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Here I rank the Oscars nominees for Best Picture, from least favorite to favorite. Honestly this was a very good year for Best Picture nominees so it was hard ranking them. With the exception of my bottom 3 (I really did not care for any of those), I could very easily arrive at an entirely different ranking, depending on the day. 10. Maestro Everything about Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic just felt so effortful, especially the performances.
Today, on the feast of Saints Perpetua & Felicity, I thought about their martyrdom. The account of their martyrdom—most of which is written by Perpetua herself—is a witness not only to the victory of life over death upon which Christianity is founded, but also of resistance against imperial oppression. Indeed, it is precisely in their dying that Perpetua & Felicity overcome the death-dealing ways of the Roman empire. From Perpetua’s Passion:
Jan 15, 2024
One of the particular challenges of teaching theology today—even to students who have some religious background—is the utter lack of theological formation most people in the United States receive. Some students may come in with some religious formation, in that they have participated in their church’s faith formation classes or even theology classes in a religious high school, but that formation tends to be more catechetical than theological. To oversimplify, catechesis provides a student with a religious community’s answers to theological questions, but it does not always provide the rationale for those answers.
In the eighth episode of Beef, in one of a series of flashbacks filling in the backstories of the two beefing protagonists (or, better, the two antagonists), we see a particularly affecting scene between Danny & his younger brother, Paul that illustrates what Thomas Merton calls “the pattern & prototype of all sin.” (Spoilers follow.) Danny & Paul are at their parents’ motel: Danny is perhaps 20 or 21 years old & working as his parents’ handyman (contractor, he insists), while Paul, three years his junior, is preparing his college applications.
Dec 31, 2023
Here are the top 10 new-to-me books I read in 2023, in the order I read them: Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, & Being, by M. Shawn Copeland Metamorphoses, by Ovid (translated by Stephanie McCarter) The Body of the Cross: Holy Victims & the Invention of the Atonement, by Travis E. Ables Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, & Radical Religion, by Gary Wills Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World, by Daniel Sherrell Nothing Gained Is Eternal: A Theology of Tradition, by Anne M.
In which I read Bullshit Jobs: A Theory & Swimming in the Dark & Silence: A Novel & Way Back to God: The Spiritual Theology of St Bonaventure & Doppleganger: A Trip into the Mirror World; & watched The Grapes of Wrath & May December & The Holdovers & The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes & Napoleon & The Muppets Christmas Carol & Home Alone & Poor Things & It’s a Wonderful Life & Saltburn & The Color Purple (2023).
Fiducia supplicans presents itself as “an innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings, permitting a broadening & enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings” (emphasis original). I have already said something about how this “innovation” might fit into a Catholic theological project, particularly where doctrinal development is concerned. I’d like now to comment more broadly on the document itself & what it has to say about blessings of couples. My main takeaway from Fiducia supplicans is that all persons & couples, including but not only those couples whose relationships do not conform to the church’s expectations, stand in need of God’s love & mercy, & so spontaneous, frequent, & abundant blessing of all persons & couples ought to be a regular feature of the church’s life as “sacrament of God’s infinite love” (§43).
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