The Catholic Outpost’s Top 10 Articles of 2016!

In honor of the impending new year, here at the Outpost we decided to gather together our most shared and favorite articles from 2016.  We hope you enjoy, and Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Top 5 Most Shared Articles of 2016

 

1.  Modern Science and Catholic Faith: Correcting a False Narrative by Jordan Haddad

Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars most recent convention in Washington D.C., which is near where my family and I currently live.  I knew going into it that I could rightly anticipate a good time and a lively discussion with some of America’s most distinguished Catholic thinkers, who themselves are actively faithful to the Church’s Magisterium.

What distinguished this year’s convention from years past is the focus on the relationship between Catholic faith and the sciences.  Thus, there were some heavy hitters from such diverse fields as biology, chemistry, embryology, physics, psychology, philosophy, history, and theology.  Noted speakers included Dr.’s Stephen Barr, William Carroll, Chris Baglow, Phillip Sloan, Michael Hanby, and many others.  Each talk was interesting in its own way, but the talks that stood out to me the most were that of Dr. Stephen Barr and Dr. Chris Baglow (who is a former professor of mine from Notre Dame Seminary)…

 

 2.  Benidicamus Domino: The Reform of the Catholic Bachelor Party by Fr. Brad Doyle

Recently I was asked by an acquaintance, “What are you up to this weekend?” “A friends bachelor party,” was my simple response. His face said everything. His eyes were squinted, head turned to the side, as if to ask, “Why in the world would the priest be a part of the bachelor party?”

There are many reasons why some would share this sentiment. Some have to do with a false understanding of the priesthood, but mostly it is a false understanding of the bachelor party and its place in a man’s preparation for marriage. Isn’t it unfortunate that the majority of bachelor parties today do not help a man grow or aid his mission to give himself as a free gift to his bride?…

 

3.  Amazon Ad gives us *all the feels* and is exactly what we need right now by Luke Arredondo

 In the midst of Thursday Night Football, I was caught totally off-guard by an Amazon Prime commercial.  Yet, even with Black Friday and Cyber Monday closing in on us, this commercial had nothing to do with the holiday shopping season.  Instead, it was a refreshing look at how it is possible to both have serious disagreements with someone, and also to not merely co-exist with them, but to get to know them.  It was, if you want to think of it this way…a vision of what it is that has made America great, and what it might look like to make us great again.

I’m sure everyone’s gotten a bit tired of the division on social media lately, so just check this video out and enjoy the refreshing change of pace…

 

4. Our Lady of Guadalupe: Learning How to Dance from My Mama by Sarah Denny

I’m a New Orleans girl, and I really love to dance.  I love swing dancing, line dancing, second lining, you name it.  Just the other day, I was trying to explain the way we second line to some friends of mine who are not from New Orleans.  After struggling to explain, I realized I really couldn’t do it with words. I was quickly reminded that the best way for me to explain to someone how to second line is by showing them.

Today, December 12, is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While I could write a post about the miraculous qualities of the image or Juan Diego’s tilma, I feel led to share something a bit different.

Perhaps the most striking feature to me about Our Lady of Guadalupe is that you see in the image that her posture is one of prayerful dancing. Her left knee is slightly bent and raised.  It is said that those in Mexico at the time would have recognized her posture not just as any dance but as part of a victory dance

 

 

5.  The Stars Hollow 30-Something Gang and the Body of Christ by Katie Austin

 As the turkey and stuffing comas spread across America Thanksgiving night, visions of pop tarts, coffee, and Friday Night Dinners danced in the heads of millions of women… after nine years the Netflix Gilmore Girls reboot was finally happening.

Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Gilmore Girls originally aired from 2000-2007, creating a phenomenon that has been passed on to younger generations through the wonders of binge-watching services (older fans can recall having to rent the DVD sets from Blockbuster). The original series follows the lives of Lorelai Gilmore and the daughter she had at 16, Rory; it begins when Rory is in high school. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life picks up nine-years later in 2016…

 

Top 5 Favorite Articles by our Contributors of 2016

 

1.  Finding the Gospel in the Sandlot by Luke Arredondo

 One of the great beauties of Catholic theology is its insistence that almost anything can become a way of evangelization.  This is strikingly true in film, though it may not be so apparent to us today.  Since we’re in the midst of the 4th of July weekend, I thought it would be a good time to show how one can find Christ in unexpected places like the 1993 baseball/Ameircana classic The Sandlot.

Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez as a Christ-Figure
Anyone who has seen the film knows that not only is Benny the most skilled player on the team, but he is also the leader, both on and off the field.  Benny’s leadership extends well beyond the sphere (or should I say “diamond”) of baseball.  At many points, he instructs, when necessary, on moral issues, particularly when it comes to exemplifying the theological virtue of charity.

Here are a few examples:

  • Benny clearly leads the practices and all of the team’s baseball decisions are either explicitly or implicitly in his hands.
  • Benny reaches out to the newcomer, the “Gentile” Scotty Smalls, by inviting him back to the field after his first less-than-triumphant outing to the Sandlot.
  • He points out to several of the team’s players that they have faults of their own, but they are still allowed to play the game.  For instance, Alan “Yeah Yeah” McClennan runs like a duck, but he still gets to play…

 

2.  St. Lucy, Patroness of the Smartphone Generation by Katie Austin

Cartoon by Liam Walsh for The New Yorker

Another Gaudete weekday, another feast day! Today we celebrate St. Lucy, virgin and martyr. This incredible young woman has many a legend surrounding her torture and death, most famously captured in images of her holding her eyeballs on a plate or in a cup. St. Lucy is said to have had her eyes gouged out, but upon her burial, they were miraculously restored making her the Patron Saint of the Blind.

Blindness is a theme we hear a lot about in Scripture. Isaac went blind in his old age, which led to a hilarious birthright bait-and-switch in Genesis 27.  Both Tobit and Paul were struck blind, however the causes were very different: bird droppings (Tob 2:10) vs. having a vision of Christ (Acts 9:8). Best known to us are the numerous blind people that Jesus keeps running into (or as I would imagine, kept running into him) in all four gospels (Matthew 9:27-31; 20:29-34, Mark 8:22-25; Luke 18:35-43; John 9)…

 

3.  The Art of Feasting by Fr. Alexander Albert

Just look at how unnecessary it all seems.  An obscure family in a small town ran out of wine, so why the big fuss?  And it doesn’t even fit into the original plan, why change course now?  Then, when Jesus does acquiesce, why go so far?  Six thirty-gallon jars?  As much as 180 gallons of wine!  And then, to top it all off, he makes it into really good wine.  Doesn’t that seem a bit irrational?  Isn’t it a tad unnecessary to go so over the top?

But, once you’ve entered into that kind of divine logic of love, what seemed irrational becomes supremely rational.  The madness of a God who chooses to die for fickle mortal creatures becomes pre-eminently sane because our limited and human view of the world is divinized and we begin to think with God that we ought to love, to be united with, to give, and to give abundantly…

 

4.  What I Learned at MD Anderson (Part I): The Power of Presence and Wrestling God by Sarah Denny

My heart broke a few times today, especially as I kept having to look reality in the eyes and admit the Truth: sometimes God gives us too much to handle.

I was sitting there in a room full of people, half of them patients and half of them caregivers. I had just walked through multiple hallways and corridors to reach this one little room where my older brother digitally checked in so that he could be put in line for his routine bloodwork.

As I sat there “reading” my book, I knew that I could barely comprehend the words on the page because my head was swimming.

…I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry…for a long time…

 

5.  The Jim Gaffigan Show ends & how to live your personal vocation by Jordan Haddad

And, so, it is with great sorrow of heart that I received the news of the end of The Jim Gaffigan Show.  But, the more I thought about and re-read their announcement, the more I realized that the ending of their show has actually taught me more than perhaps any one episode did or ever could.  The lesson that they taught me, one which I would do well to never forget, is that of rightly discerning one’s personal vocation, one’s personal calling, from God to love him and our neighbor in a way that is particular to each of us.

Perhaps one of the most confusing and frustrating (though it need not be) aspects of the Christian life is the discernment of what God has called each of us to do.  I know that I myself have loss many an hour of sleep debating back and forth about whether I should become a priest or get married, go to this or that college, work at this or that job, eat at this or that Mexican restaurant (obligatory food joke in honor of the Gaffigan’s), and all the while I would often become spiritually stunted, unable to make a concrete decision for fear of missing out on God’s will for me.  The Christian life lived in this way can be utterly exhausting and burdensome…

Posted by JordanHaddad

Jordan Haddad earned his B.A. in Philosophy and B.S. in Psychology from Louisiana State University, his M.A. in Theological Studies from Notre Dame Seminary, and is currently enrolled as a doctoral student of Systematic Theology at The Catholic University of America. He is a Melkite Catholic from Houma, LA, and is most interested in Systematic Theology, the Second Vatican Council, Catholic Social Teaching, and the thought and writings of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Jordan lives a joyful life with his wife and their daughter in the Washington, D.C., area.