New Hampshire

Bless Your Heart, Tramp!

  There we were, the four of us: me; an academic colleague of mine; a 60-something, salt o' the earth, sarcastic Yankee pastor; and a smart Midwestern seminarian on the brink of ordination. The beer was flowing freely -- into my glass, anyway -- and we were having the kind of conversation laymen have with [...]

The Future of the Legion and the SSPX

    There are two big questions hanging in the air among my friends:   What will happen to the members of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi? What will happen between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X? These issues keep our attention for a shaggy passel of reasons, ranging from [...]

Blood from a Stone

  This has been a tough month for Catholics. I'm keenly aware of the time, because I have been straining at the leash wanting to write about the Legionaries of Christ. In lieu of articles, I've subjected my friends on the phone to fully formed paragraphs of commentary till they cried uncle -- and devoured [...]

Accentuate the Purgative

Over the past few months, in the service of a book I'm writing on the challenges inherent in a life of faith, I've covered some subjects that are near and dear to my heart, as I know they are to yours -- namely, Lust, Greed, Wrath, Vanity, Envy, Gluttony, and Sloth. I've explored the nature [...]

Christmas at the Veterinary Hospital

It was meant to be a slightly glamorous Christmas. Festive in the right sense, of gold vestments and Gregorian chant, rich dinners with friends too long unseen, a little bit of glitz to contrast with humming and drumming of the hard work done all year. I'd planned some slightly hectic travel, interspersed with a couple [...]

Envy: I See You in Hell

  This week I'm wrapping up my sympathetic look at the Seven Deadly Sins, from the viewpoint of fallen man who's not really eager to climb back up. If zealous Christians can aptly be termed by theologians "Weebles" -- "These souls wobble but they don't fall down!" -- the much more numerous people for whom [...]

Our Age’s Reigning Sin: Now on DVD

Periodically I hear or read of a film that's a "must-see" for Catholics. Depending on who's recommending it, I'll find out that the film is essential because it:   Affirms the sanctity of life. (Bella) Celebrates the fundamental goodness of every person, even the simplest. (Forrest Gump) Dramatizes a sacramental vision of life. (Babette's Feast) [...]

Thank You, Lord, May We Have Another?

This year we Americans approach Thanksgiving with ruffled feathers and quivering wattles, alert for the edge of the axe. Our country's 50-year joyride has hit the wall, and we wait for the "jaws of life." The imaginary wealth that puffed up our investments and inflated our national salary has blown like a mist back to [...]

Greed Is for the Good

    I joked in a previous column that the vice of Avarice was associated with one political party, and Envy with another. Were that entirely true, we could say that the recent election marked a new era in vice -- one where Greed is no longer good, but Envy's exquisite.   These questions are [...]

Kneeling Before the World

                                      Last week, I interrupted my series of reflections on the Seven Deadly Sins to accommodate the elections. Let's hope that my dire predictions turn out to be alarmist, even hysterical.   Much as I'd like to jump right back on the horse, and ride through the happy fields of Greed, or among Envy's icy [...]

Lust for the Suburbs

  Of the seven areas of life where Jesus spoils our fun, the subject of sex is one where He actually does least harm. Wistful, liberal Catholics like to point out that Christ spent much more time on earth denouncing the smugly rich than the randy. As usual, these people are missing the point: When [...]

The Joy of Sloth

Two weeks ago, I promised to lay out for you, one week at a time, the "seven key areas of life where Jesus ruins our fun." By this I mean the categories of normal human experience that make up the bulk of our lives -- where our instincts, habits, and egos have patched together perfectly [...]

The Ale-Drinker’s Answer to Hegel: Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man

One of the books I'm teaching this semester is a title that, over the years, I've found indispensable for my sanity, such as it is: G. K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man. If you don't know the book, stop reading now. Click over and order your copy. Go ahead, I can wait . . .   [...]

Angels without Wings

I like to think of myself as a seasoned mom.  But even a seasoned mom sometimes meets her match. It's in our most trying motherly moments, I have found, that God graces us with the gift of humility -- by opening our eyes to our helpless dependence upon others. One warm spring Saturday morning a [...]

Huckabee Fails to Attract Catholic Voters

The Catholic voter problem that surfaced in Iowa has followed Gov. Mike Huckabee to New Hampshire. In Iowa, Huckabee received strong support in predominately Evangelical counties, but his support fell sharply in counties with large numbers of Catholic voters. There was no improvement in New Hampshire for the former governor of Arkansas. Sen. John McCain [...]