April 25, 2017

Author Archive | Simcha Fisher


Simcha Fisher: Hey faithful Catholics, why are YOU here?

Last week’s post brought about a serious misunderstanding that I’d like to clear up. I imagined being a “Christmas and Easter” Catholic, who only attends Mass under duress or out of custom, and challenged these folks to think about why all the “regulars” keep turning up. It is not, as occasional visitors might imagine, because […]

Fr Rene Tacastacas SJ celebrating the liturgy with servers, Easter Vigil 2014, Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, the Philippines. Photo: Br Jeffrey Pioquinto SJ, cc by 2.0

Simcha Fisher: Hey you! What are you doing here?

Easter! There you are at Mass. So … Why are you at Mass? I’m talking to you, the reader who hasn’t set foot inside a church since Christmas, or maybe since last Easter, or maybe longer. Maybe decades longer. Maybe the last time you were here, you were so young, you couldn’t even read or […]

PHOTO: Jon Rawlinson, cc 2.0

Simcha Fisher: We can’t just decide to stop being afraid, but we can manage it

Last week, the internet flipped out over a scary but fishy story about something that probably didn’t even happen. The details don’t matter. The question is, How can we avoid freaking out, especially when at least half of our brain recognises that there’s no good reason to be afraid? Most of us realise we’re not supposed to […]


Simcha Fisher: Bless me, father, for I have become neurally adapted

Does lying become easier with practice? Common sense and experience say, “Of course,” and now some neuroscience researchers agree with that assessment. In Aeon, Neil Garrett of Princeton describes how he and three other researchers tested a group of people to see whether and how they could be acclimated to dishonesty. Here’s how the study […]


Simcha Fisher: Six sermons I could do without

In Giovanni Guareschi’s celebrated series of stories about a faithful but very human priest, the beleaguered Don Camillo once pitifully prays to Christ to help him blow his nose in a way that won’t be offensive to the congregation. He knows that he is under more public scrutiny than any other man in the village, and no […]

Marija Pavlovic, left, prays in St James Church in Medjugorje, in what was then Yugoslavia, in this 15 August 1987, file photo. Pavlovic is one of six young people who had reported visions of Mary at Medjugorje as early as 1981. PHOTO: CNS

Simcha Fisher: The Lady of Medjugorje is not your mother

This morning, we had a blizzard. I lay blissfully in bed and heard my little girls clomp past the bedroom door in their heavy boots. “Don’t forget to cover your ears,” said one to the other. “Why?” the second one asked. “Mama always says to,” the first one replied. “So our ears don’t get cold.” […]


Simcha Fisher: God is in the crumbs

The time: A Friday in Lent. The place: A refrigerator in a Catholic home. The trivial little thing I want to talk about today: An American corn dog — meat on a stick, dipped in batter and deep fried — with all the batter carefully nibbled away, leaving a sheepish-looking hunk of red meat, denuded […]


Simcha Fisher: The X-Plan for salvation, or how to get your kids to take ownership

One family with teenaged kids has instituted what they call “The X-Plan.” If any of the kids finds himself in a sticky situation, and he needs to be rescued, he texts an “x” to their parents or older siblings. The parent or sibling, upon receiving the “x” text, calls the kid and says, “[S]omething’s come up and […]


Simcha Fisher: Daddy is an innocent man — an examination of conscience

Did you know that it’s almost Lent? Huh, huh, didja? Well, it’s not. But it’s almost almost Lent, and the liturgical year is good for two things: sneaking up on us like a thief in the parking lot, or giving us time to think about getting ready to prepare for the time of preparation. And this, my […]


Simcha Fisher: Why do we hold onto grudges?

Do you want to change your behaviour? Then you have to understand why you behave the way you do. I found some excellent relationship advice in an unlikely place: Cracked magazine, a secular humour site that mixes nuts-and-bolts, no-nonsense essays in with a lot of crass and salty entertainment. This particular essay offered five tips […]


Simcha Fisher: the Samurai martyr and the sex abuse scandal

On 7 February, the 16th-century Japanese samurai and martyr Takayama Ukon was beatified. He’s called a martyr even though he wasn’t directly executed, because his death came as a result of his exile and sacrifice for his faith. Takayama, who converted to Catholicism at age twelve along with his father, was not only a member […]

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Simcha Fisher: I so sorry

My daughter, who is almost two, picks up new words every day; but she also parrots back full phrases she hears people say. This is adorable when she shouts, “HI! NICE-A SEE YOU ‘GAIN!” when I come out of the bathroom; less adorable when she growls, “I gonna step on you” as I’m just waking […]