Chapel of Relics

Matthew Alderman

The glacial white paint comes peeling away
From the monumental doorframe,
Peeling away in great strips like some fabulous
Undiagnosed disease:
And the columns all around are cold and mottled,
Pale and dead and grey.
I stand at the grate,
Looking in through holy prison-bars
Rich with swirling ironwork arabesques
Moorish Palermo turned baroque. [Read more…]

A Song for Simeon

Brandon Zimmerman

Lord, the cold is creeping in the narrow alleyways
making barren and inhospitable the old refuges
I feel it in my bones—this may be my last winter
Long have I shuffled through these broken streets [Read more...]

Emilia’s Playhouse

Noel Bava, SJ

There are things that despite the passage of time tenaciously remain unchanged. And love like a lingering wound, though it may heal, leaves a scar which never fades, never wanes.

I first met Emilia when my mother asked me to collect from her mother, Mrs. Rivera, the fifty pesos she owed her. That was actually the third time that I was dispatched by my mother to their house, which to me looked more like a chicken coop painted white. At first, I did not like the idea of wasting half an hour going there and back. I wanted to be with my cousins flying kites in the fields, but Papa’s thick leather belt nudged me into obeying my mother’s request.

This third time visiting Mrs. Rivera’s house was like the first two: no one answered my knocking. But since the front door was left ajar, I gave in to the temptation of peering in to take a look inside their little shanty. The house was bare and very dark with unwashed dishes lying all over the place. A faded picture of Our Lady was the sole adornment inside. I noticed a little girl leaving from the back door. [Read more…]

An Answer

J.B. Toner

Well, answer me, for God’s love, Christ, speak up—
    Explain Your perfect Paradise to me,
    Where Clare and Francis sup (quite possibly)
With those who poison your once-sacred cup:
With rapists, killers, child-molesting priests,
    Where Stalin (maybe, through Your holy grace)
    Meets tortured gulag inmates face to face
And sings hosannahs at the endless feast!
  Yes, You forgive us, Lord, I know that part—
    But we’re just human, Jesus, You forget,
      So how can we forgive what we have done?
  — Oh, wait. . .  Your human mother’s human heart
    Was pierced by me, and each of us, and yet
      She loves me still, the killer of her Son.

Mingled with Silver

Robert J. O’Brien, III

The red of her hair is mingled with silver,
And her I’ll not share, no more than a delver
Of jewels in ground will talk in the air
Of the treasure he’s found, when others are there.
[Read more…]

A Call to Prayer

Joy Wambeke

“For the poor souls in purgatory,” I heard my father mutter through clenched teeth. Through the shadows of the upstairs hallway, I could often see my father in my parents’ darkened room, his hands wound around his foot or grasping his knee. He always got ready for work at Sydney harbor in the dark so as not to wake mum. It was his habit to offer the inevitable bumps into furniture for the dead not yet in heaven.

It would be fair to say that mum and my father believed in God. [Read more…]

The Moral and Legal Obligations of Catholic Judges

Frank-Paul Sampino

On Thursday, August 26, 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Richard C. Casey issued a ruling striking down the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Legally speaking, it was an unremarkable and entirely expected result. Four years earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled in Stenberg v. Carhart that a similar Nebraska state ban was unconstitutional. But Judge Casey’s opinion attracted attention for different reasons – not least of which is that he is a devout Catholic. [Read more…]