Dormition of the Mother of God

  1. The Gospel is a year-long song, sung by the Churh
  2. When anti-abortion ≠ pro-life
  3. When lawyers just can’t help themselves.
  4. The Title of the Blog


The Virgin Mary is among those theological matters that many Christians find “unnecessary.” She is not only unnecessary to them, but positively bothersome and considered a possible distraction from Christ Himself. “You’re worshipping Mary,” goes the charge. And the option then becomes to leave her out (other than when she is needed to play her annual part for the Christmas pageant).

But leaving Mary out is not an option for the Christian gospel.

We now have Christianity by the numbers:

And though John 3:16 is a wonderful verse, it is not “the gospel in a nutshell.” It is a bumper sticker and now a cliché.

[T]he gospel is a song sung by the Church. In general, it takes an entire year for the song to be completed. Every verse must be heard. And though there are summaries offered in every service, the whole requires the sustained effort of the worshipping community and the extension of our hearts and minds over a long course of time. Tomorrow, in the Feast of the Dormition, a single verse will be sung. It is the song of the death of Mary, the Virgin who as a young woman said yes to God and became the Mother of all living, the one from whom the eternal Word of God would take flesh and become man.

(Fr. Stephen Freeman, emphasis added) I added that emphasis to a truth that is very dear to me. I’m privileged as Cantor to sing most of that year-long song, and after almost 17 repetitions, I’m starting to get it.


I have become increasingly convinced, at the gut level and over a decade-plus, that a great many putative pro-lifers are, at best (and assuming they’re not being hypocritical), anti-abortion.

The main things I cannot square up with “pro-life” are their support of  capital punishment even after the good work of the Innocence Project and, increasingly, support for foolhardy wars of choice – wars that will predictably kill innocent civilians and bring back some of our own obedient soldiers in boxes.

Then there are subtler signs:

[A] pro-life website, Life News, posted a commentary speculating that guilt over a girlfriend’s abortion decades ago may have driven Williams to hang himself. The site took the article down, presumably after heavy criticism, but TPM has quotes here. Catholic writer Mark Shea observed on his Facebook page:

How to make people who are sitting on the fence about the prolife movement put “1. Avoid prolife people like the plague” at the top of their “To Do” list. What is LifeNews *thinking* to run this ghoulish speculation just to score some points. The man is dead. Show some bleedin’ respect and don’t stand atop his corpse to heap some guilt on him in the service of your agenda. As your own philosophy should tell you, no mere political agenda, even a good one, is more important than a single human life. Reducing the death of a human being to a vehicle for furthering a political goal, no matter how good, does violence to the human person. Human beings are not means to some other end–including prolife agenda ends.

(Rod Dreher) Yup. Ideological exploitation of tragedy for the anti-abortion cause is not really very pro-life, is it?

Of course, I never expected better than crude caricature and spin from Rush Limbaugh, who says liberalism killed Williams.

For my money, Limbaugh peaked when he described fans of Mikhail Gorbachev as experiences “Gorbasm” over him. I kind of liked “Al Gore” all run together and pronounced ominously like “Igor” in a monster movie, too. It’s all been insufferable since, or so it has been when, every few years, I happen to catch some of it.


 Let it never be said that lawyers are humorless. Well, maybe Mr. Cox, Esq. but not Mr. Bailey, Esq.


If, God forbid, you’re as dense as I was, and are offended by the phrase Mother of God, let me enlighten you:

  1. Jesus is God.
  2. Mary is Jesus Mother.
  3. Therefore, Mary is Mother of _____.

Can you fill in that blank? Do you think it’s a trifle that this young Jewish girl said fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, thus signing on to a deal she could barely begin to apprehend, but which started with smirks and rumors? Do you think that her Son would treat her less solicitously than He treated Enoch and Elijah? (Not that such logic is how the feast began, 18 centuries ago or more. It began because the Church remembered what the Apostles had said about her repose.)

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.