Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi blessing

Today at 1pm Eastern I watched Pope Francis’s incredible Urbi et Orbi blessing, his public blessing of the whole world in this time of pandemic, suffering, and death. A few scenes below, along with Vatican Media’s YouTube stream. Here are Pope Francis’s blessing and remarks. And here is an excerpt from Pope Francis: Why are…

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Lessons from the exceptions

Unlike with Spanish Flu a century ago or Hong Kong Flu in the 1950s, today we’re receiving constant and more or less real time information about the pandemic we’re experiencing. But how much of the information we’re receiving is valuable? How much of it is true? One of the things that’s incredibly difficult, despite our…

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Tanner’s Annunciation

Today’s the Feast of the Annunciation. I’ve had a postcard-sized version of this depiction of the Annunciation in my kitchen for a year or so, since first picking it up at the University of Mary when I was finishing my bioethics coursework. Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) painted the original work. “A Prayer for Generosity” appears…

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‘Really worth a new Great Depression?’

Ari Schulman asks something we’re all asking: “What’s the plan?”: How long is this going to last? As terrible as a pandemic would be, is averting it really worth a new Great Depression? What is the endgame? As a pandemic loomed, the country moved in remarkably short order from shrug to shutdown. Understandably, some are…

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‘We are masters of our actions’

We’re quarantining, we’re self-isolating, and some of us are in a straight up lockdown due to the virus. No better time to work on our habits—to consider the actions were choosing and what sort of person we’re choosing to become. Fr. Thomas Petri offers a great introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas’s thought on this: Focus…

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Laetare Sunday and the waking of the dead

It’s the first Sunday since public Masses were suspended due to the virus. A friend shared herself singing “The Old Churchyard” to mark this Laetare Sunday. Laetare means “rejoicing.” As Lent looks towards Easter and we face the grim reality of this virus’s killings and disruptions, our cause for rejoicing is Christ’s resurrection and the…

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‘A strange mixture of gravity and nonchalance’

I read Fr. George Rutler’s latest column/reflection in my inbox today, and it’s a great meditation in light not only of Lent, but also of the renewed concern with suffering and death that this virus is bringing to our consciousness: In our exceptional times, the President has declared a national emergency. This is not unprecedented,…

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Reacting to ‘little deaths’

Great profile of Andreas Widmer, professor at The Catholic University of America, who is in quarantine at the university’s campus in Rome with his family: Looking on the “bright side” or seeking the “silver lining” of something like a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is not naivete, but an exercise of one’s…

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Civil order and the pandemic

A sobering report from William M. Arkin at Newsweek today on U.S. government contingency plans in the event that the pandemic were to get much worse: Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme…

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Saint Patrick’s Day in quarantine

Kathryn Jean Lopez writes on celebrating “a different kind of Saint Patrick’s Day”: It’s certainly a weird St. Patrick’s Day by our typical standards. But, on the other hand, it’s been stripped of the unessentials. … A friend was talking to me about all that is going on, in the kind of astonishment that many…

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