SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
December 20, 2018
December 20, 2018
A controversy has erupted on American airwaves: Should Frank Loesser’s Christmas classic, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, be banned by radio stations? Those in favour of banning the song claim it promotes date rape, with the male singer refusing to accept a woman’s reasons for wanting to go home. Defenders argue that it’s just a light-hearted,
December 20, 2018
Dear Father Rutler, Pope Francis isn’t my favourite Vicar of Christ of the last couple of millennia, but I don’t like the way some of my friends and family trash-talk him. Should I say something? If so, how do I put it without sounding cloyingly pious? Roger S, Reading, MA With the best of intentions,
December 20, 2018
We Americans have a way of taking European customs and cultural items, reinventing them to our liking, and as often as not sending them back (or at least trying to) to the Mother Continent. So it has been with Disney’s Fantasyland (based on European folktales), historical re-enactment, Renaissance “faires”, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and
December 20, 2018
I’ve never been happy with some of my activist friends who send out Christmas cards with messages like: “May the Peace of Christ Disturb You!” Can’t we have one day a year to be happy and celebrate without having our already unhappy selves shaken with more guilt? Isn’t Christmas a time when we can enjoy
December 20, 2018
After my first Confession in a long time, I found the joy I had forgotten
December 20, 2018
“Mother” Ann Lee (1736-1784) was born to a family of poor English Quakers in Manchester. Baptised at age six in what is now the Anglican Manchester Cathedral, she went through several jobs growing up, and was forced by her father to marry; she had four children, all of whom died in infancy. She claimed then
December 20, 2018
Cryptic across 5 Place in Colorado for Vicar Edward to retreat (6) 7 Was Blues’ chairman more roguish? (6) 9 He who helped kill Sennacherib badly harmed camel (11) 10 Religious type – one in York, for example (8) 12 Kind of vow I make to hitch to port to see A-lister (4) 13 Amorous,
December 20, 2018
Ordinary Form Divine Office Week IV Sunday, December 23: The Fourth Sunday of Advent Mi 5:1-4A; Ps 80; Heb 10:5-10; Lk 1:39-45 Monday, December 24: Weekday of Advent 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; Ps 89; Lk 1:67-79 Tuesday, December 25: The Nativity of the Lord (reading for Mass During the Day) Is 52:7-10; Ps
December 20, 2018
The correct term, of course, is St Stephen’s Day: we mark the first martyr of the early Church, a reminder that the Infant Jesus, in His infinite love for us, asks us to give up our whole lives for Him. But the British name “Boxing Day” relates indirectly to Stephen. Being a deacon, the saint
December 20, 2018
Christmas is a time when even the secular world rediscovers the importance of ritual. Every family has special Christmas customs. They help navigate time, memory and change. Most are simple and happy, but some can be kind of counter-rituals – ways in which we have become controlled by the past or by expectations which are
December 20, 2018
The image’s deceptive simplicity is of an order accomplished only by a master. Brown ink pen strokes. Brown wash. Traces of black lead. The economy is illusory, the effect alluring. Just so is Bartolomé Estebán Murillo’s drawing of the Nativity (c 1665) which I spotted in an otherwise disappointing corridor of frequently changed exhibits at
December 20, 2018
The Christmas story, as related in the Gospels, furnishes the background for memories that reach back to childhood. Few of us, either as children or admiring parents, can ever forget the Christmas Nativity plays that created such excitement in our earliest years at school. Frequently they are remembered as much for what went wrong as
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