Joining the Choir Invisible

Some years back, I was privileged to hear a tape of some original music recorded by several friends of mine. Singing on the tape were four women with well-trained voices and an astonishing gift for harmony. And though it was done on a shoestring (the whole thing was put together in someone's basement), the music [...]

The Little Consecration

Over the past six years, people -- particularly other moms -- have asked me how I've handled being a military mom. Most of the time, I just chuckle. I don't feel like I've handled it at all. Basically, I've let our Blessed Mother handle it for me, and I merely go along for the ride. [...]

How One Community Brought Renewal to Religious Life

Since it was a decidedly Catholic film, it was only fitting that the invited audience at the premiere of Thérèse should be the same. Sitting with actor/director Leonardo Defelippis in the New York theater were a bishop, some priests, local diocesan officials, Catholic activists, and a patchwork of religious men and women wearing full-length habits.  [...]

A Mother’s Liturgy of the Hours

  I grew up with a dad who prays the Liturgy of the Hours, and as a result, the Church's daily pockets of prayer have always held a special attraction for me. Perhaps when I am an older woman, I will live the kind of life conducive to praying the Divine Office, but for now, [...]

Whom Have I in Heaven but Thee?

Whom have I in heaven but thee? So cried Asaph the psalmist. It is an astonishing moment in the history of man, for Asaph had looked upon the wicked and seen how they prospered. His feet had well nigh slipped, he says. Yet he held fast to two truths that had been revealed to him. [...]

2009: A Good Year for Music

As 2009 expires, music journalists and magazines rush to anoint their recordings of the year. I have no such list, but I did take note of the British Gramophone's December selection of the Quatuor Ébène's CD of the Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré String Quartets on Virgin Classics (519045-2) as the recording of the year. I [...]

The Hidden Hand behind Bad Catholic Music

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 [...]

Giuliani Adviser is an Accused Pedophile Priest?

Since 2002, Msgr. Alan Placa has worked for Rudy Giuliani as a consultant at Giuliani Partners. In 2003 a grand jury report of Suffolk County, NY, accused Placa of sexually abusing multiple victims. A spokeswoman for Giuliani Partners told Salon Magazine that the former New York City mayor believes Placa was "unjustly accused." The grand [...]

England at Prayer

In The Stripping of the Altars—the single most important book in English Reformation studies in the past 50 years—Eamon Duffy demonstrates the vitality of popular religion in England in the years leading up the Reformation. Duffy's thesis, comprehensively researched and cogently argued, turned inside-out—or, more precisely, upside-down—the received opinion concerning the Reformation in England, namely, [...]

Common Wisdom: Back to the Future

Not long ago, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati looked out over his diocese and discovered something missing. Catholics. At Mass. Alarmed by diminished congregations, a plight shared with most of his colleagues, he asked American bishops to study reasons for the decline, and what could be done about it. Perhaps I missed it, but I’ve [...]