Great American Fiction and the Catholic Literary Imagination

James Matthew Wilson reviewed Longing for an Absent God: Faith and Doubt in Great American Fiction, by Nick Ripatrazone, at National Review.

"Longing for an Absent God takes a long while to wend its way to its main subject, but when it finally arrives there, we see that Ripatrazone has taken upon himself a serious challenge. The authors he considers — Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich — are some of the most widely acclaimed novelists of the last half century."

Kent Says Farewell to Argument of the Month Club

It has been a long time since I sent out an email blast, June of 2019 to be exact. Last time we talked I was looking to pass the AOTM on to others to manage and run, as I wanted to retire from running the event. Things were going well but I needed to attend to my family. My kids had become teenagers and I needed to spend more time with them; just be present if nothing else. The AOTM was not allowing me to do that, mentally or physically. It became evident by the fall of 2019 that I was not going to be able to pass on the AOTM. I tried to figure ways to modify the AOTM that could maybe fit my situation. I labored over the ideas for months then Covid hit. It was a hard decision, but I came to the conclusion a few months ago that AOTM’s time was done. Over the next few months I will be closing down the official organization. If I were to do anything like the AOTM again I would do it as a parish event.

Thank you Kent! 

Saying yes to the noosphere

David Roach reviewed American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow, by Catherine Osborne, at the Society for US Intellectual History.

"So when translations of the French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin began to appear in 1959, modernists found a theological touchstone they had long lacked. Particularly attractive was his idea that the world was progressing from biosphere to noosphere, a period, to quote Osborne, 'where thinking human beings would develop a unified network of thought and spirit' (120). Modernists understood themselves as contributing to an increasingly connected and extended 'network of thought and spirit' when they sketched plans for ecumenical submarines and lunar chapels—and when they augmented religious experience with drugs."

Tradition of Epiphany door blessing with chalk is symbol of hope in 2021

George P. Matysek Jr. reported (or reminded) at Catholic News Service.

"The blessing, popular in Poland and other Slavic countries, has spread to many parts of the world. It takes place on the liturgical feast marking the visitation of the Magi to the Christ Child and the revelation that Jesus is the son of God.

"The blessing involves taking simple chalk, usually blessed by a parish priest, and scrawling doorways with symbolic numbers and letters — this year: '20+C M B 21.'

"The numbers represent the current year and the letters stand for the first letters of the traditional names of the magi: Caspar (sometimes spelled 'Kaspar'), Melchior and Balthazar. The letters are also an abbreviation for 'Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for 'May Christ bless this dwelling.'"

To the atheist Sartre: Thank you for this vivid incarnation of Jesus

Rev. Thomas Casey at The Irish Times.

"Drafted into the French army in September 1939, Sartre was captured by the Germans in June 1940 as his company retreated, and was imprisoned in the Stalag 12 D camp in Trier.

To keep himself intellectually stimulated, Sartre gave a series of lectures to fellow prisoners, most of whom were priests. ...

"Sartre composed a play for these priests to perform on Christmas Eve 1940. Entitled Bariona, or The Sons of Thunder [Bariona, ou le Fils du tonnerre], it was a nativity play with a difference. ..."

"The Best Books I Read in 2020"

Carl E. Olson, Editor, Catholic World Report.
"Over fifty CWR editors and contributors share and reflect on their favorite reads from the year."

Since Summer, a Groppi Again Marches for Social Justice in Milwaukee

It's James Groppi's daughter Christine, reports Milwaukee Magazine.
"She’s carrying on a legacy established by her father, the Rev. James Groppi, who led the famous open housing marches with the NCAAP Youth Council that began in the summer of 1967 and carried on for 200 consecutive days into the early part of 1968, a mark matched by protesters on Monday night."

The 'O Antiphons' of [Late] Advent

At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
"The Roman Church has been singing the 'O' Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. ..."
Daily texts from Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers provided.

Anselm update at the SEP

Today, on, though not explicitly for, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, an updated entry for St. Anselm, authored by Thomas Williams, has been published at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"He is best known for the celebrated 'ontological argument' for the existence of God in the Proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology (and indeed to philosophy more generally) go well beyond the ontological argument."

Fermentation Fest helps spread the word of the Cistercian nuns



But the monastery’s buildings are crumbling, development is encroaching, and the sounds from Highway 12, which is undergoing a major expansion, are increasing. The nuns had launched a $7 million project about 20 years ago but the effort, which had targeted property in Highland, gained little traction. The new campaign, started in 2017, has raised $9 million for the $12 million first phase, with another $6 million needed for a second phase. The plan is to build a new facility on 229 acres off Highway K near Barneveld. Construction could start in 2023, with the nuns taking occupancy in 2024.
article at WisSJ

M*A*S*H-up

Vatican politics, review by Harry Readhead of The Outsider: Pope Francis and his battle to reform the Church, by Christopher Lamb, The Times Literary Supplement

Farewell to 'Diogenes': R.I.P. Father Paul V. Mankowski

Terry Mattingly reports today at Get Religion on the recent death, at age 66, of "a witty, conservative Jesuit with a very sharp pen".

"How sharp was it?" you might ask.