The Pope and the Complexities of Islam

As I begin writing this (Thursday morning), I'm aware that, barring any unforeseen barrier, Pope Francis will be in Iraq by this time tomorrow. One of the things most western Christians fail to understand is the immense complexity of Islam, and how that influences, even determines, the conflicts that our world continues to experience. Broadly... Continue Reading →

“The Bomb” … Transfigured

Seventy-five years ago today, "on the feast of the Transfiguration, a light appeared from above and everything changed. In the sky there was a great cloud, and the light radiated forth brighter than the sun." Brighter Than a Thousand Suns says the title of a 1956 history of the atomic bomb and its aftermath, told... Continue Reading →

Hagia Sophia in perspective

I love the grand, old lady, Hagia Sophia. I first visited Turkey on a pilgrimage for LA Archdiocesan priests in the fall of 2000, and fell in love with both the people and the land. Between 2005 and 2013, I returned to Turkey 11 times -- as a participant in a study tour in 2005,... Continue Reading →


WWJD, the acronym for "What Would Jesus Do?", was a popular all-purpose catch-phrase a few years ago among Christians. I had difficulty with that phrase because too often it was used to justify what the speaker thought Jesus should do if Jesus were him or her. Thus, Jesus was used to justify the feelings (or... Continue Reading →

Grandma changes her religion … again!

Yesterday, to absolutely no one's surprise, Turkey's High Court confirmed the desire of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to revert Hagia Sophia from its current official status as a museum back to its previous function as a mosque. It would appear that Erdoğan is losing no time, and plans to open it for public prayer by... Continue Reading →

My morning nourishment before breakfast

I start the day with several email Newsletters. I recommend any (or all) to you. There are many more that I don't subscribe to - one can't have it all! Today, all of them seem to dancing around a common theme, which I would articulate as: Unwelcome Change and/or Necessary Transformation As my first course... Continue Reading →

Independence Day Talks: 1997-2006 (2020 Edition)

To celebrate today, July 4, 2020, the 244th birthday of the USA, I’m republishing the Independence Day speeches I gave at Claremont’s wonderful annual celebration at Memorial Park. I pondered on faith and patriotism pretty deeply in preparing them each year, and, though dated, they may still have something to say today. While the speeches... Continue Reading →

Holy Saturday: Waiting

Holy Saturday has always fascinated me. It is the one day that has no liturgy. (Easter Vigil is not on Holy Saturday. The Vigil should be celebrated after dark, which is already Sunday.) For Christians, used to the rhythm of celebrations, the Triduum disrupts that rhythm. And on this one day, from the rising to the... Continue Reading →

Virtual Liturgies of Holy Week and Triduum

EWTN, Channel 460 Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020 1:00-3:30 am - Mass from St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, with Pope Francis Pope Francis celebrates the Solemn Mass of Palm Sunday, followed by the Angelus live from Vatican City. LIVE at 9 am, Rome time. (150 minutes) 5:00-6:20 am - Mass from EWTN Chapel The Franciscan... Continue Reading →

Saint “Thank-God”

How can an almost unknown ancient saint with the odd name Deogratias ("Thanks be to God"), who died in North Africa in 457 AD, be a model for us in our world today? In reading a brief account of his life in Butler's Lives of the Saints: New Full Edition (1995) for January, I was... Continue Reading →

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