Category: Arts, Leisure & Culture

Wake Up, The Glory of the Martyrs Shines Upon You!
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Wake Up, The Glory of the Martyrs Shines Upon You!

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In his moving novel, Silence, Japanese-Catholic author Shusako Endo once described the continent of Asia as a “swamp” that choked the sapling of the Gospel and made it uninhabitable for Christianity. That image has always haunted me because a part of my own journey — as a convert to Christianity from Buddhism — has been to […]

Frustrations in Prayer
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Frustrations in Prayer

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Fr. Ronald Knox, an English Catholic of the early 20th century and convert, gave retreats and talks to lay people to help them deepen and improve their spiritual life. In his Spiritual Guidance for Christian Living: A Retreat for Lay People, he gathers two dozen talks and homilies written for lay people and the troubles they […]

Book Review: <i>Redeeming Administration</i>
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Book Review: Redeeming Administration

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With summer vacations winding down and the world getting back to the business of school and work, it is the perfect time to read Redeeming Administration: 12 Spiritual Habits for Catholic Leaders (Ave Maria Press, 2013). Author Ann Garrido serves as a program director at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Lewis. Having been […]

Laughing With the Lord
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Laughing With the Lord

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A well-timed one-liner allows for a lighthearted look at ourselves and the world. It affords an opportunity to appreciate amazing ironies in our life. It encourages us to start talking with others. When delivered well, an amusing line elevates language to the level of art and leaves us laughing, wanting more. In Prayer Works! Getting […]

Seven More Books for Catholic College Students
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Seven More Books for Catholic College Students

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The college semester is upon us again, and at most universities the new academic year is either now beginning or has recently begun [1]. For the returning students, this means a return to familiar stomping grounds and reunions with friends before the courses really buckle down into the semester grind. For the new students, it […]

When the Game Stands Tall
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When the Game Stands Tall

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It’s not about winning or losing but about how you play the game. Those words are usually reserved for losing teams, but legendary football coach, Bob Ladouceur, who shattered the record for all American sports, taught his team to live them; win or lose. He took the Spartans of De La Salle High School in […]

Standing Tall
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Standing Tall

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Sports movies have a built-in source of drama. In every contest there are winners and losers, hard work and teamwork, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Yet such movies also can lapse into melodrama and cliché: slow-motion metaphors that elevate sports above other challenges of life. Yet the best sports movies fit […]

 The Abortion Breast Cancer Link: When Orthodoxy Trumps Science and Reason
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The Abortion Breast Cancer Link: When Orthodoxy Trumps Science and Reason

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In the debate surrounding the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (ABC link), there has arisen a core of individuals whose demeanor can best be described as zealous. This group has all but abandoned the core scientific principle of allowing themselves to be led, without prejudice, by the preponderance of the scientific data. It […]

Movie Review: <em>Calvary</em>
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Movie Review: Calvary

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The new Irish film, Calvary, is a fierce expedition into the repercussions and present climate of post-clergy-sex-abuse-scandal Ireland. It’s an unblinking, fictitious story that’s an apt vehicle not so much to wonder “how?” and “what went so terribly wrong?” as it is to gauge people’s reactions. Calvary sports the simplest, boldest, shortest Act One I […]

Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love
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Catholic Romance Novel Shows Sacrifice at the Heart of Love

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Just as the movie Brokeback Mountain paved the way for widespread acceptance of homosexual love affairs, the novel The Lion’s Heart is poised to do the same for the Catholic view of homosexuality. Almost certainly the first of its kind, this gay Catholic romance novel was written by Dena Hunt (also author of Treason) and published by Full […]

Five Books for the Catholic Mom’s Soul
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Five Books for the Catholic Mom’s Soul

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Living my vocation is hard. So, so hard. However, when I truly invest myself completely in loving and serving these humans that God has given me, the graces flow and joy abounds. Its true, what they say: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. To that end, over the last few years I’ve been seeking […]

<em>Theology of the Body, Extended</em>: A Review
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Theology of the Body, Extended: A Review

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When John Paul II used his first years as pope forming the Theology of the Body, he meant it as a springboard for further reflection by theologians. In Theology of the Body, Extended: the Spiritual Signs of Birth, Impairment, and Dying, Susan Windley-Daoust takes that invitation and runs with it. John Paul II focused on […]

Movie Review: <em>Boyhood</em>
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Movie Review: Boyhood

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Boyhood, the new movie written and directed by Richard Linklater (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, The Before… Trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) is a one-of-a-kind, “big idea” film. The lives of screen Mom, Dad, son and daughter are followed for twelve years. Literally twelve years, having been filmed for about a week each […]

<i>Mr. Blue</i> - The Anti-Gatsby
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Mr. Blue – The Anti-Gatsby

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In the June 2014 issue of Columbia Magazine, published by the Knights of Columbus, Alton J. Pelowski offered a profile of Myles Connolly (1897 – 1964), a former editor of that publication. A graduate of Boston College, he would serve in the Navy during the end of World War I, work as a reporter for […]

NCR Blogger's Memoir Breaks Mold
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NCR Blogger’s Memoir Breaks Mold

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National Catholic Register blogger Jennifer Fulwiler just published her long awaited memoir, Something Other Than God. The book is enjoying exposure and praise typically reserved for secular tales. When I saw the book profiled on Forbes.com, a real feat for a Catholic conversion story, I braced myself for something compelling. The memoir is written with […]

<em>Divergent</em> Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination
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Divergent Trilogy Tackles Genetic Engineering and Genetic Discrimination

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Warning! Spoilers Ahead!! Divergent is the latest of the teen dystopian future trilogies to hit the big screen. I have read all three books, Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Is it not my favorite trilogy in this growing genre, but I know that teens everywhere love it. I do appreciate that Veronica Roth has tackled some […]

A Place for Family Prayer
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A Place for Family Prayer

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Life today is fast-paced and can lead us astray, so we need to slow down sometimes and reset our direction toward God. The best way to begin this reorientation is by making space – both physically and spiritually – for prayer in the home. This is the message of the book The Little Oratory: A […]

Movie Review: <em>The Jewish Cardinal</em>
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Movie Review: The Jewish Cardinal

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The 2013 film (now on DVD and Netflix) The Jewish Cardinal is the life of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger who died in 2007. May I say that this is the most tastefully, smartly irreverent life of a prelate ever on film? Jewish filmmaker, Ilan Duran Cohen, gets both Judaism and Catholicism […]

My Rules for Discourse on the Internet
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My Rules for Discourse on the Internet

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I could be having a great day and a nasty exchange on the Internet will always bring me down. Whether I am involved or not, uncivil discourse sucks the joy out of the Internet for me. I suspect it does for most people who are not secret psychopaths. I am especially discouraged when I see […]

Social Media Fasts: Making Room for Blessings
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Social Media Fasts: Making Room for Blessings

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Remember when social media fasting was trending during Lent? My big undertaking for Lent was to fast from Facebook, and though it wasn’t complete, it was my first attempt and pretty strict. It was such a huge change for me that months later, I’m still processing the experience and reaping rewards from the fast. My […]

<i>Journey of Our Love: The Letters of St. Gianna and Pietro Molla</i>
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Journey of Our Love: The Letters of St. Gianna and Pietro Molla

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St. Gianna Beretta Molla is a popular saint, not only because she was so profoundly pro-life as to give up her own life in order to save her unborn child, but also because she was a modern woman and a working mother. She is someone mothers of today can relate to and aspire to imitate […]

Book Review: <i>Dear God, You Can't Be Serious</i>
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Book Review: Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious

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Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious (Liguori Publications, 2014) is the sequel to Patti Maguire Armstrong’s Dear God, I Don’t Get It, but one need not have read the first one to enjoy the second. While the first book focused on older brother Aaron, a sixth grader who had to move to a new state […]

Why I Keep Returning to the Music of Beethoven
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Why I Keep Returning to the Music of Beethoven

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In the great treasury of music, I keep finding myself coming back again and again to Beethoven. You may think it’s because he was one of the greatest composers who ever lived despite his deafness. That is true, everybody loves great music and everybody loves an over-comer. But there’s something more that keeps drawing me […]

Lust, Love, and Demons: A Review of <em>Tobit's Dog</em>
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Lust, Love, and Demons: A Review of Tobit’s Dog

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The Biblical story of Tobit’s marriage to Sarah, whose previous seven husbands had been slain by demons, has been cleverly reimagined in a new novel (released April 2014 by Ignatius Press) called Tobit’s Dog, by Michael N. Richard. The novel is set in the backwoods of Depression-era North Carolina. The plight of blacks in the […]

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