Catholic Distance University

The Red Door Society

Clay Reherman

To many, the phrase “hard times in America” brings to mind stark images of the 1930s: Ecological and economic disaster, powerful storms following close upon one another, high crime, starvation, despair, societal depression in every imaginable degree and mode. We may thank Mr. Steinbeck for this mental association: His painting of the “dust bowl days” in The Grapes of Wrath has imbued three generations with a notion of what it’s like when a nation is visited by the Angel of Death.

1934

Most Americans in those days had an idea that a sentence of doom could be carried out from above, below, or somewhere. While the 1920s had been exceedingly prosperous and “liberating” to most classes of people, there was still an honest fear of God left in this country: Like a thief in the night, the Angel of Death snuck up on folks, and even a proud craftsman like Garv Atwood could be left holding the bag.
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I Am

Terence Siren

I am an Artist
A Poet
A Prodigal Preacher
A Wanderer
A Pilgrim
I am a Truth Seeker

A Hopeful Romantic
A Lover
A Fool
Ever toeing the line between Foolish and Cool

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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...]

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Fragments, for Mary

Ben LaVergne

I. What woman could bind
Death’s bane to flesh,
What mother dare
Her God to mortal;
What womb would bear
That mortal fare?

II. The purging flame
Burns in the bush–
The fertile virgin
Child-bearing,
In consummation
Unconsuming. [Read more...]

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Daylight

J.B. Toner

The sun!  A million bird-hymns split the skies,
    His crimson halo sanctifies the peaks,
    Flings green on grass and blue on babbling creeks,
The violets open dew-bespangled eyes,
The shadows spring away in swift surprise,
    Bright clouds rush outwards, galleons white and sleek,
    A merry day his golden beams bespeak,
And azure oriflammes proclaim his rise. [Read more...]

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The Agony

Joseph Prever

In the hour of darkness the moon had hid her face,
And all the world was sleeping, save one who wept.
He left the meager comfort of well-meaning friends,
Charging them, Watch; and into the garden crept,

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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.

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The Dove Looked In

Matthew Alderman

Vita Nuova, xxvi

I saw faded beauty once
Pass me by in a gallery of stippled Seurats:
Maybe she was an English teacher,
A soccer mom in homely new white sneakers,
A nurse in jade-green scrubs.
You would have never called her pretty,
Nor stopped, admiringly at a distance,
Draping a chaste lechery in classical garb with the wan
Affectations of swooning lovers,
And bothered to notice her. [Read more...]

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The Egg

Matthew Crane

There is an oblong thing.
Its white by candle yellow.

Inside, unseen innards
can goosh and grow and mix
a dash life- color, and down
in sticky strands to fluff
and feather flower forth,
a chicken, not an omelet [Read more...]

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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...]

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