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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

November 2009 Archives

“The bishops are at home with the heirs of a know-nothing fundamentalism”

posted by jmcgee

Writer James Carroll takes a quick scan through the latest headlines involving the Catholic Church and politics and concludes, with no small amount of distaste, that the episcopal deck is stacked with (you can almost hear him shudder) conservatives: The […]

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Are we born with the urge to help?

posted by jmcgee

Some scientists are starting to think so. From Tuesday’s New York Times: Biologists are beginning to form a generally sunnier view of humankind. Their conclusions are derived in part from testing very young children, and partly from comparing human children […]

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Kennedy: “I’m not going to indulge in this debate anymore”

posted by jmcgee

“These are personal issues of faith for me. I’m not going to indulge in this debate anymore. It’s really for me about what my constituents are most interested in now, and that is getting a health care bill passed that […]

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Offer to Anglicans: “Burying the hatchet”?

posted by jmcgee

The Wall Street Journal has taken the plunge into online video very seriously — and they’ve just posted this interesting discussion on the Vatican’s outreach to Anglicans. Take a look.

“How do you die right?”

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a moving, even inspiring story of how one priest is using his own illness and death to give a lesson in living: At the St. Anne Catholic Church, people have heard many sermons about life and death. But one […]

These kids slay me

posted by jmcgee

To kick-start your Monday: a familiar rock anthem gets a new spin, courtesy the terrific (and justly celebrated) PS22 Chorus. A message of hopeful anticipation for this first Monday of Advent: don’t stop believin’.

“Thug Sunday”: Detroit church buys back guns

posted by jmcgee

A church in Detroit kicked off the new liturgical year by doing something besides lighting a candle and hanging purple: St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church held a gun buyback event Saturday, offering $20 for each weapon. The church, known for its […]

The joy of travel

posted by jmcgee

The first unhappy surprise that my wife and I discovered at the airport this holiday weekend: bag charges. Every. Bag. Checked. Ka-ching. The last time we flew, last summer, they let you check one for free. No more. They don’t […]

Discovering “My Catholic Marriage”

posted by jmcgee

With a little free time to explore today (!), I wandered over to For Your Marriage, the website on the sacrament set up a couple years ago by the USCCB. I visited there a few times when it first debuted, […]

Need your heart lifted? Watch this.

posted by jmcgee

Further proof that there are angels among us. A train door separated a three-year-old toddler from his father — and a woman was there to take the child’s hand and wait with him until his dad made it back. Watch […]

The first Sunday of Advent, 40 years ago…– UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

That was when American Catholics first stepped into church and experienced the “New Mass.” And Catholic traditionalist Kenneth J. Wolfe notes the event — and its aftermath — in today’s New York Times, citing as his villain Annibale Bugnini, who […]

How’s this for New Evangelization?

posted by jmcgee

Wherein the medium for evangelizing is an athlete’s face: Tonight is Tim Tebow’s last home game as a Florida Gator, and he is guiding the Gators to a comfortable 37-10 fourth-quarter lead over rival Florida State. His eye blacks contain […]

Savior of iron

posted by jmcgee

Well, if people see Mary all over the place, why not Jesus, too? From the Boston Globe: Until this week, Mary Jo Coady had never given her iron a second thought. Then she saw a likeness of Jesus staring back […]

Priests say the darnedest things

posted by jmcgee

“Johnny announced to his mother one Sunday morning that he had two good reasons for not going to church that day.  ‘First, I am tired and need more sleep. Second, nobody likes me there.’  His mother replied: ‘Johnny, I have […]

“Now Thank We All Our God”: the story behind the hymn

posted by jmcgee

I suspect most Catholics don’t know the name Martin Rinkart. But this Lutheran deacon and composer left us a beautiful testament to faith and thanksgiving: he composed the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God.” Some details about his life […]

Homily for Thanksgiving: November 26, 2009

posted by jmcgee

A lot of us know the story. It was the autumn of 1621. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a rich harvest, the men, women and children who had survived the first year in the New World gathered for a feast to […]

Happy 50th, dear Genesee, happy 50th to you…

posted by jmcgee

Here’s something to be thankful for tomorrow: the Trappists at Genesee, celebrating their 50th year in upstate New York. (Those of us who loved Henri Nouwen’s “Genesee Diary” will find this brief video especially captivating.) Enjoy.

A good thief

posted by jmcgee

The perp involved in a crime that took place more than half a century ago has evidently had a change of heart: The mystery of a portable radio stolen 54 years ago from a Clarke College teacher’s lounge may never […]

An instant classic: The Muppets “Bohemian Rhapsody”

posted by jmcgee

This is just a hoot. Enjoy. H/T to Fran , who put it up on her Facebook page. I’m still smiling. 

Thanksgiving 1789: “With grateful hearts…”

posted by jmcgee

This is a holiday tradition I love. At my in-laws, someone (usually the youngest at the table) always reads George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation at the dinner table. To put us all in the mood, here it is: Whereas it is […]

The injustice of living together

posted by jmcgee

What’s really wrong with living together? I stumbled on this provocative take on the subject over at New Advent. The author, a sociologist, ticks off a few of the problems some of the co-habitating poor encounter, and then concludes that […]

“Bishops need to be a bit more careful…”

posted by jmcgee

That is how America’s Michael Sean Winters begins his critique of the Chris Matthews-Bishop Tobin smackdown. And Winters goes on to make some good points about how badly the Church deals with the media: Sunday before last, the priest at […]

“Thank God for crying babies”

posted by jmcgee

“Don’t worry about the crying child. All of that crying just means that the Catholic Church has a future. If you go into a church that does not have a crying baby, that church is in trouble. It has no […]

Chris Matthews = Old Yeller

posted by jmcgee

Or so it seems, as he goes yelling after Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin over L’affair Kennedy. My two cents: Tobin should have known what he was in for. When you’re a Catholic bishop and a producer from MSNBC calls […]

Why the whip?

posted by jmcgee

The news that Pope John Paul evidently engaged in self-mortification — whipping himself as a form of penance — has sparked some curiosity about this ancient practice. The BBC has some background: Flagellation is the beating or whipping of the […]

Who’s crying now? Not Susan Boyle.

posted by jmcgee

She was up at the crack of dawn to sing for the crowd at the TODAY show. It was a chilly November morning, but this performance could make you melt.  Behold: Susan Boyle’s gorgeous interp of “Cry Me A River.”

Kennedy and Tobin: “Why now?”

posted by jmcgee

John Allen has a few interesting thoughts about the Patrick Kennedy-Bishop Thomas Tobin communion clash: I have no insider scoop to offer, but I can summarize here what I’ve been saying on-air: the most interesting question about the story isn’t […]

The lost art of fact-checking

posted by jmcgee

“Holy Communion in the Catholic Church is one of the holy sacraments. Practicing Roman Catholics believe in extreme unction; in other words, that the wine and unleavened bread are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ – a […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“For the archdiocese and Catholic Charities, two core tenets of our faith are at the heart of our concerns: our understanding of the nature of marriage and our commitment to expressing Christ’s love through service to others. Under the legislative […]

Cuomo: “God is not a celestial party chairman”

posted by jmcgee

Another high profile Catholic politician — and one who is no stranger to clashing with bishops — has added his two cents to the Kennedy-Tobin debate: Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said Sunday that church leaders should be cautious […]

“Open the gates before him, lift up your voices…”

posted by jmcgee

I posted this eons ago, back at my old blog site, but it seems a good time to revisit this classic from My Close Personal Friend (MCPF) Stephen Colbert. Happy Feast of Christ the King, y’all.

Kennedy says he is barred from receiving communion — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

One of the most publicized standoffs in what’s been dubbed the “wafer wars” has reportedly escalated: Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has forbidden Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy to receive the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion because of his advocacy […]

Is the Gap ad anti-Christmas?

posted by jmcgee

Some are starting to wonder — and they raise some good points. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cathleen Falsani has this to say about it: Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those paranoid religious folks who believes that there […]

What every diocese needs

posted by jmcgee

As the esteemed Fr. Z notes, it’s a “vicar of online ministry.” He makes a persuasive case (one, sadly, most dioceses will likely dismiss or ignore) that the future lies in the electronic pulpit — the one you’re giving attention […]

The Presentation of Mary

posted by jmcgee

Prayer for the Presentation of Mary from the Melkite Liturgy Troparion of the Vigil Today Anne brings us glad tidings, bearing in her arms the precious fruit that dispels all sorrow, the one being ever-precious fruit that dispels all sorrow, […]

Freakiest Christmas music video. Ever.

posted by jmcgee

The idea of Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album is weird enough. But the first video from it?? Take a look. Ho ho ho.

Know hope: Christ reigns

posted by jmcgee

This stunning image is from the Catholic Key blog shows the massive eucharistic procession of 22,000 high school students, following Christ through downtown Kansas City yesterday, for the National Catholic Youth Conference. Their motto this year — fittingly, for the […]

Remember when TV was good?

posted by jmcgee

Going through old boxes, I stumbled on a 33 rpm recording of this TV special from way-back-when: “Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall.” I have fond memories of hearing it on my parents’ big boxy wooden stereo in our living […]

An unprecedented “call of conscience”

posted by jmcgee

Time will tell if it will actually have any impact, but the significance of this piece of news can’t be overstated: More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration Friday […]

Meet the 90-year-old scuba diving, speedboating, skiing priest

posted by jmcgee

In this Year for Priests, few stories could be more surprising, or inspiring, than this one, about a priest named Msgr. Leon Dobosiewicz, from Florida Catholic: At 90, the monsignor, who is parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Parish in Lake […]

The highest form of Flannery

posted by jmcgee

It didn’t get much attention, but news moved yesterday that a beloved prize-winning Catholic author won another prize: Among the National Book Awards winners named on Wednesday night whose names may elude you, one honoree you’ve almost certainly heard of […]

Gay marriage compromise in D.C.?

posted by jmcgee

The intense debate over the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, DC has now led to talk that maybe the two sides can come to a compromise. From the Washington Post: Some D.C. Council members and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton are […]

The death penalty and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

posted by jmcgee

I saw this item over at the America magazine blog “In All Things,” and thought it offered some interesting food for thought — particularly since it comes from my friend Sr. Camille D’Arienzo, RSM, who works with inmates on death […]

Want to see the world’s largest illustrated bible?

posted by jmcgee

Believe it or not, it’s made of Legos. Really. See below.     

Bishop defends CCHD

posted by jmcgee

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has gotten a lot of criticism of late (including, most prominently, from EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo). Now the bishop who oversees it is defending the organization: The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ subcommittee which oversees […]

“Faith is no reason”

posted by jmcgee

Sound catchy? A group of atheists thinks so, and gave that phrase a prize: Blasphemy. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. And the T-shirt reads, “Faith is no reason.” The Center for Inquiry (CFI), an international advocacy group based […]

Here’s a stocking stuffer for you…

posted by jmcgee

If this doesn’t give you pause, nothing will: a video game supposedly based on the mass. Judging from this article, some skeptics think it’s a joke. (Well, whether intended or not, it is a scream…) Personally, I have my doubts, but […]

Whispering with Rocco: a blogger’s take on the USCCB

posted by jmcgee

My gang at “Currents” got to chat with the legendary Rocco “Whispers in the Loggia” Palmo on Monday, to hear his take on the bishop’s confab that was then just starting in Baltimore. You can see and hear what he […]

Report: no link between gay priests and abuse

posted by jmcgee

I suspect this news will raise a few eyebrows — and spark some debate: A preliminary report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on the roots of the clergy sex abuse scandal found no evidence that gay priests are […]

Bishops pass marriage pastoral — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

This just in, from Charm City: Despite the concern voiced by some bishops about the document’s pastoral tone and content, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a pastoral letter on marriage Nov. 17. Nearly 100 changes in two rounds […]

Becoming Wise: a criminal’s conversion

posted by jmcgee

We are all products of our mistakes, and this moving story offers one profound example: It was 21 years ago when Glenn Wise was shot in the head during an attempted armed robbery. He has been a quadriplegic ever since, and […]

Who is really Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

It turns out the U.S. bishops may soon be deciding the answer to that question. From David Gibson at Politics Daily: In remarks at the opening of the hierarchy’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Chicago Cardinal Francis George made it clear […]

Worth a thousand words: Tastykake edition

posted by jmcgee

This picture is destined to be a classic. Settling a World Series wager, Philly’s Cardinal Justin Rigali (right) hands off a big box of hometown Tastykakes to the Big Apple’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan. It’s a Kodak moment that is, in […]

The word of the year: “unfriend”

posted by jmcgee

Facebookers will recognize its meaning. And now it is officially entering the lexicon: “Unfriend” has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, chosen from a list of finalists with a tech-savvy bent. Unfriend was […]

Creating a star-studded Bible

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for National Bible Week (starting next Sunday) comes word of an ambitious project involving some high profile vocal talent: Once Jesus signed on, it was easy to enlist King Solomon and Moses. Jim Caviezel (Jesus), Malcolm McDowell […]

Lawsuit opposes “In God We Trust”

posted by jmcgee

Those four little words are causing some big problems, again, after they were added to a popular tourist destination: The American Center for Law and Justice has filed a legal response to a lawsuit that opposes religious engravings in the […]

Forgive us our syntax: bishops debate mass translation

posted by jmcgee

As the bishops gather in Baltimore this week, an important topic of discussion will be the new mass translation. Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look: Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie has led the charge against what he […]

Cokie Roberts: “I couldn’t give up Jesus”

posted by jmcgee

The Washington Post’s often-interesting On Faith section is looking at the subject of interfaith marriage. As authors Sally Quinn and Ellen McCarthy note: The holidays can be a minefield for interfaith couples, unearthing disparities that lay mercifully buried throughout the […]

The triumph of Tererai Trent

posted by jmcgee

Think you have it rough? Nicholas Kristof puts things in perspective for all of us: Any time anyone tells you that a dream is impossible, any time you’re discouraged by impossible challenges, just mutter this mantra: Tererai Trent. Of all […]

Judge, mayor, veterinarian…and deacon

posted by jmcgee

The resume of this Oklahoma deacon is nothing less than staggering: It’s hard for Oklahoma State Veterinary Professor Dr. James Breazile, 74, to go anywhere because once he does, those who get to know him don’t want to see him […]

His eye is on the sparrows — all 300,000 of them

posted by jmcgee

Just take a look at this astonishing — and, yes, creepy — video, shot in Denmark, of a massive swarm of starlings. Details here.

A positive sign

posted by jmcgee

I have no idea where this comes from, but a friend posted it on Facebook. We really are Easter people, aren’t we?

Homily for November 15, 2009: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

I think most of us could be forgiven for thinking that this reading from Mark’s gospel sounds like the preview for the new movie “2012.” You may have seen it the ads: California slides into the ocean, waves come crashing […]

Roll out the bishops

posted by jmcgee

Two big announcements from the Vatican today: In an unprecedented double-shot of Saturday appointments on these shores — and on the eve of the US bishops’ Baltimore plenary, no less — Pope Benedict has named: * Bishop Jerome Listecki of […]

R.I.P. David Lloyd: “A little song, a little dance…”

posted by jmcgee

Word today that the man who created one of the greatest television episodes (in a series that had many great ones) has passed on to the great writer’s room in the sky. David Lloyd, who wrote the classic “Chuckles Bites […]

“Just another angry forum for Catholics to yell at each other”

posted by jmcgee

“The growth of the Internet, blogs in particular, is aggressively democratizing Catholic conversation – providing an outlet for alternative points of view, and in some cases becoming the meeting place for what are virtually “cyber-parishes,” or at least small Christian […]

Judge bars Christian license plate

posted by jmcgee

A religious license plate won’t be popping up on cars in South Carolina any time soon. From the New York Times: A United States District Judge has struck down a Christian-themed license plate that had been approved by the South […]

I wonder if he visits Beliefnet

posted by jmcgee

Seems the Holy Father is web savvy: The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, shared this week that the Holy Father has an appreciation for new developments in technology and is comfortable surfing the […]

In Florida, preserving a “pocketful of miracles”

posted by jmcgee

This treasure trove contains some of the oldest bits of American history, pre-dating even the Pilgrims: Sister Catherine Bitzer slowly opened a file box and carefully removed a brittle page, scarred by years of neglectful storage, mold and insects. At […]

Writing about prayer: “It’s tap-dancing on the radio”

posted by jmcgee

The astonishing Mary Karr reflects on prayer and writing: Writing about prayer to a secular audience is tap-dancing on the radio. I want to say “Gee whiz, isn’t this great” and have everyone’s head cocked like the RCA dog. I […]

Can’t get to Rome? Take this virtual tour instead

posted by jmcgee

Monday, the Vatican unveiled a stunning website that offers a virtual tour of the Lateran Basilica. CNS has details: The Vatican Web site celebrated the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran by launching a virtual […]

BREAKING: Kidnapped priest freed

posted by jmcgee

Some welcome news from the Philippines: An elderly Irish priest kidnapped and held captive in the Philippines has been released, it has been revealed tonight. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin confirmed Fr Michael Sinnott has been freed. […]

Behind the music: making the pope’s new CD

posted by jmcgee

You’ve read the review. Now see how it was put together. Below, a brief promotional video for Pope Benedict’s new CD, Alma Mater.

A holy water font for the swine flu era

posted by jmcgee

Necessity is the mother of invention, of course, and an Italian inventor — sensing a necessity — has invented something that blends the sacred with the sensible: The terracotta dispenser, used in the northern town of Fornaci di Briosco, functions […]

Vatican Idol: the pope sings!

posted by jmcgee

The reviews are trickling in for Pope Benedict’s new CD, Alma Mater — the first album to feature a pontiff singing. The Holy Father may want to keep his day job. From the Times of London: The result is not […]

Lest we forget…

posted by jmcgee

In Kabul, a military chaplain prepares for a service in a British cemetery to mark Remembrance Day. Commonwealth countries as well as other countries around the world observe two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day […]

“Notes Left Behind”

posted by jmcgee

Last Sunday, I preached in my homily about a little girl named Elena Desserich, and the book her parents have put together called “Notes Left Behind.” The publishers have produced a brief video about Elena and the book. Take a […]

For Veteran’s Day: a prayer by Fulton Sheen

posted by jmcgee

Our Father, who art in Heaven: give us, we pray You, the courage and the strength to stamp out the threat of paganism and slavery that hangs over the world today. Be merciful to all those who have died in […]

ET, phone Rome

posted by jmcgee

Because it looks like the Vatican is seriously pondering the possibility of life on other planets: If finding extraterrestrial life is like “a detective chase, a crime to be solved, we’re getting very close to the answer,” said Chris Impey, […]

“Health care legislation is about human beings…”

posted by jmcgee

“Health care legislation, with all its political, technical and economic aspects, is about human beings and hence has serious moral dimensions. Our focus is the concrete realities of families with children and their access to doctors, the poor and the […]

How to annoy Anglicans

posted by jmcgee

Tongue firmly planted in cheek (I think,) the mischievous Anglican Bosco Peters offers some helpful tips: You can offer whiskey instead of Gin – some Anglican clergy find that slightly irksome. You can deny the validity of Anglican sacraments – […]

Act of Providence: Tobin’s letter to Kennedy

posted by jmcgee

In a rare public rebuke, the Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island has called a prominent member of his flock, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, to “conversion and repentence.” Bishop Thomas Tobin is publishing a letter to the congressman in the diocesan newspaper […]

Planned Parenthood: “The Catholic bishops drew a line in the sand”

posted by jmcgee

How big a role did the Church play in this weekend’s House vote on health care reform? Consider this: Injecting itself aggressively into the health-care debate, the Roman Catholic Church in America has emerged as a major political force with […]

“In our perseverance, we discern God’s Spirit…”

posted by jmcgee

“Now occasionally, God in his providential care permits us to experience severe pain and suffering, but in the final analysis, always for some greater good. The full weight of our sorrows, if patiently endured after Cardinal Newman’s example, often provides […]

A “lost boy” may find the priesthood

posted by jmcgee

One of the ongoing horrors of our day is the plight of Sudan’s “Lost Boys.” One of those boys, now grown into a man, is in the middle of an arduous journey that may, God willing, take him to the […]

On the new document about “Groups of Anglicans”

posted by jmcgee

More details are emerging on the Apostolic Constitution — and what it may mean for the celibate priesthood (not much, frankly): Former Anglicans entering the Catholic Church can preserve their liturgical traditions, married priests in some circumstances and even a […]

Anglican watch: here it is

posted by jmcgee

The long-awaited Apostolic Constitution, offering a new way for large numbers of Anglicans to cross the Tiber, has finally been published. Read it all right here.

“Catholicism is not about popularity”

posted by jmcgee

“Catholicism is not about popularity, and it’s not about being loved by the media, and it’s not about refusing to promote strong beliefs. Being Catholic means something; it has consequences in how one views the slaughter of abortion, and the […]

Newman’s own: Deacon Jack visits Birmingham

posted by jmcgee

The American deacon who was healed through the intercession of John Henry Newman is now on Newman’s home turf: Deacon Jack Sullivan, whose miraculous healing in 2001 is the basis for Newman’s Beatification next year, has arrived in England on […]

“We have to do something, because we need priests”

posted by jmcgee

The recent overture to the Anglicans has gotten more people to look at the question of a married priesthood. And that’s sent some reporters scurrying to talk to priests who left ministry to marry: One of the hardest things Ed […]

The priest at Fort Hood: “I know why I came here…”

posted by jmcgee

A priest from Boston found himself serving in Texas — and serving, as well, the victims of last week’s tragedy at Fort Hood. From the Boston Globe: The Rev. Edward McCabe didn’t want to go to Fort Hood when the […]

Dolan vs. Dowd: the New York Times weighs in

posted by jmcgee

Last month, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan took on the New York Times in his blog — and had some particularly sharp words for columnist Maureen Dowd.  Now, the paper’s Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, has decided to look into Dolan’s […]

Best-selling Anglican author prepares to “desert a sinking ship”

posted by jmcgee

Noted British author G. P. Taylor is about to swim the Tiber: Vicar-turned-author Rev G P Taylor says he will desert the “sinking ship” Church of England, which he said was the “spiritual arm of New Labour”, for Roman Catholicism. […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

Mourners at a memorial service at Fort Hood last night.  Photo by Associated Press

Homily for November 8, 2009: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

We hear this gospel story, about the widow’s mite, and tend to think of it as a lesson in giving, and great sacrifice. And that is true.  It’s a lesson we need to hear, especially in these hard times. But […]

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on health care reform

posted by jmcgee

As the vote on health care reform nears, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend weighs in: The good news is that thoughtful minds have come together in the House of Representatives to craft a reasonable and abortion-neutral proposal in health reform. It is […]

Teenager charged in nun’s murder

posted by jmcgee

The details here: Nineteen-year-old Reehahlio Carroll was charged on Friday in the death of Sr. Margaurite Bartz. According to the Associated Press, Carroll told investigators that he broke into the sister’s trailer home on Halloween night in search of money […]

The abortion doctor who’s also a minister

posted by jmcgee

And, what may be most surprising of all: he’s also an admitted killer.

An early Veteran’s Day gift for you

posted by jmcgee

If this doesn’t make you weep, check your pulse.  It’s brief, and just plain wonderful.       The Return from Iraq – Awesome video clips here H/T New Advent and Creative Minority Report

Sr. Donna Quinn, “peacekeeper”

posted by jmcgee

“As a peacekeeper, my goal is to enable women to enter a reproductive health clinic in dignity and without fear of being physically assaulted. … I am very worried that the publicity around my presence will lead to violations of […]

How to merge two parishes: one pastor’s experience

posted by jmcgee

If you’d like some insight into how it’s done, this essay at the Catholic News Service is both informative, and inspiring. The pastor, Fr. Kenneth Doyle, concludes: There is still, of course, some sadness over the merger and some adjustment […]

The deer hunter priest

posted by jmcgee

A lot of priests have a hobby. But here’s one that’s a little out of the ordinary: When Christopher Wenthe was an electrical engineer and single, living in the Twin Cities, he had lots of time to hunt and fish. […]

“We are called to be heralds of hope”

posted by jmcgee

With those words, a Catholic bishop has called for mercy for a convicted killer sentenced to die: As Virginia prepared to execute convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington called for mercy and urged that Muhammad’s […]

First group of Anglicans accepts pope’s offer

posted by jmcgee

They’re making history, and they’re from across the pond: The Traditional Anglican Communion’s province in Great Britain has become the first to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans.  All its members voted unanimously to come into communion with […]

BREAKING: Arrest in nun’s murder

posted by jmcgee

This just in: The FBI says it has made an arrest in the murder of a nun who worked on a New Mexico Indian reservation.  The announcement Thursday morning came days after the body of 64-year-old Sister Marguerite Bartz was […]

“It’s something imprinted on your soul”

posted by jmcgee

“It’s holy orders.  It’s something that’s imprinted on your soul; you die with it. It’s throwing your hat in to a basket when it comes around, or the collection plate, and there it goes. That’s your soul. It just left. […]

The year of the Catholic?

posted by jmcgee

Tuesday’s election, by at least one tally, appears to continue an interesting  trend: The past 12 months have been noteworthy for the number of Roman Catholics elected or appointed to top political posts, and yesterday’s election results kept the streak […]

Northern exposure: meet the Catholics of Alaska

posted by jmcgee

How do you run a diocese with just a few priests and hundreds of miles of territory to cover? The St. Anthony Messenger finds some fascinating answers in Alaska: Despite the shortage of priests, the Anchorage Archdiocese has 32 vibrant […]

U.S. bishops praise Maine vote against gay marriage

posted by jmcgee

After voters in Maine shot down a law allowing same-sex marriage yesterday, the USCCB has now offered a warm round of applause.   The bishops’ statement reads, in part: Yesterday on November 3rd, the people of Maine voted to uphold the […]

Army officer forgives suicide bomber who blinded him

posted by jmcgee

My friend Tony Rossi of the Christophers just alerted me to this story, and an interview their program recently did with Capt. Scott Smiley, the Army’s first-ever active duty blind officer: Given short notice that he could go on leave […]

Bob McDonnell, Catholic

posted by jmcgee

The AP has this item about Virginia’s new governor-elect — only the second Catholic one in the commonwealth’s history: The new Republican governor-elect of Virginia brings to the office firmly conservative views that took root in the suburban, middle-class Irish […]

Kung? Phooey.

posted by jmcgee

Or, at least, that seems to be the general feeling at one influential paper: The Vatican newspaper has criticized the Swiss-born Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung after he accused Pope Benedict XVI of an “unecumenical luring away” of discontented Anglicans. […]

Portland’s triple play: three new deacons

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for Halloween — and All Saints, of course — Portland ordained new deacons: In the Year of the Priest, last weekend was a time for deacons. Archbishop John Vlazny ordained three permanent deacons, Martin Larner, Jr., John […]

“I believe I’m held here in trust…”

posted by jmcgee

Over at NPR, their series of essays “This I Believe” can occassionaly yield some nuggets of gold. And this is one of them: This is know: I believe in the Lord’s Prayer, all of it, but particularly where it says, […]

The sister at the abortion clinic: “Her actions are in violation of her profession…”

posted by jmcgee

There have been some developments in a story I posted last month, about a Dominican sister working as a volunteer escort at a Chicago abortion clinic. From American Papist: Public Statement of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation  “Several months ago the […]

Court rules Italy must remove crucifixes from classrooms

posted by jmcgee

One of Europe’s most Catholic countries will show a little less of that, at least in its public schoolrooms: Europe’s court of human rights ruled Tuesday the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms under […]

FBI probes murder of nun

posted by jmcgee

A still-unfolding story out of the American southwest: A nun has been found dead in her residence at a church in a small community on the Navajo Indian reservation near the Arizona-New Mexico border, the FBI said Monday.  Sister Marguerite […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“The money wasn’t in family planning, the money wasn’t in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that. I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that […]

Marking the “Day of the Dead”

posted by jmcgee

How did you mark All Souls Day? A California paper looks at one local tradition: A sacred parade  That was the scene in the near-ghost town of Hornitos on Monday night as about 250 candle-carrying people made the steep, narrow […]

Graymoor at 100: “The spirit of Jesus creates unity”

posted by jmcgee

I had no idea this religious order had such an unusual history: One hundred years before Pope Benedict XVI captured headlines by establishing a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Catholic Church, the […]

His life with the saints — and the Jesuits

posted by jmcgee

Many of us have read and enjoyed and passed on to others Fr. James Martin’s wonderful memoir “My Life with the Saints.” We interviewed him for “Currents” last week, and got a glimpse at the writer behind the book. Take […]

November 23, 1963 …

posted by jmcgee

Those of us who saw the riveting episode of “Mad Men” last night were reminded that, on the day after the Kennedy assassination, life went on — but barely.    In the episode, there were uncanny parallels to 9/11, in […]

All Souls, and going home

posted by jmcgee

This day, All Souls, we pray for all the faithful departed, remembering all those who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.”  Last year, in my homily for All Souls Day, I offered these thoughts: This time […]

Baptism by the numbers

posted by jmcgee

This was baptism Sunday for the deacon. I rotate baptisms with two priests, so I do them four times a year.  This was by far the loudest, biggest mob I’ve encountered. Let me break it down for you.  Number of […]

‘Til death…

posted by jmcgee

Anyone who has planned, witnessed, catered, photographed, presided over or rehearsed a modern wedding ceremony needs to read this on-target assessment of the modern American wedding. This gives a good sense of why so many priests I know hate weddings. […]

On receiving communion in the hand

posted by jmcgee

[My diocese, like many, has instituted new guidelines for receiving Holy Communion, amid growing concerns about the H1N1 virus.  One of those is the suggestion that Catholics, at least until the spring, only receive in the hand, not on the […]

The last Catholic high school in Detroit

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, this once heavily Catholic city only has one Catholic high school left. And TIME magazine finds out why: Lunch period at an inner-city all-boys school is an event associated with the sounds of chaos, not classical music. And yet […]

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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