As usual, we've been blessed by terrific submissions for this week's Catholic Carnival. There's no single theme that runs through this week's posts, so just think of the Carnival as a glittering Christmas tree with sparkling presents arrayed underneath. Here they are: go ahead and open them early - you've got our permission!
Happy Catholic kicks things off with the controversy over the USCCB's rating of Brokeback Mountain and wonders why they're doing movie reviews at all. Considering the quality of the review (and the content of the movie), I have to ask myself the same question.
la nouvelle theologie relates a recent evening of ecumenical reflection on the Psalms - the book Jesus most often quoted from - including commentary from Luigi Giussani's book The Psalms. There is so much more to the Psalms than many of us - or me, at least - realize...
Crusader of Justice ponders what it means to "pray without ceasing" and not surprisingly finds the answer in St. Augustine, who says "Whatever else you may be doing, if you but fix your desire on God's Sabbath rest, your prayer will be ceaseless."
HMS Blog reflects on Sunday's readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, particularly the theme of Jesus as the heir of David who will build God’s house. It's a very nice linking of the Old Testament and Gospel readings, showing how the OT is fulfilled in the New.
Herb Ely tells the story of Washington Redskins player Antonio Brown and the difference made by his high school coach and teacher, Tolbert Bain. Herb cites this as a prime example of the Spirituality of Work, and speculates on the role of faith in Brown's life.
Been Christmas shopping yet? Did the clerks in the store wish you "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"? Or did they wish you anything? Ramblings of a GOP Soccer Mom (that's Christine) says this year she'd even settle for "Season's Greetings", and wonders just what role the stores should play in all this.
Jay picks up on this theme at Living Catholicism, and asks what this movement towards “Holiday” over “Christmas” tells us about a country that is 85% Christian? I particularly appreciated the line, "Tolerance is not charitable if it compromises the Truth."
We sometimes forget that at its most basic level, the Christmas story is one of a mother and her child. On the Other Foot observes it's the one time of the year when Protestants put aside their fears and join Catholics in more traditional worship.
Speaking of giving birth, as we await the birth of the Savior, Kicking Over My Traces looks at the issue of in vitro fertilization and asks if we're overlooking something in the rush to a scientific solution of a heartbreaking problem.
The answer to that could come from A Penitent Blogger, who points out how desire for "things" can lead us astray, and reminds us that seeking happiness and fulfillment apart from God eventually leads us to emptiness and frustration.
It is another type of desire - the desire to find meaning in life - that propels many of us to search for the truth. Deo Omnis Gloria looks at those who seek meaning through America's latest obsession, the occult. Why are so many moving to the occult, and what we should do?
One of the most interesting site names we've run across is TMH's Bacon Bits (mmm, bacon!). In this post, he urges us not to focus on the enemies of Christ during Advent, but instead to reflect on the pure joy of the significance of Christmas.
And your humble hosts look at Catholics who not only urge us to abandon Christmas to the secularists, they suggest that Christmas isn't really that big a deal anyway. Are we talking about the same holiday?
Thanks again for your terrific submissions, and to each and every one of you a blessed final week of Advent. And enjoy Christmas, no matter what anyone else tells you!