Category Archives: Catholicism

The Big Schlep (Glossary Included)

Monday was Yom Kippur, the annual Jewish day of repentance. A Jewish friend once told me, “Catholics are lucky. You can go to confession and get absolved of your sins any time you want. Jews only get the chance once a year. It’s a big schlep.” (Schlep: verb, to carry, lug – Yiddish.) I responded […]


Around the time the pope died Saturday, I was sorting through various letters of charitable solicitation. A word in the epistle from Citizens United Against the Death Penalty stopped my eye: abolition. Anti-death penalty advocates are, by definition, abolitionists – they’re trying to abolish the death penalty. The word “abolitionist” in America, however, connotes pre-Civil […]

Vatican Roulette

Now that hostilities have subsided in the Iraq war, we’re all hoping for an outpouring of democratic spirit. At the same time, we fear the nation may be falling into the hands of fundamentalist demagogues. I’m not talking about Iraq; I mean the United States of America. Three weeks ago, Rick Santorum, the Republican junior […]

Lucid Intervals

Schizophrenia is a disease characterized by visual and auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions. It frequently manifests itself in late adolescence or early adulthood. People who suffer from schizophrenia live in a world where some of what they perceive is real and some is illusion, but they cannot differentiate between the two. Researchers have announced the […]

Ecclesia Culpa

We are now more than half way through Lent, the 40-day period of solemnity, abstinence and penitence observed annually by Catholics the world over. Lent this year is more solemn and penitent than usual, due to a lack of abstinence. The American Catholic Church is reeling from wave after wave of disclosures about priests molesting […]

Bishop Attacks Queen

According to the legend, St. Valentine was a bishop in what is now Italy back in the days when the Romans were killing Christians. He was beheaded on February 14th, which became his feast day. In the middle ages, people began sending love letters – or Valentines – on this day because folk wisdom held […]