Love

Walker Percy?

I know–something must be wrong; I’m writing, and it isn’t a Sunday. So.  A Catholic friend and I were discussing novelists the other day, and the name Walker Percy came up.  I hadn’t heard more than his name before that time, but he sang his praises to the sky.  Novels like Love in the Ruins, … Read more

Carl Rütti’s Requiem

With his new Requiem, Swiss composer Carl Rütti has made a major contribution to the repertory. Naxos has issued a stunning recording of it with the Bach Choir, the Southern Sinfonia, soprano Olivia Robinson, and baritone Edward Price, under conductor David Hill (Naxos 8.572317). I first interviewed Rütti for crisis Magazine in May 1999, at … Read more

And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

When asked why he had become a Catholic, G. K. Chesterton famously replied, “To get rid of my sins.” The forgiveness of sins is the awesome gift that Christ offers us, a gift so beautiful that words can scarcely express the glory of it. One of the most lovely things you can possibly experience is … Read more

Managing Men

My mother-in-law once asked me disapprovingly, “Why are you so direct and confrontational with your husband? You should know by now he doesn’t like it. It’s no way to get what you want.” She added with a twinkle in her eye, “You know, dear, I have everything I always wanted in life — but I … Read more

Preparing for Marriage

You are in a large church basement on the upper east side of Manhattan. Like all church basements, it freelances as a basketball court, a dining hall, a wailing room for various twelve-step programs. This morning, it’s marriage preparation. Seventy-five couples who plan to marry in the Catholic Church are here for a day of … Read more

Reading Into the Church

In this Crisis Magazine classic, Deal W. Hudson says his journey to the Catholic Church proceeded book by book.     Reading, said Josemaría Escrivá, has made many a saint. In my own case it has merely made a convert, but I do continue to read ever more deeply into the mystery that is the … Read more

For the Love of a Balloon

“Oh no!” An entire van full of children gasped as two-year-old Daniel’s green balloon escaped his chubby fingers, bounced its way over seats, and ducked out a partially opened window. We watched in silence as the balloon floated freely past a nearby tree and then rode the wind, bobbed in the breeze, and climbed ever … Read more

The God of Rock

He gets it.   Stephen Catanzarite has written arguably the most important book about rock music of the young 21st century. U2’s Achtung Baby: Meditations on Love in the Shadow of the Fall is a small volume — more like a thick pamphlet than a book — but each line is a mini-dissertation on the … Read more

Francis de Sales

  Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States in April 2008, a non-Catholic friend asked me: “What is Pope Benedict’s central message?” I told him that, through his words and example, Benedict wants to show people that Catholicism is not a matter of prohibitions and rules but a beautiful and joyful way … Read more

Defining the Relationship

For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, Fought him, starved with him. For twenty-five years my bed is his — If that’s not love, what is? — Fiddler on the Roof “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?” This is the question we fear on airplanes, the question we recoil from in doorbell encounters. … Read more

A Pattern, Somewhere

Here’s some advice for anyone starting a job as literary editor for a Catholic online journal: For your first book review, avoid novels whose central character is an atheist lesbian who fights to adopt a child and who eventually commits suicide.   Here’s some advice for anyone starting a job as literary editor for a … Read more

Love and Trespasses in Kristin Lavransdatter

For years my parents have had a standing order with their local second-hand bookseller to set aside Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter whenever a copy comes in. They give it to friends, students, acquaintances — anyone who might read it. My father was introduced to Kristin just before his conversion by a Catholic friend, who summed … Read more

Seven Mistakes Movies Make

At the turn of the last century, Mark Twain loved poking fun at the tidy religious stories that were told in his day, even as he produced his own versions. The stories led to a payoff that dealt a death-blow to wickedness and a cheery boost to saintliness, all neatly summed up in a secondary … Read more

Love, Sex, and the Cross

Like most “reverts,” I was not initially interested in coming back to the Catholic Church. I was a committed pro-choice feminist, intellectually anti-Christian, and had every available misconception about Catholicism. All Catholicism had in its favor, as far as I was concerned, was its alleged institutional concern for the poor. I had acted out the … Read more

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