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Bulletins from the Human Side

Can the pope legislate 'reverence'?

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COLUMN

Folklore grinds out the grains of truth that are found in such notions like: “If an Irishman is given a choice of water or whisky, the water will go untouched.”

With Pope Benedict XVI’s latest plans for time traveling the church back to another era, we recall another claim: “If a German is offered a choice between justice and good order, he’ll take the good order any day.”

'Civility' is political tool, mask for church cover-ups

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As Norman Mailer once suggested that ego was the word of the 20th century, so civility is fast becoming the word of at least this year of the 21st century.

That we all want to be civil should not make us less suspicious of any substance used in excess, and any word that politicians suddenly start using as if they practice it or believed in it. We have many reasons to be cautious about civility as the style of -- as well as the accustomed mask for -- cover-ups.

Christmas journey into the human

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During this week of Christmas, we stand with the Wise Men under a sign in the night sky.

It celebrates an aspect of the feast that, much as for the Kings bearing their gifts, commits us to a journey to “the end of the way of the wandering star” -- as Chesterton sings of it -- “to the things that cannot be and that are, to the place where God was homeless and all men are at home.”

The eternal, hidden in plain sight

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A preacher to the papal household will not get in trouble by telling its residents that the world needs “a renewed faith in eternity.”

Although this cannot be news to Vatican insiders, it is the answer, according to a report on the Catholic Culture Web site, to the questions that secularization has raised as it has metastasized across a Europe once confident of its Catholic identity.

Advent, the human season

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Advent is a season made for imperfect people, all of us, in other words, trying to maintain our balance as we scramble up the final slope of the shadow seamed mountain of the year. Advent's climb leads us to a view of the far reaches of the heavenly but in a profoundly human way. We pass through its weeks as we stroll by a succession of Christmas windows, surprised by images of ourselves superimposed on the displays, behold, as the angel of Christmas might say, this is what you really look like in everyday life.

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