Eucharist: ‘It keeps drawing you in’

A non-believer who acknowledges the pull of ritual, I balked as a young man at the Catholic Church’s mixed messaging. For a faith so committed to the resonance of symbols, it failed to explain transubstantiation in terms that would inspire people not to believe in their own eyes. A Communion wafer, consecrated or not, stillContinue reading “Eucharist: ‘It keeps drawing you in’”

‘The token of the word unheard, unspoken’: Ash Wednesday

Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?) Why should I mourn The vanished power of the usualContinue reading “‘The token of the word unheard, unspoken’: Ash Wednesday”

Br. Eugene Trzecieski — RIP

“You all look like semi-educated cows chewing intellectual cuds,” the dome-headed sexagenarian remarked, not unkindly. We hovered over an Entenmann’s Danish ring that looked fresher ten days earlier when opened and not exposed to the faculty lounge’s also unfresh cigarette reek. Male students at a Catholic high school didn’t understand dishwashing or hygiene. We didn’tContinue reading “Br. Eugene Trzecieski — RIP”

Songs of faith and devotion

“I’m not religious, but I feel so moved,” Madonna once sang, and on Passion Weekend that’s how these holy days unfurl for this former Catholic. The following prayers, laments, and supplications move me beyond measure. 1. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Khena Ghalat Ghalat To Chhupana Sahi Sahi 2. Al Green – Jesus is WaitingContinue reading “Songs of faith and devotion”

‘Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?’

The ritual abandoned but the romance still exerting a pull, Good Friday has a stillness that attracts me years after I abandoned faith. Gerard Manley Hopkins, never one to take things easy, let alone still-y, has a sonnet for the occasion. No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief, More pangs will, schooledContinue reading “‘Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?’”

Hitting the Church where it hurts

So what conservatives would call Social Issues have creeped into the Jesuit preparatory school that produced Fidel Castro, Manny Diaz, and Carlos Curbelo: Richard Rodriguez’s heart thumped as he walked into his ten-year high school reunion at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, the famed all-boys academy in western Dade that boasts graduates from Fidel Castro toContinue reading “Hitting the Church where it hurts”

Pope Francis: conscientious objection ‘is a right’

Pope Francis said things that would lead a reasonable man to conclude that he believes people like Kim Davis have a right to refuse discharging duties they consider immoral: On the flight back to Rome, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, such as issuingContinue reading “Pope Francis: conscientious objection ‘is a right’”

Pope Francis: ‘Jesuitical’ in saying something that seems to push discussion’

The New Yorker publishes a progress report on Pope Francis’ efforts to put a smiley face on the Catholic Church’s legal and doctrinal problems. Like any smart politician, Francis gives the impression of change when his church hasn’t moved much at all. Alexander Stille: Sometimes Francis sidesteps divisive issues by simply changing the subject, pointingContinue reading “Pope Francis: ‘Jesuitical’ in saying something that seems to push discussion’”

The evolution of Pope Francis

Well, extraordinary move: Pope Francis will make it easier for women to be forgiven for abortion during a jubilee “year of mercy” starting Dec. 8. In a letter issued by the Vatican on Tuesday, the pope said he would grant all Catholic priests temporary authority to “absolve of the sin of abortion those who haveContinue reading “The evolution of Pope Francis”

Jesus’ followers ‘much brighter than the Catholic Church’

I renounced my Catholicism long before I read the bit about the preacher horrifying Stephen Dedalus with descriptions of hell in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I’m wary of extending credit to the patriarchs of moribund institutions even if Catholics still treasure the mystery of the sacraments; but so longContinue reading “Jesus’ followers ‘much brighter than the Catholic Church’”