Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith


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At ‘least religious’ Wesleyan, a home for Christians

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Luka Lezhanskyy, and a well-thumbed copy of the New Testament on the coffee table

Luka is the house manager of Lighthouse, on the cusp of the Wesleyan campus, a home for Christians (and sometimes others in need of housing). It’s one of several “program houses” for students of various religions, despite the Princeton Review’s having named Wesleyan the #1 school with the least religious students. The ranking,  in the 2019 edition of The Best 384 Colleges, is based on “how strongly students disagree that their fellow students are very religious.” For the record, the review also named Wesleyan a #1 “Impact School,” based on its high level of providing community service.

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A look inside Lighthouse:

 

 


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Notre Dame Cathedral: ‘The building is not about the building’

ND fire

Joe SiryFranWesleyan University Prof. Joseph Siry and University of Hartford’s Hillyer College Prof. Fran Altvater, both art historians, talk about the history and future of Notre Dame Cathedral and react to news of street protests about the funding of its reconstruction.

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On the Last Supper being a seder and other Christian misconceptions: a visit with a rabbi

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rabbi at wesu
rabbi at wesu (2)

Rabbi Marci Bellows leads Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, CT.

temple hello

Here she welcomes a visitor to the synagogue, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2015. The building was designed by artist Sol Lewitt, who was a member of the congregation until his death in 2007. The Reform congregation’s approach, as stated on its website — cbsrz.org — is “ancient and cool.”

temple exterior


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Remember being alone with your thoughts? The case against smart phones

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IMG_2815Writer and critic Rand Richards Cooper, right, on a rant against obsessive smart phone use. He’s joined by Andrew Chatfield, Wesleyan’s arts communication director, whose new show on WESU, “The Center for the Arts Radio Hour,” can be heard every Thursday at 4 p.m.

Rand is a film critic and contributing editor at the the Catholic journal Commonweal,  as well as a columnist and restaurant reviewer at Hartford Magazine. Here are links to some of Rand’s journalistic “jeremiads” on the subject of smart phones:

https://www.courant.com/opinion/insight/hc-op-insight-cooper-bathrooms-cellphones-20181119-story.html

https://www.amherst.edu/amherst-story/magazine/issues/2012winter/insights/node/377565

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/last-word-flick-flick

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/de-screening

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/smartphone-bargain

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/swiping-back-big-phone

https://www.amherst.edu/amherst-story/magazine/issues/2019-spring/first-words


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‘An obligation to do something about this dysfunctional, corrupt clerical system’

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IMG_0125 (1)Sr. Christine Schenk is the author of Crispina and Her Sisters: Women and Authority in Early Christianity, the result of her arduous digging into the archeological record of women’s leadership roles, including preaching, in the 2nd through 6th centuries.

Some photos:

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Sr. Christine also is the now-retired founding director of the progressive Catholic organization FutureChurch — https://www.futurechurch.org/ — an international coalition of parish centered Catholics working for full participation of all Catholics in the life of the Church. She led the organization from 1990-2013 and worked to transform a diocesan network of 28 parish councils and 100 parish leaders into an international organization of over 3500 parish-centered activists reflecting the values of Vatican II. A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Chris formerly worked as a nurse midwife in Cleveland for 20 years.

Additionally, she is featured in the documentary film, Radical Grace. 

In a recent appearance on NPR, she discussed the abuse of sisters by clergy: https://www.npr.org/2019/02/07/692259068/nuns-speak-out-after-pope-acknowledges-clergy-sexual-abuse

 

 

 


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Ugh. Forget Rome. Let’s talk ‘Roma’. Our critics go mano a mano in our annual Oscar roundup.

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RichardRandSiskel & Ebert didn’t disagree more. Richard Alleva, left, and Rand Richards Cooper, who write for the Catholic journal Commonweal and commonwealmagazine.org, make cases for their Oscar picks in advance of this Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast. Richard is a freelance movie reviewer and Reasonably Catholic‘s regular movie critic; Rand is a contributing editor at Commonweal as well as a columnist and restaurant reviewer at Hartford Magazine.


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So very hard to stay: on loving but maybe leaving the Catholic Church

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Paul_Lakeland_photoAuthor Paul F. Lakeland is president of the Catholic Theological Society of America; a professor at Fairfield University; and chair of its Center for Catholic Studies. A former Jesuit, he contributes regularly to the Catholic journal Commonweal and is the author of several award-winning books, including The Wounded Angel and The Liberation of the Laity.

In our interview, he lends a sympathetic ear to complaints about the Church even as he says he is not going anywhere.

 

 

 


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No Godtalk, please. We’re Christian.

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JM Headshot_SmallJonathan Merritt is the author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing — and How We Can Revive Them. “If we do not use sacred words, then our minds will be less attuned to transcendence,” he says in the book. “If we do not have spiritual conversations, then we’ll be less shaped by our spirituality.”

Merritt holds graduate degrees from Southeastern baptist Theological Seminary and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He writes on faith and culture, including for The Atlantic. Among his other books is Jesus is Better Than You Imagined.

 


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Sex, religion, and politics: what’s past is prologue

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Podcast link: https://reasonablycatholic.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Reasonably-In-Action0-1.mp3

R. Marie GriffithR. Marie Griffith, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis and the director of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, is the author of Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics. 


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We’re for the birds!

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For the third year in a row, we dedicate our first episode of the New Year to the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, the nation’s longest-running citizen science project in which groups of volunteers in a designated area count every bird they see, with the data used to track trends.

In this 119th year of the count, I joined volunteers for the Stratford/Milford, CT, count. We posted ourselves at Russian Beach, at the edge of Long Island Sound in Stratford, then, in a nearby woodlot, team leader Frank Mantlik quickly located this Barred Owl, shown here on the screen of Frank’s camera.

According to Frank’s report, the team counted an impressive “112 species, including 3 Northern Shoveler, 8 Canvasback, 3 Redhead, all 3 Scoters, 6 Great Egret, all 3 Accipiters, both Vultures, all 3 Falcons, 1 Clapper Rail, Black Bellied Plover, Killdeer, Purple Sandpiper, 4 Owls (including 6 Barred Owl, 3 Long-eared Owl), 7 Raven, 47 H Lark, 2 RB Nuthatch, 2 Br Creeper, 5 Winter Wren, 4 GC Kinglet, 4 E Bluebird, 2 Hermit Thrush, 3 Gr Catbird, 1 Am Pipit, 37 Snow Bunting, 2 YR Warbler, 7 Field Sparrow, 6 WC Sparrow, 6 Fox Sparrow, 6 Swamp Sparrow, 1 E Towhee, 12 Purple Finch, 1 Pine Siskin, 1 Ipswich Sparrow and 28 Boat-tailed Grackle.  Count Period birds included Iceland Gull, Razorbill, Northern Gannet and Short-eared Owl.”

The bird count continues through Jan. 5. To learn how you might still join in, check the audubon.org site.

Here are more photos from a glorious day!

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3We started our day at 6 a.m. with a hearty breakfast at the Blue Sky Diner in Stratford. Above, team leader Frank Mantlik; below, from left, Patrick Comins, executive director of Audubon CT; bird count veteran Ryan Maclean; and Stefan Martin, who works with various Audubon chapters.

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Last three photos show: (in car) Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Audubon Connecticut’s Bird Conservation Programs Manager; Genevieve Nuttall, Audubon Connecticut’s Bird Conservation Program Associate; and high school student Nivea Ortiz, who saw her first-ever owl that day!