Book of Job 16:16) “I hereby release everyone from fasting and abstinence. I think we’ve suffered enough already.” — Bishop Luke Warm, Diocese of Acedia “Whatever…” — Book of None These three responses pretty much encapsulate the three broad ways [...]

Don’t Look Away

One might find it surprising, but it is impossible to discover an image of the crucifix existing before the sixth century. Even then, the only one that can be found is carved on the massive bronze doors of the cathedral in Ravenna. It is a mere panel among a number of other panels. Tucked away [...]

Glory to You, Love: Puccini’s Turandot and the Triduum

Old Mother Goose, When she used to wander, Would ride through the air On a very fine gander. This poem, along with all the other “Mother Goose” poems, was extremely important to John Senior, the Catholic educator who inspired the creation of The Civilized Reader column you are reading now. He was especially enamored with [...]

Prepare Well in Advance for Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday is April 8, 2018, the Octave Day of Easter. Devotion to Divine Mercy has been growing worldwide for many years and was added to the calendar of the universal Church in 2000, the year St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina Kowalska. St. Faustina Kowalska was a nun who, in the 1930s, [...]

No Lasting City: On Memory and Regret

  Regrets? I've had more than a few.   Stubborn vignettes cling inexplicably to the crags of my memory. There was the time in fifth grade when Heide, the prettiest girl in school, approached me in the lunch line, held up a quarter, and asked if I wouldn't mind buying her a pretzel. I proved [...]

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