Out of the Frying Pan and into the Friar

Jacob Bacharach

I’ve always had a soft spot for Catholicism, as I do for all things Roman. I love its unrepentant, if cheerfully unacknowledged, paganism; I like that it manages to be both particular and ecumenical, with a vast canonical universe, unlike so much dour Protestantism, which has only the Bible and manages to treat all of the Book’s magnificent poetry like an instruction diagram for the assembly of a confusing piece of Scandinavian furniture. I like its camp and its kitsch. And like a lot of folks these days, I like this Pope. Seems like a decent fellow, although the obsequious puffery of his transcendent moral authority by non-Catholic liberal types every time he says anything to broadly accords with their political preferences strikes me as supremely odd—not that there’s anything wrong with proposing a useful political alliance, but rather because it so frequently and quickly shades into an argument from…

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Gender in Sport, Redux

The Axis of Ego

Canada WWCI’ve seen several spot-on, anti-FIFA commentaries in recent weeks, but this one has nothing to do with corruption.

Rather than focus on the scandal that has rocked FIFA, Kate Fagan’s espnW piece took soccer’s governing body to task over “gender verification” testing: Specifically, the screening tests used to determine the level of testosterone in female athletes.  The International Olympic Committee has similar rules in place.

Fagan’s major issue with the policy is that women, but not men, face certain consequences of such regulations.  Although men are tested, so long as they can show abnormalities are natural (and not the result of, say, performance-enhancing drug usage), they are permitted to compete.  On the other hand, athletes competing in women’s sports may be banned, even if—and usually when—they are shown to have abnormal levels of testosterone that result from natural physiology.

There are two issues in play, both of which require mental…

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