Category Archives: Catholics & Catholicism

From “Tell It Slant”: Fighting for A Future

Adapted from Tell It Slant, a biography of Chuck Fager, by Emma Lapsansky-Werner.


St. Paul, Kansas, 1939

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
                           — Yogi Berra

Plowing to a fork in the road.

This story begins with a young man coming to a fork, pushing a mule-drawn plow down a long furrow on a small farm in southeastern Kansas, in summer heat, circa 1939.

The young man was Callistus Fager, known as “Click” to his friends. On that day, like so many, Kansas farming would have been sweaty, dusty work. But that work was about all that was available. Kansas, like much of the United States, was mired in what is now called the “Great” Depression.

Even many years later, Click Fager remembered the unfamiliar noise he’d heard behind the plow, that summer day: a buzzing that wasn’t a farm sound. Continue reading From “Tell It Slant”: Fighting for A Future

A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

Emma Lapsansky-Werner and Chuck Fager at the Quaker History Roundtable, summer of 2017

Continue reading A New Book: A Quaker’s Life in Our “Interesting,” Tumultuous Times

In Baltimore, It’s Not Only a Bridge That Collapsed: The Catholic Church Has Too

How have the mighty fallen!

When I was a kid being raised Catholic, the handbook for my “spiritual formation” (aka indoctrination) was arranged as a series of questions and answers. In early editions, there were as many as 1400 questions.

I didn’t actually read much of it, but listened to and repeated more, and still remember several of the opening queries. Like these (any readers who recognize them, repeat in unison):

Q. Who made me?
A. God made me.

Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls. we must worship God by faith. hope. and charity: that is. we must believe in Him. hope in Him. and love Him with all our heart.

Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

Well, God was pretty busy in those days, what with the Cold War on one hand, and delaying the next hot one on the other, plus there were the likes of teenage me, on the loose and in church, edging toward the door.

Then–even scarier — came the drift in American federal courts toward unleashing an apocalyptic, worse-(judging by the attention God’s spokesmen gave it)-than-World-War-Three plague on the country, namely by legalizing  “artificial” birth control. So He spoke to us kids through this book of the church, in the hands of lay teachers, or priests and nuns, and IIRC my mother as well. Continue reading In Baltimore, It’s Not Only a Bridge That Collapsed: The Catholic Church Has Too

Early Abortion & The Priest With Two Stethoscopes

Kansas & Wyoming, 1958-1960

St. Josephs Military Academy, Hays Kansas, late 1950s.

In those old days of the  (pre-Vatican Two) Catholic Church, they used to say of people like me that we had “lost our faith.”

In my case, it wasn’t quite true. That year, 1958,  as I turned sixteen,I didn’t lose my faith.  Instead, I discovered I just didn’t have any.

I was a junior at a Catholic boarding school, St. Joseph’s  Military Academy, in western Kansas. How I got there (my family was then on an Air Force  base in Puerto Rico), and what led me to realize my faithlessness are stories told in another place (for the curious, details are in the memoir, Meetings).

Continue reading Early Abortion & The Priest With Two Stethoscopes

Big Anti-Abortion Squabble Dogs Campaign in Ohio

AP News: Anti-abortion groups are at odds on strategies ahead of Ohio vote. It could be a preview for 2024

Protect? Women? Ohio? Anti-abortion logo.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Abortion opponents in Ohio are at odds not only over how to frame their opposition to a reproductive rights initiative on the states November ballot but also over their longerterm goals on how severely they would restrict the procedure.

Continue reading Big Anti-Abortion Squabble Dogs Campaign in Ohio