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Katie van Schaijik

About being under the circumstances

May. 14, 2012, at 2:43pm

One of the lines that stays with me from the high-flying years of the charismatic renewal in the '80s came from a homily or a talk by (I think) Fr. Michael Scanlon at FUS.  He recounted the day when a fellow-traveler in the renewal asked him, "How are you doing, Father?" He replied, "Pretty well, under the circumstances."  Then came the robust retort: "What are you doing under the circumstances?"

It was a great laugh line for spiritual pep talk.  And it captures an important personalist truth.  We're meant to take charge of ourselves; to master our circumstances, not to be mastered by them.  We are self-determining moral agents, not just undergoers-of-experience.

On the other hand, too

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Devra Torres

Diversity: Reclaiming a Buzzword

Apr. 19, 2012, at 1:29pm

God is clearly fond of diversity.

Last week, I posted about the striking variety in personality, temperament, talents and style among Catholic priests.  Several readers noted the same individuality among the saints. 

But is it just the Church?  Reader (and friend) Jessica Essolen pointed to a Baptist minister and a Jewish philosopher who display plenty of flourishing individuality.  And what about those Catholic "reductionists" we all know who misguidedly promote particular devotions or styles or images as the only authentic piety?  (Steven Greydanus has some worthwhile thoughts on the subject.)

So, it's true: on the one hand, some Catholics do act as if they had very little use for

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Katie van Schaijik

The big difference between Mother Teresa and Mao Tse Tung

Oct. 19, 2009, at 1:54pm


The news emerged this week that White House’s Director of Communications, Anita Dunn, announced to high schoolers just this June that “two of her favorite political philosophers”, two of the people she “turns to most” are Mother Teresa and Mao Tse Tung. (Listen to the audio here.)
The endorsement of the single greatest mass murderer in history is beginning to attract the infamy it deserves. Not noted in the commentary so far, though, is the outrage-in-itself of the comparison between these two moral personalities.

Ms. Dunn identified the common ground between them—the ground of her admiration—by using a quotation from each. In response to someone who pointed out that

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