Category: Catholic Church

A Tale of Two Schools: A Review of the 2010 Christian Scholars’ Conference

People look at you kind of strange when you tell them that you shelled out good money to attend something called a “Christian Scholars’ Conference” and that you actually enjoyed it. Reactions can range from “What’s a guy like you doing in a place like that?” to “Well, la-de-da!” But believe me, after a long season of Tim James political TV ads and rootin’ tootin’ “Ag Commish” wannabe viral videos, I was ready for a little more “la-de-da” in my life.

You know Eyegal and me–liberal arts geeks to the core. An itch like that doesn’t always get scratched sufficiently in a high tech town like Huntsville, Alabama.… Read the rest

A Communion of Saints

I don’t always do eye exams on Catholic priests, but when I do, I prefer to be blessed.

And that’s exactly what happened yesterday when I examined an honest-to-God padre, Father C. I’ve examined my share of Baptist preachers and various charismatic sorts, even a couple of Episcopalian rectors, but as far as I can remember Father C. was my first Vatican-verified vicar. He was Irish too, which was simply gravy on the potatoes.

He was the second patient in as many days to created a stir in the waiting room. The first one was the man with the Crimson Tide elephant hat, complete with long, gray trunk, who came in Monday still high on the fumes of Mt.Read the rest

Eat Your Heart Out Pepperdine Lectureship!


And that goes for you too, Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop!

Just try getting 48,000 Church of Christers together like these Catholics did for Mass yesterday in Washington DC without some sort of fight breaking out over worship music styles or women’s roles in the church.

Oh wait. Catholics argue about that stuff too. But I bet they didn’t yesterday–not with “Da Man” in town. And he even spoke in English–not Latin.

So, do Church of Christers have a de facto “Pope?” Full Professor Elrod and his shy and retiring chorus consider the question.

You’ve got to hand it to him.… Read the rest

This Is Not Your Father’s Mercedes Benz

That is, if your father had a Mercedes in the first place. Mine didn’t. But he did have a gleaming white 1960 Chevy Impala coupe with fins.

But for millions of Catholics, their Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is currently cruising the streets of Washington DC in a modified Mercedes ML-430 affectionately dubbed the “Popemobile:”


Now that is one righteous ride!

When I saw that his Holiness preferred the M-Class, I let out a loud “Roll, Benedict, Roll!” because as many of you know, that little gem is manufactured in none other than Tuscaloosa, Alabama. However, I did a little research and found that the current model was given to Pope John Paul II in June, 2002, so that means that particular one was most likely manufactured in Graz, Austria prior to Mercedes moving the entire M-Class operation to T-town.… Read the rest

The Measures of a Good Life

Barbara died a few days ago. She lived two doors down and had been sick for about a year. It wasn’t Alzheimer’s, but something similar, another heartless, wasting disease that took her away, bit by bit, to the horror and disappointment of her husband and family who could do little but simply love her and try to ease her passage to the other side. It was not an easy death.

I did not know her well, beyond an occasional casual conversation on the sidewalk or a friendly wave as she made her way out to retrieve her morning paper while I stumbled by at the conclusion of one of my morning runs.… Read the rest

Let’s Hear It For The Little Guy

Among all the things that Pope Benedict XVI has stated recently, it’s important to remember one thing that he did not say: that those believers outside the Roman Catholic Church are not true Christians.

And I don’t believe that he would say that, because that’s not the official teaching of the Catholic Church (although there are many Catholics still today who might say that). What he did say is that those “ecclesial communities” formed by those other Christians are not churches in the “proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession and are therefore “defective.” That has always been the view of the Catholic Church and the Pope is, for whatever reasons, basically stating what has always been official teaching.… Read the rest

Et tu, Roma?

Certainly, readier access to the Latin Mass would thrill the core of liturgical old-schoolers who have longed for its return. But how many mainstream American Catholics would be interested in attending a Latin Mass? Some of the largest and most passionate Catholic congregations I’ve seen have been in churches whose services have veered far from the pre-council standard and toward something more resembling an evangelical megachurch service: video screens, pop-influenced worship bands, a breezy informality in the pews.

–Fr. Andrew Santella

Et tu, Roma?

I know a Catholic family who digs a more somber vibe and loads up a 15-passenger Ford Econoline van every Sunday morning at 5 AM to drive an hour to Cullman in search of the closest Latin Mass to Huntsville.

Read the rest

The Great Golf Conspiracy

In a brilliant display of investigative reporting, the paper of record, The New York Times, discovered recently that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, John Mack, is maneuvering to place certain golfing buddies on the board of directors.

Coming soon: the NYT’s blockbuster report on the late Pope John Paul II’s suspected dabbling in (gasp!) Catholicism!

Obviously, the Gray Lady’s reporting of a story which is, well, so obvious, is deserving of a send-up of the highest magnitude. For that task, there’s no better person for the job than my favorite sports commentator and writer, Frank Deford. Mr. Deford is rightly concerned over this development and it’s impact on our country’s future.… Read the rest

See Ralph Run. Run, Ralph, Run!

Faith, purity and prayer. According to Catholic theology, these are the ingredients needed in order to perform a miracle. Unfortunately, Ralph Walker, a 14-year-old hormone-driven parochial school student, has, just in the previous week alone, taken the Lord’s name in vain 211 times, had 22 impure thoughts (along with 22 sins of the flesh), and contemplated murder. For him, faith, purity and prayer are about as rare as rosary beeds and Hail Marys at a fundamentalist tent revival.

Hamilton, Ontario is the setting for the warm and quirky running movie, “Saint Ralph,” recently released on DVD. The year is 1953 in a time when the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church loomed large in the lives of many North Americans, defining and controlling nearly every aspect of their existence.… Read the rest

The Case for Advent

Let me just say this up front: I love the Church of Christ. Prior to the good-natured and gentle rebuke, I state for the record that the Church of Christ does considerably more good than harm, and that I for one have suffered no irreparable damage from my experiences in that denomination. Despite her flaws and freckles, and even with her red-faced, arm-crossed “I’ll just have a piece of dry toast, no butter or jam for me, thank you very much” approach to the Christian faith, I love her still.

She was was my nursemaid in the faith, the place where I learned scripture and where loving and caring hands laid the foundation of my Christian formation.… Read the rest