This weekend’s smash hit Inception is the latest in a string of strong, mind-bending mediations on the nature of reality in the vein of The Matrix, Dark City and Memento. The film focuses on Dom Cobb, a man whose job it is to enter a person’s dream and steal information from his subconscious. As the film progresses, Cobb and his team members — and those of us in the audience — begin to lose grip on exactly what is real and what is a dream. In our own world, the digital landscape provides us with many alternatives to reality: television, video games, and the many role-playing websites the internet offers. These technologies can bring attention to an important world issue, send vacation pictures, distribute pornography, or even organize terrorism. In this Thinking Out Loud, the Busted Halo interns discuss how Inception gives us a mirror through which to look at these modern technologies and how they affect and inform our faith.
Nathalia Ortiza and her friend Lisa Fernandez discuss the perils of being single, Latina and over 30.
If you’re over 30 and you’re single, Catholic and female, there’s only one more ingredient that could make for a combustible “cosmo-mojito” cocktail: being Latina. I was born and raised in the U.S. but when it comes to dating, the fact that I’m technically American means nothing to my very Cuban aunt. Up until a few years ago she and several of the women in my Hispanic family hypothetically shopped for the dresses they would wear to my hypothetical wedding. Whether I had a boyfriend or not didn’t matter, because to my traditional family, romantic life is like the setting on your Facebook account: You’re only allowed to choose from a pre-established menu. And if you happen to fall into the “single” or “it’s complicated” category… let’s just say it may create buzz worthy of votive candle lighting and prayer to the Virgin of Charity in El Cobre (patroness of Cuba).
If you come from the typical Hispanic family, getting married before you hit 30 is an unwritten rule you’re bound to. Older Hispanics don’t usually understand that dating today is not the same as it was in their time. I’m sure other cultures experience generational differences too, but Hispanics are blessed/cursed with being traditional and intrusive. This makes your single status a reason to be singled out.
To my traditional family, romantic life is like the setting on your Facebook account: You’re only allowed to choose from a pre-established menu. And if you happen to fall into the “single” or “it’s complicated” category… let’s just say it may create buzz worthy of votive candle lighting and prayer to the Virgin of Charity in El Cobre.
Our elders forget that today’s generations of singles overwhelmingly come from broken homes (Hispanic–Americans not excluded) making us prone to commitment-phobia. Factor in that, from the time we’re learning to say our “Ave Marias,” we’re …
Donna Freitas is best known for her provocative nonfiction book Sex and the Soul, which was based on scores of interviews she conducted with college-age students about “sexuality, spirituality, romance and religion on America’s college campuses.” Beyond her work as a scholar and college religion professor, however, Frietas has forged a parallel career as a novelist. Her first novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood earned accolades in the Young Adult fiction genre back in 2008. Her most recent novel This Gorgeous Game tackles an unusual theme: a Catholic priest stalking a teenage girl. In the midst of a new wave of accusations of sexual abuse coming from Europe, Freitas’ work tragically resonates beyond the lives of her characters.
Sr. Bernadette: Being a previously published author of nonfiction, did fiction writing flow out of your work on Sex and the Soul, or was that something that you had always wanted to do?
Donna Freitas: One of the typical questions that I get when I’m on a panel is, “So when did you know that you wanted to write novels?” And half the time the people are saying, “When I was 5,” or, “When I was in seventh grade,” and I’m like, “I don’t know — when I was 30?” I never thought that I’d write fiction. I mostly started it one day for fun because I thought of a character. I’m a huge reader, so I’m constantly reading novels. But it never occurred to me that I was capable of writing a novel. It was when my mother died and I was really, really sad for a really long time after she died. That’s when I started writing fiction. I thought of this funny character and she was amusing me. Her voice was really strong in my head and I just thought to start writing her story because it made me happy in a really sad time, and it turned into a novel.
Bob Sheppard, the longtime Voice of Yankee Stadium died this week at the age of 99. Sheppard’s majestic elocution gave players and spectators goosebumps for over half a century. Sheppard was also devout in his Catholic faith and he was kind enough to offer Senior Editor Mike Hayes an interview about both his faith and his career as he tried to return to the public address booth after an undisclosed illness. Sadly, he would never make it back. We’re reprinting our interview here. You can also hear the full audio version of the interview here on a Busted Halo Cast.
Anyone who has attended a Yankee’s home game since the mid-twentieth century has been greeted by the unique—and now legendary—style of player introductions given over the stadium’s public address system:
Now batting for the Yankees… Number 2… the shortstop… Derek… Jeter.. Number 2.
For over 57 years, Bob Sheppard’s honeyed baritone has been echoing throughout the “The House that Ruth Built,” which means that Sheppard has introduced legends like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson. From Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956 and Reggie Jackson’s magical three World Series homers in 1977 to Joe Torre’s dynasty throughout the late 90s— Sheppard has seen it all.
If sports, as it is often said, have become a religion for many Americans, Yankee Stadium is certainly baseball’s great Cathedral and Sheppard—as Reggie Jackson once dubbed him—is the Voice of God inside it. For decades, his distinctive style of announcing has added a greater sense of reverence and grace to games there. It should come as no surprise then that Sheppard is also a man of deep faith: a devout Catholic all his life who receives communion daily and has a daughter who became a nun.
With the Help of God
In 2007, Sheppard, who doesn’t publicize his age (although Busted Halo® sources report that he is 98!) was unable to finish announcing the season due to a severe illness. For the first time in his storied career the man whose microphone is
Busted Halo’s first ever Behind the Scenes event, with Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, was a great success with over 150 people attending in person, and over a thousand tuning in online to watch the live-streaming event. Busted Halo Editor-in-Chief Bill McGarvey interviewed Fr. Martin about his new book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and the two talked about summer spirituality tips and lots of other tangentially related topics.
Fr. McGarry discusses his years in the Holy Land and his extensive work on Jewish-Christian relations. The Los Angeles native also touches on the divisions he sees in both American politics and the Catholic Church in this country and how the fundamental question that drew him to the Paulists back in 1965, “Can a Priest be a Modern Man?” is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.
Learn more about what Busted Halo® does, the how and why behind our ministry, and watch as bustedhalo.com editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey interviews Fr. James Martin, SJ about Tips for Summer Spirituality. All live from the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City!
In the July/August issue of The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin asks if “The End of Men” is upon us. She argues women — with increasingly greater levels of education and more resilient jobs in this economic recession — are going to take charge, making men the second sex. Our quest for gender equality has led to women zooming ahead, leaving men in the dust. Is that true?
I’ve blogged about my thoughts on this article — and various other pieces that encourage misandry and diminish the role of men — but back in April, I met Damian Wargo, co-founder and director of The King’s Men, a men’s ministry group based in Philadelphia, who is an expert on these issues.
He and I met in New York City for an on-camera debate on NET’s Currents, about gender differences and dating from a Catholic perspective. After we sparred a bit on-air, Damian and I had a chance to chat about his organization, his views on gender, dating and family life, and how young men can get back involved with the Church.
Check out my Q&A with Damian. He and I come from different perspectives on some issues of gender roles, but his desire to involve men in family and community activities is admirable. Plus, his advice to men on dating and marriage (read on!) is rock-solid.
Christine Whelan: Tell me a bit about The King’s Men: Why was it started? How many men are involved? What’s your mission statement and goal?
Damian Wargo:The King’s Men was started in response to the crisis in masculinity. Sadly, many men are not active in the church in any way. Some men even view faith initiatives for women only. Also, many men are confused about their natural role
For me, the World Cup intimates something of what God is and can be for us. The principle guiding our getting together and enjoying life. The meaning of our days. The joy of our victories and our consoler in defeat. If, as St. Ignatius taught, we should seek God in all things and God wants to be with the people of earth, then He has to be at the World Cup in South Africa this summer. Look for Him there.
It was 1982. I was teaching an English class of fifty primeros (high school freshmen) at Colegio San Mateo, the Jesuit school in Osorno, Chile, deep in the South of that beautiful country. Class was rolling along. The Chilean kids were always respectful and well behaved. Suddenly, they all just started standing up and walking out the classroom door. I stood there confused. What was going on?
Don’t know how I missed the memo. All anyone had been talking about for days was “La Copa.” The whole school was heading for the cafeteria to watch Chile play Austria in Spain. The 600 kids in the high school gathered around a small 19-inch TV. You heard more than saw the game. The whole school, faculty, staff and students, was glued to that screen and the announcer’s voice. I had seen my hometown Philadelphia’s frenzied fans all my life (and no, we don’t throw batteries, at least not often, and the snowballs and Santa incident has been blown way out of proportion) but Philly’s fanatics could not compare to the pulsating energy in that room in Chile. The vibe was radical. It went to the roots of human hearts and souls. I was hooked.
In that game, Carlos Caszely missed a penalty kick against Austria, an event in Chilean sport’s history that makes Bill Buckner’s booting the ball in the 1986 World Series seem inconsequential. When Caszely blew it, the Chilean kids were devastated. You would have thought Caszely — one of Chile’s greatest players — had killed their grandmothers and then stolen their
I had always been fine with the “God is everything” and “There is that of God in each of us” kinds of conceptions of God, but I was finding it hard to turn my will and my life over to a concept or The Universe; and I was being told that it would really help if I could learn to relate to God in a more personal way. I’d always struggled with the idea of a God personal to me. I’d always rejected anthropomorphizations as childish.
Then a wise spiritual friend I admired, Shana, made a suggestion. She came from a rural area where people drive everywhere, and she told me how, when she was learning this herself, she’d buckle the passenger seat of the car and talk to God as if he was sitting there. Though I lived in the city without a car, I’d spent plenty of years in car culture and this visual helped me with imagining how to approach praying in a conversational way.
And praying conversationally changed my conception of God. They fed each other. As I prayed “as if” God was a person in the room with me, I found it easier to feel comforted by God’s presence. As I felt comforted by God’s presence, it became easier to relate to God any time, anywhere — to just stop in the midst of a situation and have a few words with God.
Of course, Christians have always had the person of Jesus to pray to, but I wasn’t raised with any teaching in this area, so that idea was foreign to me. It may be easier to imagine for some. But even if you can easily relate to the idea of praying to God as a person, praying conversationally, and out loud, can still seem strange or silly.
After briefly discussing seeing food or beverage products with Catholic names, Fr. Larry explains the history of the monks of Le Trappe, who brewed and sold ales to provide an income source for their monastery. Today, Trappist monks from Belgium and the Netherlands sell ales in the U.S. Look for a Chimay or Rochefort in a store near you!
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With the release last week of Lady Gaga’s controversial new video “Alejandro,” USA Today called upon BH’s editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey to offer his opinion on whether the video’s treatment of Catholicism was offensive. Read his response here.
But where’s the line between them? What exactly is a virtue? Can it be taught? Are good, and bad, behavior hard-wired in us?
Loyal Busted Halo readers know me as the author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love dating and relationships column. And while researching trends in mate preferences and marriage is still a big focus of me, I’ve always had another academic love: self-improvement, character and the quest for a virtuous, fulfilled life.
And would you believe… there’s a big, venerable foundation devoted to the study of just those things? The John Templeton Foundation is devoted to studying “big questions” of human purpose and ultimate reality. Founded by Sir John Templeton in 1987, the Foundation’s motto is “how little we know, how eager to learn.”
A few years ago, the foundation started a magazine called In Character: A Journal of Everyday Virtues — and I was an instant fan. The concept was simple: Each issue was devoted to a single virtue — like honesty, humility, wisdom, courage, grit, thrift and modesty — and prominent thinkers would comment on its importance in our day-to-day lives. When the magazine went online, I became their daily blogger on vice, virtue and issues of character in the news.
Living a life of faith means living a life of integrity and character (and having a sense of humor when you trip and fall into the vice camp with a loud thud) so I’m thrilled to bring these blog posts and thoughts to Busted Halo in a new series called Virtue/Vice.
What are virtues?
Philosophers, social commentators, economists and psychologists have written eloquently on the modern definitions and applications of virtues, and most of this gets above my pay grade pretty fast. We know good character and virtue when we see it. It’s behavior that helps us achieve our true, honorable goals. It’s action that brings us closer to God.
If we all agree that there are some good traits — or even
The overnight implosion of her sixty-year career is a metaphor for the changing media landscape.
Reporter Helen Thomas had been a fixture of the White House Press Corps since the Eisenhower administration, making the diminutive 89-year-old journalist a feminist pioneer.
In recent years, however, Thomas was also derided by her colleagues as a hostile and distracting presence in the briefing room; “They think I’m intrusive and they think that I shouldn’t have my opinions and so forth,” she acknowledged in a 2008 interview. “Well, that’s their problem.”
Fellow reporters resented the fact that Thomas was the only correspondent with her very own designated seat (in the front row, no less) even though she was an opinion columnist and not, as Time‘s Joe Klein put it, “a working reporter.”
Others were irritated by her abrasive personality
Thomas’ vitriolic expression of hatred toward the Jewish state touched a nerve… At the end of the day, Helen Thomas couldn’t escape the chorus of outrage from her colleagues in the media, and from ordinary TV news viewers, blog readers and talk radio callers.
and obvious bias. In a 2006 New Republic piece, Jonathan Chait accused Thomas of delivering “unhinged rants,” while CBS correspondent Mark Knoller acknowledged that “sometimes her questions were embarrassing to other reporters.”
Indeed, “colleagues sometimes rolled their eyes at her obvious biases,” said Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. But, unlike the outspoken Helen, her colleagues mostly kept their feelings about her to themselves, out of deference to her seniority.
Longstanding resentments finally broke the surface this month, when a few seconds of video, captured on a tiny flip camera, sped around the Internet and ultimately cost Thomas her job.
No one was more surprised than the man who shot the film. Rabbi David Nesenoff of Long Island had visited the White House on May 27 to celebrate “American Jewish Heritage Celebration Day” with his teenage son and the boy’s friend. In the