MUSINGS: OLD SAINT MARY'S BLOG

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June 20, 2017


The Hate Debate
In the wake of last week's tragic shooting at a congressional baseball practice, we have been regularly reminded how divided we have become as a society, as social, cultural, and class divisions increasingly seem to replicate our toxic political confli...

April 10, 2017

Catholics of my age will likely remember little or nothing of the traditional, unreformed rites of Holy Week, prior to Pope Pius XII's 1955 reforms. My minimal childhood memory of Holy Thursday from when the Mass of the Lord's Supper was still  in the morning is a flee...

March 14, 2017


Populorum Progressio + 50
In two weeks, Laetare Sunday (March 26) will mark the 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI's landmark encyclical Populorum Progressio ("On the Development of Peoples"). A lot has happened in 50 years. A lot has changed in the world in 50...

February 21, 2017

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese recently wrote an interesting article in NCR reacting to President Trump's repeated promise to his supporters in the Religious Right to repeal the so-called "Johnson Amendment," the 1954 legislation prohibiting all (not just Churches) non-pro...

February 6, 2017


Twilight of Democracy


Back when I was a political scientist in the late 1970s, I read an article by someone who suggested an analogy between constitutional monarchy and constitutional democracy. He argued that the former was a successful, 19th-century institution whic...

January 23, 2017

Here is a repeat of the article written by Fr. Ron Franco back in December.  It is appropriate as we prepare to celebrate the Conversion of St. Paul, Patronal feast of the Paulists.

Sunday, December 18, 2016
19th-Century Missionary for the 21st-Century Church
On this da...

December 19, 2016

19th-Century Missionary for the 21st-Century Church


On this date in 1819 Isaac Hecker (who eventually went on to found the Paulist Fathers in 1858) was born to immigrant parents in New York City. From an early age, he already expressed a belief in God’s special provide...

December 6, 2016

Saint Nicholas (a.k.a.,"Santa Claus")
For several years, while I was parochial vicar at the Paulist Mother Church in NYC, I had the joy of playing "Saint Nicholas" (a.k.a. "Santa Claus") at the annual Winter's Eve celebration coinciding with Lincoln Center's Tree Light...

October 18, 2016


Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize
We are quite used to the idea that the Nobel Peace Prize occasionally goes to politicians who, whatever their good intentions, have in fact failed to produce peace (e.g., Woodrow Wilson in 1919, Barack Obama in 2009, and Colombian Preside...