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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

September 2008 Archives

“Please cure me, God. P.S. Our mortgage is subprime.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The ridiculously funny and smart P.J. O’Rourke has just been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, and has penned an honest but irreverent essay about it, including some thoughts on what he’s praying for: I can’t be the only […]

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Little Joey Ratzinger: “A lively child, but not an earthquake”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you want to know what Pope Benedict was like as a little boy, just ask his brother. So, someone did. And a rare and revealing interview with the other Ratzinger priest has now been published: In an interview by […]

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A radical question: “Do you want to be a bishop? Or a priest?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s something to get the wheels turning. Take a gander at this provocative post by Rod Dreher, pondering these words by Saul Alinsky, a radical who had a profound effect on Barack Obama: Each year, for a number of years, […]

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And let’s not forget that blog, “The Bacon’s Bench”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This piece in NCR about Catholic blogs was pretty interesting, until I started counting the embarrassing mistakes. (Memo to Amy Welborn: call your lawyer). But James Martin sums up the Catholic blogosphere succinctly: “At their best, Catholic blogs serve the […]

A modest proposal for the pope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the world economy on the brink of calamity, if not collapse, here’s an idea. It comes to us from Austin Ivereigh at the blog of America magazine, In All Things: The task: to recover the connection between money and […]

Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…or at least, its legendary former President, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. The Wall Street Journal sat down for a chat with this 91-year-old icon recently. A snip: WSJ: In your day, the Church produced figures such as Bishop Sheen and Father […]

Promoting “respect, dialogue, friendship” in the media

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican has issued its theme for the upcoming World Communications Day — traditionally marked on the Sunday before Pentecost, when the era of Christian communication began. From Zenit: The theme chosen by Benedict XVI for World Communications Day reflects […]

What the Italians taught the American Church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you want a peek at how the Catholic Church in America is dealing with the issue of immigration, look no further than this interesting item from Fordham University. It explains how — as with so many things — we […]

New deacons in Indiana: “The journey is just starting”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A newly ordained deacon sent along this news: Indiana has five new deacons (he’s one of them), and there’s a full write up (and lots of pictures) in the Catholic Moment newspaper: In a celebration that blended prayer, music, pageantry […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston embraces a parishioner at St. Patrick’s Church, which was seriously damaged by Hurricane Ike. You can read about the cardinals visit in the Houston Chronicle. Photo by Eric Kayne, Houston Chronicle.

“God cannot be left in the pew”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s some timely and thought-provoking advice on faith and politics, from the place that reminds us all that we are summoned to be instruments of peace. This comes from Zenit: Catholics need to wake up when it comes to politics, […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“We must feel small before God. I am not ashamed to feel like a child before his mother; one believes in one’s mother; I believe in the Lord, in what he has revealed to me.” — Pope John Paul I, […]

“I don’t have room for all the Catholics who want to be here”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the Right In My Own Backyard Desk, we have this interesting report on the only all-boys Catholic high school on Long Island: Unlike most Roman Catholic schools in the New York area, which embrace students regardless of their religion, […]

A Sunday without priests

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Alaska comes news — for once — about something other than Sarah Palin. It’s a dramatic move by parishes to deal with the priest shortage. This, from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Dubbed “Priestless Sunday,” next weekend will find parish […]

10 things to remember about voting — and the last one is most important

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Deacon Scott Dodge links to a timely piece in America, which includes a list of 10 things to remember this fall when it comes to voting and the Catholic conscience. Drumroll, please: 1. Not all issues are equal- Life issues […]

Prayer’s power on the frontal lobes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What effect does prayer have on the brain? Michael Gerson at the Washington Post has an intriguing take: Elin Danien quietly listens to a meditation tape, eyes closed, as the radioactive tracer is injected into her IV, freezing a picture […]

Homily for September 28, 2008: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In his book, “The Waters of Siloe,” Thomas Merton tells the true story of a French businessman in the months after World War II. The businessman had been born and raised Catholic. But he’d forgotten about his faith has he […]

“The gift of dynamic, zealous preaching is rarely given to the lazy”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What’s it like for a priest from Pennsylvania to become an archbishop in Kentucky? John Allen has a pretty interesting interview with Louisville’s Joseph Kurtz, in which he talks about southern Catholicism, the importance of vocations — he’s a real […]

Going for The Gold

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Many of us are familiar with the annual Red Mass, celebrated for lawyers, or the Blue Mass, for law enforcement officers. Now comes word of another color added to the liturgical rainbow: a Gold Mass. From the Catholic Standard in […]

Tony Blair on faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the world’s most famous converts spoke recently about his faith and the importance of understanding other religions. Here’s the London Telegraph: Tony Blair spoke candidly of how studying other religions had strengthened his Catholic faith as he took […]

A prayer for our times

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the election galloping closer, Rocco has posted several worthy prayers for the days ahead, including one invoking the Man for All Seasons, St. Thomas Moore, patron of “statesmen, politicians, judges and lawyers”: Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and […]

On clergy sex abuse: “What I said to the reporter was probably not what she expected”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A survivor of clergy sex abuse has offered some provocative thoughts on where he believes the real danger lies today. From Florida Catholic: A couple of months ago, a reporter from a local paper called to get my opinion on […]

The best part of waking up

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For some months now, The Anchoress has been extolling the virtues of Mystic Monk Coffee — she sent some to me for a birthday present, and I have to agree: it’s superb! — but now it looks like the monks […]

Flash: Katie Couric didn’t interview Sarah Palin after all

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It was Tina Fey. It had to be. That’s the only explanation. As one blogger put it: “Please, please make it stop.”

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I didn’t know you were Catholic.” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, during a White House meeting, September 25, 2008. Paulson had reportedly gotten down on one knee to beg Pelosi and other Democrats to keep […]

Faith, values and the economy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How is the economic news playing across the religious spectrum? The Associated Press takes a gander this morning: In Parma, Ohio, an organizer for Barack Obama arrived at a recent “Catholic house party,” a campaign-sponsored chat about values, prepared to […]

“Indiana wants me, Lord I can’t go back there…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That familiar line from a song from my youth ran through my head as I started to read this absorbing dissection (or vivisection?) of Fort Wayne, by Amy Welborn. She’s left the town, and moved south, and spends many paragraphs […]

A Canterbury Tale: Williams slammed for Lourdes homily

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Every preacher knows you can’t please everyone. And the Archbishop of Canterbury has just displeased a vocal group of Protestants with his homily yesterday at Lourdes. From CNS: Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, has come under fire for […]

Could England again have a Catholic king?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In what could be a historic development, Great Britain may be poised to make dramatic changes to the most famous monarchy on earth. From AFP: The British government is drawing up plans to end a 300-year-old exclusion of Catholics from […]

“Happy porn-writing Sodomite” removed as lector from church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This sort of news doesn’t often make national headlines — but it’s generating a lot of ink, and I can’t help but wonder if a predictable outcry will follow. Here’s how the Boston Globe is reporting it: St. Anthony Shrine […]

More Catholic voting guides

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Earlier this month, I posted some links to Catholic voting guides. More have now joined the fray. Catholic Digest is offering a comprehensive overview for Catholics. And Priests for Life has a guide from a pro-life perspective. Check ‘em out […]

Saudi leader: “Mickey Mouse is one of Satan’s soldiers”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Regular readers may remember that The Deacon’s Wife and Your Humble Blogger spent several days back in June at Disney World. (My account of the trip can be read right here.) So imagine my horror when I read this news: […]

Weighing “grave moral reasons” this election year

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Several days ago, I linked to a New York Times article about how the Catholic vote may be split this election year. This morning, two bishops — including my own — have responded in a Letter to the Editor: To […]

Name that tune

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I don’t know about you, but between the headlines and the plummeting value of my 401 (k), I could use a smile right about now. Hit it, gang! Enjoy. And if that’s not enough, there’s this, from the British version […]

“Money is like sex, another gift from God that is frequently misused”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the next Great Depression, a Catholic author has published a book about using money wisely. From CNA: Many in our society view money as a “necessary evil.” Instead, entrepreneur and author, Frank Hanna explains, “money is […]

St. Pio: “Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today marks the feast of St. Pio, Padre Pio — and the 40th anniversary of his death. Padre Pio has, in a remarkably short time, become one of the most popular and beloved saints in the Roman canon. Below is […]

After Ike: “Right now, all we have is each other”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Antoinette Pacini prays during Sunday mass at the Galvez Hotel, which was headed by a priest from Sacred Heart Cathedral Galveston. Photo by Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle. Galveston was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, and some of the most severely […]

What’s cooking? Ask the deacon

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I stumbled across this news story during my usual Google search this morning and thought: “They buried the lede.” A Mississippi chef who is also a deacon? That’s news! Take a look: Bill Vrazel gets a kick out of those […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Television is to blame for exactly 57 percent of America’s civic ills. I could prove it if I had the space. Television came of age at a time when Americans were becoming more mobile geographically and spiritually. We moved around […]

“You are our Rock, O Lord”: a prayer in times of economic crisis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Economically, it seems like we have walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon and peered over and watched pebbles fall noiselessly to the bottom. And all we can do is clutch a nearby railing and feel the tug of […]

Grace that is truly amazing — and unexpected

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader mentioned in the comments that you can sing “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.” Well, I found what may be the definitive version of that, from the Blind Boys of Alabama. Give a […]

I see you in a black shirt with a white collar…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Conversion stories don’t come any more compelling or unusual than this one, about a tarot reader who became a Catholic priest: My earliest memories of the occult revolve around an near obsession with the TV shows “Bewitched” and “I Dream […]

Welcome, fall

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The morns are meeker than they were,The nuts are getting brown;The berry’s cheek is plumper,The rose is out of town.The maple wears a gayer scarf,The field a scarlet gown.Lest I should be old-fashioned,I’ll put a trinket on.– Emily Dickinson

Truthiness triumphant

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Well, hearty congratulations to MCPF Stephen Colbert, for his victory tonight at the Emmy Awards. Stephen (and a few of his helper elves) won the award for Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program. (Couldn’t those dunderheads at […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

These adorable kids come courtesy of Michael Paulson at Articles of Faith, who explains the story behind the picture. Photo by Suzanne Kreiter.

Stillborn…but still born

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you read nothing else on this late summer evening, read this heart-rending account of a father remembering his first son, and hearing the news that he would be born dead: On the drive home, we were mostly silent. As […]

Almost heaven: West Virginia’s two Catholic candidates for governor

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From West Virginia comes this news of a significant piece of history being made. Two Catholics are running for governor. And their religion is being greeted with little more than a shrug. From the Huntington Herald-Dispatch: Quietly, discreetly, with practically […]

Maybe it’s because they’re praying to pass finals

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the start of the school year, a study reports that kids who attend church regularly get higher grades: In the nearly 24 years Carolyn Knight has been director of children’s ministries at the United Methodist Church […]

Homily for September 21, 2008: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The middle of last week, I exchanged e-mails with a friend of mine who has what must be the worst job in America. He works for Lehman Brothers. I hadn’t heard from him in several weeks, and given the news […]

Obama’s “Faith, Family and Values Tour”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How does Barack Obama plan to woo voters of faith? David Gibson found out: Obama’s two top lieutenants in faith outreach came out to address dozens of reporters at the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference in Washington late this afternoon […]

“More Catholic than the Pope”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That’s the bemused headline of this well-thought-out argument from the editor of First Things, Joseph Bottum. A snip: Do they think this is a debate they’re actually going to win? Do they imagine the Catholic theologians of America–from Avery Cardinal […]

How to preach with pizzazz

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Most of the people in the pews — and the people in the pulpit, for that matter — know this inconvenient truth: a lot of sermons are dull. But the guy in this story, from the Boston Globe, thinks he […]

Is this the grave of Eve?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That is what some Middle Eastern people believe, and USA TODAY published this piece from the AP on that subject a few days ago: On a sweltering August morning, a small group of Iranians crowded outside the green metal door […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“It takes a long time to construct the assembly plant, but once you get the thing built you can get the product out more quickly.” — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, commenting on the difficulties of implementing wider use of the Tridentine […]

God talks, children listen

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Los Angeles comes this story of an ingenius new tool for teaching children about scripture: a talking bible. Really. From The Tidings: Three years ago, St. Paul the Apostle parishioner Pamela Fischer woke up one morning in Los Angeles […]

Aaar! I left me eyepatch and sword at home…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I need more warning about things like this.

Palm Beach celebrates the “servants in the servant-church”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

During a recent trip to Florida, I was stunned to visit a parish that had not just one deacon, or two, but six. Yes, six. The vocation in the Sunshine State is booming. And Florida Catholic looks at this trend […]

Mass disappearance in Michigan

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One Michigan diocese is struggling with some familiar problems — less money, fewer priests, crumbling churches — and is taking steps to address those issues. First up: eliminating at least one mass at every parish. Here’s more, from the Jackson […]

Kmiec, again

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’ve updated the original post on Douglas Kmiec and communion — but here’s one canon lawyer’s take on the incident. In a nutshell, at least according to canon law, the priest was wrong.

“Does that mean Sarah Palin is Mary Magdalene?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For the answer to that and other provocative questions, check out this very amusing conversation between My Close Personal Friend (MCPF) Stephen Colbert and Dr. Peter Gomes, on the “scandalous gospel” of Jesus. Enjoy.

An Anglican heads to Lourdes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s never happened before, but the Archbishop of Canterbury is about to make a historic visit to the most popular Catholic shrine in the world. From the Daily Mail: Doctor Rowan Williams is to become the first leader of the […]

Bishops to candidates: can we talk?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The answer, for now, seems to be…maybe. From the Catholic News Agency: Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have invited both major party presidential candidates to meet with them before the election, reportedly to discuss social issues. […]

Pssssst? Want a free iPod? Read this

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Only hours after I blogged about the U.S. bishops’ voters’ guide, I stumbled across this bit of news. They’re trying to entice people to read it — and using a decidedly unorthodox (ahem) way to get attention: In an effort […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Tim would have liked this: the people, warm weather, sunshine and the Buffalo Bills are winning right now.” — Sister Lucille Socciarelli, September 15, 2008, at a memorial mass for Tim Russert sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy near Russert’s […]

What’s it feel like to be denied communion? — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Douglas Kmiec knows, and has posted this account of a day he’d rather forget: It was time for Communion. Notwithstanding the indictment of the homily, I did not think of myself as unworthy of receipt of the sacrament–at least no […]

A prayer in the morning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s another spectacular September morning in New York City. And I can’t think of a better way to start the day than with this song of praise. Morning, all.

Making your choice: Catholic voting guides

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A number of thoughtful and carefully prepared resources are now available online to help Catholics discern which lever to pull this November. The folks at EWTN have added another page to their expansive website: a link to resources on voter […]

Now I lay me down to sleep…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…but first, a little compline, courtesy The Anchoress. By this time, in a monastery, the Great Silence has commenced. A few retreatants may be in the guest house dining room, one solitary light flickering, as they pour another cup of […]

Tridentine loyalists: “They do not know the harm they are doing”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One year after the pope mandated a “freeing up” of the Latin rite, some of its most strident supporters still aren’t happy. (Anyone who has ever sat on a parish committee or attended a PTA meeting or organized a car […]

The split

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A lot of Catholic voters are finding themselves torn by the issues involved in this presidential election — abortion being only one of them — and the New York Times offers this snapshot of people in the pews in Joe […]

Help wanted

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A story out of Massachusetts offers a poignant new take on the priest shortage. Reuters reports: The sign outside St. James Church in the affluent Boston suburb of Wellesley sums up Catholicism’s deepening struggles in the United States. “Still searching […]

Remembering the father who died to save his son

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few days ago I posted the moving story of the father who died while trying to save his disabled son. Yesterday, the father’s funeral mass was celebrated, attended by some 70 priests, one of whom — another son — […]

How do you solve a problem like acedia?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the best contemporary writers on the subject of monastic spirituality is now addressing one vexxing part of the spiritual life in a new book called “Acedia & Me.” She’s Kathleen Norris, and if the name sounds familiar, you […]

Remembering Dean Hoge: “He treated others with an easy grace”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A man many American Catholics may not have heard of — but whose work shed new light on their lives and practices — passed away over the weekend. From the National Catholic Reporter: Dean Hoge, an unparalleled figure in the […]

The Church through the eyes of a young French priest

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Anticipating the pope’s visit, a French newspaper last week published this interview with a young (30) French priest, offering his thoughts on the Church in his homeland, and on his vocation: Yellow banners boasting the smiling face of Benedict XVI, […]

A Catholic megachurch?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That is exactly what this striking facility seems to represent. An article in Church Executive Magazine outlines how the building came to be, from the merger of six parishes in Wisconsin. Could this be the shape of things to come? […]

“Doubt can be a bond as powerful as certainty”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The movie version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Doubt” is opening later this fall,and the first trailer is now up for viewing. The play, set in 1964, tells the provocative story of a priest suspected of sexual impropriety, and the […]

Forever Youngstown: new deacons for Ohio

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

With the end of summer, something else is beginning: a new crop of deacons flourishing in Youngstown, Ohio. I haven’t seen any ordination pics yet — Buckeyes, send them my way! — but the Catholic Exponent had a preview a […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Did we just get the Miracle Whip account?” — ad executive in Mad Men last night, when he spots a Catholic priest in the office. Right now, there’s just no better drama on television, and the subtle but striking depiction […]

Prayer in time of sorrow

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What could be better on a Monday morning than prayer with The Anchoress? Give a listen to her lovely new podcast feature right here. My humble contribution to the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows can be found here. And […]

The answer is “Yes”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This week’s Time magazine asks the rhetorical question: Does Joe Biden have a Catholic problem? Take a look: On Wednesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops publically called out Biden for comments he made about abortion on NBCs Meet the […]

Our Lady of Sorrows: “Can the human heart refrain, from partaking in her pain?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Adriaen Isenbrant1518-35 Father,as your Son was raised on the cross,his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings.May your Church be united with Christin his suffering and deathand so come to share in his […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“What marvels surround our work in the service of God’s word! We are instruments of the Holy Spirit; God is so humble that He uses us to spread His word. We become His voice, once we have listened carefully to […]

A late call

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Statistics show that more men are entering the priesthood later in life — and now a paper in Illinois is taking a closer look at this phenomenon: In what he calls his past life, the Rev. Geoffrey Horton worked at […]

Kentucky’s other thoroughbreds: deacons

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The continuing curiosity about and interest in the diaconate has reached the hills of Kentucky. A paper in Lexington has this write-up about the latest class of deacons ordained for the Bluegrass State: Richard Abbey has a new vocation. The […]

Homily for September 14, 2008: Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

September 15th marks the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and it is traditionally when we celebrate the feast day of my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. On Sunday, the day before that feast, we’ll have a special concelebrated […]

No greater love

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I don’t think I’ve read a more gut-wrenching or soul-stirring story this week than this remarkable report from the Washington Post. I’m reminded of this Sunday’s gospel: “God so loved the world…” What will a father do for his child? […]

Oakland debuts Christ the Light Cathedral

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

California’s most eye-popping place of worship up until now has been Los Angeles’ controversial Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. Now it may have some competition. Oakland is unveiling its shiny new Cathedral of Christ the Light. And the local […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“We ourselves are brought into conversation with God by the word of God. The God who speaks in the Bible teaches us how to speak with Him ourselves. Particularly in the book of Psalms, He gives us the words with […]

Pope Benedict: “I love France”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On his way to France to visit Paris and Lourdes, the pope followed his now-familiar custom of wandering to the back of the plane to chat with the press. He spoke in French about the country he was about to […]

Deacon tweakin': Atlanta evaluates its diaconate program

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Word from Atlanta this week that their diaconate program is being re-tooled — and the Georgia Bulletin explains why and how: The Archdiocese of Atlanta has taken a proactive, leadership role in implementing the U.S. bishops’ National Directory for the […]

More on Medjugorje

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Several days ago I posted the news about serious canonical troubles facing one of the leading early proponents of Medjugorje. Now, blogger Jimmy Akin has added his two cents, with a very detailed posting that contains links to several important […]

Biden’s new bishop responds

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The new bishop of Wilmington has just weighed in with his own statement about the Bungling of Biden. He basically points to the USCCB statement on the affair and says, “Yeah, what they said.” And then he appends this little […]

TGIF

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just watch and enjoy. A cheerful wave-of-the-deacon-stole to Padre Vic. EepyBird’s Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

Morning has broken — no chants

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Yesterday, a reader commented that while he appreciated the Morning Prayer from the Office of the Dead, as chanted by The Anchoress, he was wondering if anyone did that sort of thing without the singing. (I’m sure this was not […]

Two flocks, one shepherd

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you are part of one of the dwindling number of parishes that has its very own pastor, count your blessings — and read this report for a glimpse at the future. From the Catholic Sentinel in Oregon: In the […]

Canadian Archbishop: “Non, merci”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some weeks back, I linked to a story about a Canadian Catholic organization returning an honor, because a prominent abortion rights activist was about to receive the same honor. A trend seems to be developing. First, the U.S. bishops spoke […]

“Never forget”: remnants of the World Trade Center today

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Kudos to the Salesian Fr. Steve, who has posted on his blog this reminder of what happened to a lot of the steel from the devastated World Trade Center.

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One month since the inhumane terrorist attacks that occurred in different parts of the United States of America, we again recommend to the eternal mercy of the God of our Fathers the numerous innocent victims. We ask for consolation and […]

In prayer and remembrance

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On this particular morning, sometimes prayer is the best balm. The Anchoress has risen to the occasion, and offers a podcast of Morning Prayer for the Office of the Dead. And below is a music video using images from from […]

Prayer for peace in the face of tragedy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Shield of the fearful, Source of hope,as we mourn the sudden violenceand the deaths of our brothers and sisters,show us the immense power of your goodnessand strengthen our faith.Come swiftly to our aid,and have mercy on all who call on […]

One last call

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Melissa Doi, thirty two years old, called from the 83rd floor of the south tower. When the operator answered, Doi responded, ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God,’ and continued, ‘there’s no one here yet and the floor’s completely engulfed. We are […]

The Deacon’s Bookshelf

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After getting a lot of inquiries over the last few months — including one just today — I decided to add a new sidebar feature to the blog: Books About Deacons. It’s just a start, but I hope to add […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I have never understood the standard Democratic combo of support for abortion and yet opposition to the death penalty. Surely it is the guilty rather than the innocent who deserve execution?” — Democrat Camille Paglia, rip-roaringly good, on the subject […]

Wow. I’m so excited, I think I may need to change my diaper.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Today, when nobody was looking, The Deacon’s Bench clocked visitor number 500,000. I did a little Googling and found that’s almost the population of Las Vegas. Wow. Thank you all for making that possible — and for keeping this little […]

“I am a witness to and the beneficiary of God’s love for all of us”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Those remarkable words come from the pen of Joe Eszterhas, a man who previously used that pen to write movies like “Showgirls” and “Basic Instinct.” He has a new book out about his conversion, Crossbearer. And he just wrote a […]

Bishops blast Biden

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Late yesterday, the U.S. bishops released their weekly smackdown of a prominent American Catholic pol. And Washington’s Archbishop Wuerl added his own voice, in a letter to his priests: Our Catholic faith proclaims what is already written in our human […]

Smear?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A little-known congressional race is starting to attract some attention, with some charging that anti-Catholicism is rearing its ugly head. Check out the Washington Post’s coverage: Democrats seeking to take over a Republican-held congressional seat in Northern Virginia are hammering […]

Pilgrim’s progress: more people taking spiritual journeys

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of my dreams is to one day take a pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Paul — visiting places like Corinth, sloshing around in a small boat on the Mediterranean, imagining what it must have been like to be […]

This just in, from the Anglican desk…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Our brothers and sisters on the eastern side of The Pond just got a new curate at one of their churches. A full report on Rev. Skye Denno, from The Daily Mail: Some days she strides up to church wearing […]

Pope Benedict returns from historic visit to Fountain of Youth

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

H/T to American Papist.

On these rocks …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This may be the very definition of “pro-active.” Faced with the inconvenient truth that their churches would probably be closing, two parishes in Massachusetts voted in 2006 to consolidate. They did this on their own, without any pressure from the […]

What hath God wrought?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That was Samuel F.B. Morse’s first message, sent by telegraph in 1844. Imagine what he’d think of this little miracle of technology: Anyone curious to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes can now do it without leaving your desk. Drop by […]

Whatever happened to Danielle Rose?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Longtime readers may remember that last year I posted the inspiring story of a popular Christian singer named Danielle Rose, who was leaving a thriving music career to become a nun. Well, nearly a year later, we have an update, […]

Sarah Palin, book-burner? Not so much

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

All you Sarah Palin groupies out there — those who love her and those who don’t — should flock over to Newsweek. The good people at Factcheck.org have just done a little fact-checking on the GOP vice presidential candidate, separating […]

Backing Barack: a young Catholic explains why

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I stumbled across this essay this morning and thought: “Well here’s something you don’t see every day.” It’s about how a Steubenville pro-life EWTN-watching, daily-mass-attending young Catholic came to support Barack Obama: I started my freshman year at Franciscan University […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“In his Meet the Press interview, Sen. Biden used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t “impose” their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to […]

A Day like no other

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A few months back, I posted some news about a documentary on Dorothy Day that is now being made available. With Day’s name once again popping up in the news, I thought I’d re-post the trailer for the film below. […]

What’s that strange sound coming from Staten Island?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It has to be Dorothy Day, turning over in her grave. To understand why, read this. “True obedience is a matter of love, which makes it voluntary, not compelled by fear or force.” -Dorothy Day

Jilted for Jesus

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Italy, the home of Romeo and Juliet, now offers another saga of star-crossed love — with a decidedly religious twist. From the London Telegraph: An Italian man whose girlfriend left him to become a nun is holding a vigil outside […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“Mercy is not difficult. It is the great leveler, actually. When a heart at least partially attuned to mercy, even slightly open to it, then the more generous impulses are allowed out. You can see it, occasionally, even in the […]

Merton in ’41: “Oh, it’s a Trappist monastery in Kentucky, where I’ve been making retreats…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Jim Martin dug up this gem, in his remembrance of the great publisher and editor, Robert Giroux, who died last week. Giroux was a good friend of Thomas Merton’s when the two were at Columbia just before World War II. […]

Being Catholic now: “A lot of Catholics are having lovers’ quarrels with the church”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Kennedy is in the news again — this time, with a new book exploring her own Catholic faith. Michael Paulson has the scoop at the Boston Globe: Catholicism ran deep at the home of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. Prayers […]

The Birth of Mary

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Father of Mercy, give your people help and strength from heaven.The birth of the Virgin Mary’s sonwas the dawn of our salvation.May this celebration of her birthdaybring us closer to lasting peace.Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who […]

Madison’s bishop takes aim at Pelosi and Biden in his homily — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is really something: the improvised homily yesterday of Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin. He chucked his prepared remarks to deliver this measured, thoughtful, but unwavering attack on the continuing confusions of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Biden. You owe […]

Should deacons wear the collar?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Every now and then, I hear from deacons and deacon candidates who ask that very question. Some have seen pictures of deacons in other dioceses in clerical attire and asked, “What’s up with that?” I can almost hear them scratching […]

“Full House, Full Hands, Full Hearts”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Wow. That was my reaction when I scanned one of the comments about my homily from this Sunday and discovered that it was from a woman I’d mentioned, Erin Henderson. You just never know who will visit The Bench. Turns […]

Biden on abortion: “For me to impose my judgment is inappropriate”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

First, Pelosi, now Biden. Another prominent American Catholic politician is wading into deep — and hot — water over the issue of abortion. And it happened, once again, in remarks made on “Meet the Press.” This time, it was Delaware […]

The Speaker accepts: Pelosi to meet with her archbishop

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hours after San Francisco’s Archbishop published a letter, inviting the most prominent member of his flock for a friendly chat about abortion, the Speaker of the House accepted. This, from the AP: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under fire from U.S. […]

Homily for September 7, 2008: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This past week, when a lot of the world was fixated on Sarah Palin’s daughter, and the problem of teen pregnancy, there was news about one baby that didn’t get much attention. It should have. The AP reported the story […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“In answer to my question, the oncologist estimated that I had six months to a year to live. Being read your death sentence is like being a character in one of the old Bette Davis movies. I believe I was […]

I’m a moderate kind of guy…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

…and some of you may have noticed that I’m now moderating comments. Some of you may also have noticed that your comments have been rejected by your moderator. If you want to know why, I direct your attention, once again, […]

Seeing Sarah Palin as Esther: “God has given her the opportunity serve”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What sort of a Christian is Sarah Palin? We know she was baptized Catholic as a baby, but is now an ardent and practicing member of the Assembly of God. And, with every passing day, we’re seeing what that means […]

“Mrs.” Clinton and “Ms.” Palin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Anchoress dropped me a line a few minutes ago and said a reader was wondering why the New York Times refers to these women differently. I know the Times has a tradition of always using an honorific — Mr., […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“She has the power of the normal.” — Peggy Noonan, again in very good form, writing this morning about Sarah Palin’s speech.

A diaconate ministry takes off

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the prevailing truths of the diaconate is that you never know where, or when, you’ll encounter a deacon in the midst of his ministry. This piece from the Georgia Bulletin is a reminder of that: More than a […]

A bishop prays at the GOP convention

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It didn’t get much attention, but Wednesday night the Bishop of Orlando, Thomas Wenski, delivered a prayer at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Take a look at what he had to say:

Niederauer on Pelosi

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Better late than never: Nancy Pelosi’s archbishop has finally weighed in with his response to her controversial and much-criticized appearance on “Meet the Press.” Near the end of his long statement, after pointing out the mistakes, misstatements and outright falsehoods […]

“My job is to make sure that people into heaven. What could be better?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s a charming and uplifting piece, courtesty Roman Catholic Vocations, about a parish priest beginning his new assignment in Akron, Ohio: Catherine Paparella nudged her college buddy more than 20 years ago during a Mass and told him he had […]

Back-to-school boom at seminary: “Those rooms have been reclaimed”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here and there, we’ve been hearing indications of an uptick in vocations. Now comes word that one of the most influential seminaries in Rome is welcoming its biggest class in more than a generation: The Pontifical North American College welcomed […]

Quote of the day

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“The unborn child, who is alive and is a member of the human family, cannot defend himself or herself. Good law defends the defenseless. Our present laws permit unborn children to be privately killed. Laws that place unborn children outside […]

Heralding “Love in Truth”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Pope Benedict is about to release his third encyclical — and it might be time to consider these as comprising a Blessed Trinity, dealing as they do with Love, Hope and Truth. Amazon has a listing for the new letter […]

A Christmas memory in September

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The legendary animator who helped bring this beautiful moment to life died today: Bill Melendez. Bless him. (I spoke about this particular Christmas memory during my Midnight Mass homily last year.)

What Sarah Palin really has to worry about

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This writer knows whereof she speaks: “Palin’s friends should be less immediately worried about what the Obama campaign will do to her than what the McCain campaign will do. This is a woman who’s tough enough to work her way […]

St. Greg: “Servant of the servants of God”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I couldn’t let the day slip by without a prayerful salute to my patron: St. Gregory the Great. Deacon, monk, writer, musician, pope. Among other things, he was the one who coined the phrase “servant of the servants of God” […]

“Fr. What-A-Waste” takes on the atheists

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Regular readers will recall that is Katie Couric’s nickname for this dashing TV priest and moral theologian, Fr. Thomas Williams, who works as a Vatican consultant for CBS News. The good father has a new book out, “Greater Than You […]

More trouble for Medjugorje — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For over two decades, the Virgin Mary has allegedly been appearing in Medjugorje — and visitors there have numbered in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. (My wife is one of them; she made a trip there herself several […]

In a world where that voice is silenced…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Sad but true: one of the most famous voices in the world is no more. From the AP: Don LaFontaine, the man who popularized the catch phrase ”In a world where…” and lent his voice to thousands of movie trailers, […]

Don’t you wish your life was like this?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is just too cool for words. Just click and enjoy. h/t to American Papist. How’d they do it? Check right here.

Deliver us…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you’d like some spiritual distraction from the noise and nastiness of this election year…try this on for size. The USCCB has published a Novena for Faithful Citizenship, designed to be prayed on the nine Tuesdays leading up to the […]

Forgiving abusive priests: Sr. Camille D’Arienzo speaks out

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Late last month, I linked to a controversial piece in America by Sister Camille D’Arienzo, on forgiving abusive priests. Sunday, the Boston Globe published an interview with Sr. Camille: Two weeks ago, she wrote an essay for America magazine, the […]

The nun who kissed Elvis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I saw this item last week in my local diocesan paper, the Brooklyn Tablet, and made a mental note: “Link to this.” And, of course, I forgot. But better late than never. It’s a fascinating glimpse at the celebrated starlet […]

It’s that time again…

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I found this over at the Concord Pastor’s blog, and thought it well worth sharing. For all those empty-nesters and parents coping with kids trudging back to school, this prayer’s for you: A Parent’s Prayer When A Daughter Leaves Home […]

When Benny met Ingrid

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The world’s most famous former hostage finally met with Pope Benedict on Monday, in a dramatic encounter full of emotion. From Reuters: Freed French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt hugged Pope Benedict on Monday and told him how she was overcome with […]

MIA: one sentence from GOP abortion plank

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The organization Catholics United has noticed something missing from the GOP platform — one sentence about reducing abortions. They point out: The draft platform, which the party will vote to ratify in St. Paul today, originally contained the following language: […]

You’ve just been ordained a deacon, what are you going to do next?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

“I’m going to Disney World!” Well, it helps if you live right down the road from The Mouse, like the gentleman on the left. A reader sent me his picture with the following note: “Congratulations to Deacon James Stokes — […]

Decision ’08

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A reader asked me if I was nominated in more than one category and, by golly, it looks like I am. How’d that happen?? You can click on the buttons below to cast your vote. (So far, that wily Fr. […]

Sarah Palin’s agenda revealed!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you visit the NOW website, you can buy this charming souvenir. Oh, and there’s also this one, if you’re on a women’s ordination kick.

Love that gives life and hope

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over the last 48 hours, there’s been considerable slinging of mud and whispering of innuendo about Sarah Palin and her youngest child. Now comes the surprising news that the vice presidential candidate’s 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant. In the […]

Dissecting the “party faithful”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Over at The New Yorker this week, Peter Boyer has a long and interesting look at the Democrats’ struggle to capture religious voters, and plant their flag squarely on their turf. But it’s just as much about the Republican toe-hold […]

Kmiec: “How could a Catholic not support Barack Obama?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I plan to spend this Labor Day doing as little labor as possible. But I wanted to post this nugget from Saturday’s New York Times. It’s an interview by Peter Steinfels with Douglas Kmiec, the now-notorious Republican lawyer who, despite […]

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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