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Grace on the Margins

Brooklyn tragedy reminds us of importance of ritual, community


Some of those living outside of the New York metro area may have read about last week’s shocking murder of Leiby Kletzky, an eight-year old boy from an Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn.

Kletzky disappeared while walking home from day camp. It was his first time walking alone and he took a wrong turn. He stopped to ask a man for directions. Cameras show the man bringing Kletzky into his car. It was the last time Kletzky was seen alive.

Decade after defiance, Jeannine Gramick as hopeful as ever


It’s been more than a decade since the Vatican attempted to silence Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent from their work with gay and lesbian Catholics.

Though Nugent agreed in 2000 to abide by the church’s prohibition on speaking and writing about homosexuality, Gramick politely declined. In a statement that has become a mantra for many Catholics who seek reforms in the institutional church, Gramick responded, “I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression.”

Catholic hierarchs lose marriage battle to Catholic laity


It took nearly two days for Archbishop Timothy Dolan to comment on the historic passage of legislation allowing gays and lesbian to marry in the state of New York.

He waited until he had concluded Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s on the Feast of Corpus Christi. As chance, or the Holy Spirit, would have it, this was also Gay Pride Sunday.

What my father, who seldom called, taught me about my calling


I can’t remember a time when I looked forward to Father’s Day. For most of my life, I had the dubious distinction of being the child of what some refer to as a “deadbeat dad.”

Deadbeat dads were those fathers who failed to pay child support, and who often ran off to another state (Florida and Arizona seemed particularly popular) and didn’t keep in contact with their kids.

Oprah and the triumph of the therapeutic


Later today, Oprah Winfrey will present the final episode of the epic 25-year run of her talk show. Whether you belong to the Oprah or the "Just Say Noprah" camp, it is difficult to deny that, for millions, Winfrey's program has been much more than a talk show. The devotion that she has inspired goes beyond her massive car and gift giveaways and her ability to attract the most powerful celebrities to her stage.

Tainted Love: Sojourners rejects LGBT ad


Earlier this week, Jim Wallis and Sojourners magazine, upheld by many as the great, white, progressive hope of Protestant Evangelicalism, found themselves on the defense after rejecting a video ad from an organization called Believe Out Loud.

The ad, which can be seen on Youtube, shows a young boy walking up the aisle of a church flanked by two adults. As the threesome moves past the pews, children point at them and adults give them disapproving stares. When they reach the front of the church, the camera raises to show that the boy is accompanied by his two mothers. A clergyman looks at them from the sanctuary and announces, “Welcome, everyone.”

We may need a hero more than we need a saint


John Paul II’s imminent beatification has led both secular and religious media to make an old idea like sainthood new again.

For most of us, saints seem otherworldly, far removed from ordinary existence. We get images of a perfect, selfless saint or an ecstatic, medieval mystic with an oozing stigmata. They are angelic beings, far easier to pray to than relate to. It’s no wonder that Dorothy Day famously quipped “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”


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