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Tag: Patrick Malone

The Eroticism of Harrison Lemke’s “Song for St. Valentine”

February 14, AD2018 0 Comments
The Eroticism of Harrison Lemke’s “Song for St. Valentine”

Some counter-cultural attitudes are actually pretty widespread. An obvious example is an attitude towards Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s Day. Shirking the yoke of corporatized romance, chocolates in pink wrappers, and garish cards isn’t exactly an underground movement, whispered about at the margins of society. And Catholics have unique ways of being counter-cultural on this day; […]

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An Encounter with the Forearm of St. Francis Xavier

January 31, AD2018 3 Comments
An Encounter with the Forearm of St. Francis Xavier

This past January, thanks to the collaboration of Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) and the Jesuits, the forearm of St. Francis Xavier came to my city, as part of a tour across Canada. As Angèle Regnier, the co-founder of CCO, said, “it’s the arm that he would have used to baptize and heal and, you know, done […]

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The Scandal of Forgiveness in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

January 13, AD2018 1 Comment
The Scandal of Forgiveness in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

To be a little simplistic, Martin McDonagh’s films tend to be preoccupied with cycles of violence, in which parties retaliate against each other for the hurts they suffer, drawing others into this cycle until somebody tries to end it by accepting the hurt done to him, or, indeed, turning that violence upon himself. In Bruges […]

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T.S. Eliot and Dreading Christmas

December 23, AD2017 0 Comments
T.S. Eliot and Dreading Christmas

Few people have likely ever been so dismayed by the passing of Christmas as the Magi and the prophet Simeon, as least as the poet T. S. Eliot portrays them. In his poem “Journey of the Magi,” the Magi travel all night through the “worst time of year” with tired camels while missing the comforts […]

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The Masculinity and Mortification of Auden’s St. Joseph

December 16, AD2017 3 Comments
The Masculinity and Mortification of Auden’s St. Joseph

After two millennia, our veneration of Mary might make it somewhat difficult to imagine how St. Joseph might have seen her when he first heard of her pregnancy. Our familiarity with the joy of Christmas obscures the shock and embarrassment of what was surely seen to be a profound betrayal. Even the recounting of St. […]

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Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor: Blessed are Those Who Mourn

December 4, AD2017 2 Comments
Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor: Blessed are Those Who Mourn

Actions produce consequences which produce new worlds, and they’re all different. Where the bodies are buried in the desert, that is a certain world, where the bodies are left to simply evolve, that is another. And all these worlds, heretofore unknown to us, they must have always been there, have they not? The Counselor, written […]

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The Poetry of Molly McCully Brown: A Theology of Broken Bodies

October 30, AD2017 1 Comment
The Poetry of Molly McCully Brown: A Theology of Broken Bodies

Molly McCully Brown‘s The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded is a magnificent collection of poems, depicting the experiences of profoundly disabled persons who, shunned by mainstream society, are institutionalized and hidden from view. These are people whose bodies fail them so thoroughly they seem less than human. For Brown, these profound disabilities reveal how […]

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A Baby’s Corpse: The Disingenuous Eucharist of “mother!”

October 2, AD2017 1 Comment
A Baby’s Corpse: The Disingenuous Eucharist of “mother!”

Darren Aronofsky’s film mother! starts out well enough, making masterful use of its setting and cinematography and centring on stellar performances from Jennifer Lawrence as Mother and Javier Bardem as her husband Him, a writer. And then it falls apart, climaxing with a woefully trite parody of the Mass, particularly as it is connected to […]

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Do Catholics Watch Film like Fundamentalists?

September 20, AD2017 0 Comments
Do Catholics Watch Film like Fundamentalists?

The silence of the Catholic critic is so often preferable to his attention. -Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being Too much Christian “criticism” of film revolves around tallies of bare boobs, f-words, and the like, or sounding the alarm at perceived hostilities against Christianity, but Larsen I respect for his willingness to let the filmmakers […]

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The Young Pope: Popes Are People, Too

August 26, AD2017 0 Comments
The Young Pope: Popes Are People, Too

The Young Pope, written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, is premised on what is apparently a radical idea: that popes might experience spiritual growth even during their pontificate. Unsettling Catholics expecting a pope with more certainty in his spiritual life and baffling secular critics who don’t know how to recognize or discuss a spiritual journey, […]

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Sex, Desecration, and Shame in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song

July 21, AD2017 0 Comments
Sex, Desecration, and Shame in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song

As Roger Scruton says, “Sex is either consecration or desecration, with no neutral territory in between.” That’s essentially the thesis of Terrence Malick’s recent trilogy of films: To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and now Song to Song. To the Wonder opens the trilogy by, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI, emphasizing that the loves […]

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The Despair of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

June 19, AD2017 2 Comments
The Despair of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has a host of artistic problems, but its most profound failures are of moral understanding. Whereas the original novels by J.K. Rowling embraced the Christian sanctity of life, understanding that death was an evil, and expressed hope for repentance and forgiveness of sins, this late coming play, written by […]

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Catholic Identity Politics and Vocation in the Age of Trump

May 22, AD2017 2 Comments
Catholic Identity Politics and Vocation in the Age of Trump

Surely she had never asked God for anything except that He should let her have her will. And every time she had been granted what she asked for – for the most part. Now here she sat with a contrite heart – not because she had sinned against God but because she was unhappy that […]

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Why Do We Need The Benedict Option?

April 21, AD2017 8 Comments
Why Do We Need The Benedict Option?

The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher is, at the end of the day, underwhelming. That’s not all its own fault; it arrives amidst much hype, hype which turns out to be rather disproportionate to its more modest aims. On one hand, it’s not clear that those who characterize Dreher as telling Christians to head for the […]

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Let Me Kill It: The Violence of Being More Ethical Than Your Society

March 19, AD2017 1 Comment
Let Me Kill It: The Violence of Being More Ethical Than Your Society

Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon… So don’t listen to him. Remember that – do not listen. -William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist There a is quotation attributed to Eliezer Yudkowski, a researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, that periodically makes the social media rounds in memetic form (generally without […]

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Time, Progressivism, Death, and the Liturgical Calendar

March 3, AD2017 0 Comments
Time, Progressivism, Death, and the Liturgical Calendar

Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been Point […]

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Weak Love and Moral Culpability in Shusaku Endo’s Silence

January 28, AD2017 3 Comments
Weak Love and Moral Culpability in Shusaku Endo’s Silence

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, of which a film adaptation by Martin Scorsese shall soon be released, is concerned with the deeply unsettling portrayal of a situation in which one’s faith seems to make irreconcilable demands. Set in 1643, after the Japanese persecution of the Catholic Church forced Catholics underground, Silence recounts the story of Fr. […]

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Shusaku Endo’s Silence and the Divine Command to Sin

January 7, AD2017 4 Comments
Shusaku Endo’s Silence and the Divine Command to Sin

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence is one of the most unsettling novels a Catholic could read. Recounting the story of Portuguese Jesuits facing martyrdom and persecution in seventeenth-century Japan, Endo does not hesitate to pose to his characters – and readers – the most difficult moral dilemmas imaginable regarding persecution and apostasy, and even whether God might […]

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The Exorcist: Theology of the Possessed Body

November 26, AD2016 6 Comments
The Exorcist: Theology of the Possessed Body

Even with its interest in the spiritual realm, William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist is, as befits a story about possession, still very much concerned with the material realm, specifically the human body’s functions, abilities, and appearance. In the novel, the goal of possession, as I discussed in “Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist,” is to […]

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Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist

November 8, AD2016 0 Comments
Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist

Most stories about exorcism following in the wake of William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist (and its film adaptation) tend to portray the Catholic Church as some sort of Justice League fighting the forces of darkness. They clumsily point to the existence of grotesque demonic forces as proof for God’s existence. Blatty however, shows more sophistication. He […]

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Good Characters in a Culture That Can Only Read Hell

October 7, AD2016 0 Comments
Good Characters in a Culture That Can Only Read Hell

Fr. James Lavelle: I think there’s too much talk about sins and not enough about virtues. Fiona Lavelle: What would be your number one? Fr. James Lavelle: I think forgiveness has been highly underrated. -John Michael McDonagh, Calvary A friend of mine once asked if The Divine Comedy is the greatest achievement in human letters. […]

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The Problems with Christian Film

September 21, AD2016 11 Comments
The Problems with Christian Film

This past August, Maclean’s published an article called “What would Jesus watch? Behold a new era in Christian film,” by Jaime Weinman, in which he says that in 2014, there were more so-called “Christian” films than there were comic book superhero movies. Some of these films were even relatively profitable, such as War Room, which […]

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Sexuality, Reality, and the Sacramental in Knight of Cups

September 7, AD2016 1 Comment
Sexuality, Reality, and the Sacramental in Knight of Cups

  “The artist penetrates the concrete world in order to find at its depths the image of its source, the image of ultimate reality.” Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners A few months ago, I offered a commentary on Terrence Malick’s film To the Wonder, outlining the relationship it depicts between the love of eros and agape, […]

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Good Atheists and Bad Catholics

August 22, AD2016 14 Comments
Good Atheists and Bad Catholics

Being Good Without God For Catholics at least, the news that atheists can live a morally praiseworthy life, or people belonging to any other religion, for that matter, is neither all that surprising nor particularly distressing. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said during his 2011 visit to the Bundestag, Unlike other great religions, Christianity has never […]

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