A California priest is expressing his faith in a surprising and creative way: There’s no steeple out front, no rows of pews inside, not even so much as a crucifix on display. Still, this cramped little art studio in the […]
A California priest is expressing his faith in a surprising and creative way: There’s no steeple out front, no rows of pews inside, not even so much as a crucifix on display. Still, this cramped little art studio in the […]
On the last day of the year, what have you left unspoken, unwritten, unshared? From the NY Times: Last month, Illegal Art, the New York-based public-art collective, placed installations around the city and invited passers-by to offer a few last […]
Last Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran a series of articles on notable people who had died during 2009 – most well known, a few not. It was the story of one of those lesser-known people that caught my […]
That would be the pictures contained in this poignant and wonderfully inspiring slideshow, put together by the Downtown Chapel Catholic Parish of Portland, Oregon. The Catholic Sentinel has details: Though it wasn’t an intended part of the original vision of […]
…and he must have meant this place. But, if it’s not a mistake, and I read this right, I’m in some pretty swanky company here. Thanks, Marcel! You’ve just made The Bench blush.
The New York Times has a blog called Motherlode, about various parenting issues, and earlier this year the blog’s author Lisa Belkin posted about a couple of unexpected pregnancies. One young woman, after some consideration, opted for abortion; the other […]
Pretty favorably, according to the usually-reliable John Allen. In his year-end wrap-up (converted to a decade-end wrap-up this year, of course), he looks at some of the biggest Catholic stories of the decade, and takes an especially close look at […]
How’s this for First Class? The U.S. Postal Service has announced that Mother Teresa will be among those honored with her very own stamp next year: Nobel Peace Prize honoree Mother Teresa, legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, Negro Leagues Baseball and […]
“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for […]
Incredible, but true: In what is being hailed as a Christmas “miracle,” a young mother died during labor with a still-born baby on Christmas Eve but both mom and baby came back to life just minutes later, before the eyes […]
Another former Protestant clergyman (who also happens to be married) is taking his final steps toward the priesthood, this time in Arkansas. Details: The goal is in sight. Hours of seminary study are winding down. Very soon, George W. Sanders […]
A breathtaking video that speaks eloquently about gun violence without uttering a word. H/T to Fran.
A great story of friendship, faith and hope. Keep a hanky handy.
I was wondering about this over the holiday, and now TIME magazine has answered the question: no, the Obama’s didn’t go to church on Christmas. Details: The Senate vote on final passage of health reform almost scuttled their plans, but […]
Is the tide turning? The numbers from at least one archdiocese are very encouraging: The nation’s sixth-largest Catholic seminary is reporting its highest enrollment in two decades as more men flock to the southern Indiana campus to pursue the priesthood. […]
A Jewish writer and researcher is defending the now-venerable pope’s record on the Nazis: Growing up Jewish in Queens, I never dreamt I would be defending the man I once believed to be a Nazi sympathizer and an anti-Semite. But […]
That would really be something to celebrate — and it just might happen. Turns out, murders are down elsewhere, too. In my corner of the world, this is nothing less than incredible: There were days upon days in New York […]
The brilliant humorist’s annual look back at the Year That Was remains one of the highlights of the holiday season — almost edging out my mother-in-law’s incredible chocolate mousse — and he doesn’t disappoint this year, either: It was a […]
With a huge h/t to American Papist, who touts this as an exclusive. Take a look. It happens at about the :48 mark.
For those who need any reminding…
Crank up the volume and enjoy this special treat. A blessed and Merry Christmas to you all, from Your Humble Blogger and the staff of The Bench!
Incredible, but true. The New York Times dispatched a team of readers to pore over the original, hand-scribbled manuscript of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” A key finding: (Declan) Kiely (curator at the Morgan Library) said he was impressed that (reader […]
My pastor has elected to preach at Midnight Mass, so I won’t be burning up my Mac tonight, polishing up a homily of my own. But if anyone’s curious, or really REALLY bored, here’s what I had to say in […]
A classic that never grows old…
As the number of Christians dwindles in that beleaguered country, reports suggest that the celebrations of Christ’s birth are diminishing, too: Christians in Iraq are preparing for a muted holiday season, with one bishop in the southern city of Basra […]
The decree, from the Vatican newspaper: L’Osservatore Romano on Tuesday congratulated the show on its 20th anniversary, praising its philosophical leanings as well as its stinging and often irreverent take on religion. Without Homer Simpson and the other yellow-skinned characters […]
It happened so quietly, nobody noticed. But the New York Times has the obituary: For more than three decades, they sang Mozart in Latin, Bach in German, and Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder in English, from Alice Tully Hall in […]
The ads are popping up in parts of Wisconsin — supposedly with an endorsement of a Catholic organization of young people. Details: There are some new ads airing on radio and TV in Northeast Wisconsin that endorse emergency contraception. The […]
You never know how God will work on people — and this story of love, loss, and resurrection offers much to ponder: Even a year after her passing, Nancy Graf’s work continues. Only these days, it’s through her husband. A […]
Devoted Mertonites (including Your Humble Blogger) will not be surprised at this bit of news, but it’s evidently raising a few eyebrows: Rarely has a romance seemed so star-crossed. He was 51, she 25. She was a pretty, petite student-nurse; […]
What we think happened may be far from the truth — at least if we just use scripture as our guide. This clever cartoon explains the fact and the fiction of the Nativity:
My blog neighbor Rod Dreher points me to the unusual video below, and a lot of other links with other curious information, and quotes from a blog in the Los Angeles Times: Hundreds, if not thousands, have been lining up […]
That’s the spin that’s being put on this intriguing singing competition in Florida: So you think you’ve had a busy few days? Consider Jacqui Urbuteit’s schedule since last Thursday: She took her final exams for college. She worked at an […]
“Network anchors are a bit like European monarchs: they don’t really matter much anymore, but people still perk up for a royal wedding or a changing of the stars. CBS, which weathered Dan Rather’s scandal-tinted abdication and the splashy ascension […]
Stories of Christmas giving don’t get any better than this, from a diner in Philadelphia. Click below and enjoy. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
That seems to be the conclusion of at least one scholar, based on an exhibition now on display in Rome: Three mysterious signatures on pages of parchment bound in leather and kept under lock and key may prove the theory […]
Looking for a great flick for the holidays? Catholic New World, from the Archdiocese of Chicago, has some terrific suggestions (h/t CNS), and even a few surprises (I’m glad that someone else besides me also appreciates the goofy charms of […]
An alert reader sent this my way. I don’t know what’s more amazing: that someone actually wrote this (and that it rhymes) or that someone took the time to find pictures and create a video out of it. At any […]
The New York Times Magazine this weekend offers a detailed answer, with an in-depth look at a man who is arguably the leading (and most influential) Catholic intellectual in America. A snip: George’s role as an adviser to (these) bishops […]
You can find lots of intriguing history in this deciphering of the most famous holy day on the Christian calendar. A snip: Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the […]
A favorite of mine this time of year: “Not That Far From Bethlehem.” The Christian singing trio Point of Grace did the definitive version a few years back, but I like this one, by a group called The Jordans, too.
New York City, early Sunday morning, December 20th, 2009.
To raise awareness of AIDS in Africa, Starbucks on December 7th staged a simultaneous singing of “All You Need is Love,” featuring representatives from more than 150 nations around the world, all chiming in at once. The result is below. […]
We send ‘em. We get ‘em. We love ‘em. We hate ‘em. Christmas letters. You know: the photocopied laundry list of Great Achievements that are folded inside Christmas cards and usually make most of us feel like abject failures. (“Kent […]
Once in a while I like to wonder over to the website for The Responsibility Project, a wonderful undertaking by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. They’re sponsoring a series of short independent films with rich moral lessons. The one below, directed […]
Years ago, when I was working at CBS, they came up with a brilliant advertising campaign for the network. It was so successful, they actually used it for a couple of years. Instead of pushing the idea that this was […]
I’m sure the bishop has his reasons for this, but this strikes me as a little heavy-handed: Belleville Catholic Bishop Edward Braxton has set a deadline of this weekend for all parishioners who attend Corpus Christi Church: You must kneel […]
Two 20th century popes are on track to become saints: Pope Benedict XVI has declared his predecessor John Paul II ‘venerable’, moving the long-serving Polish-born pope closer to sainthood. The decree bestowing the title is the first step towards beatification […]
Looking for a little investing advice? How about some moral guidelines for where to place your money? Have no fear: Big Christian churches buy and sell stocks and bonds for their building and retirement plans. But they sometimes feel bad […]
So says the Legion of Christ: In an effort to distance itself from the wrongdoings of its founder, the Legion of Christ has recently circulated an internal memo detailing how a long venerated work of spirituality attributed to Fr. Marcial […]
To generations of Catholics, she will always be Bernadette. Jennifer Jones died yesterday at the age of 90.
The cabaret singer Michael Feinstein points out something many may not know: some of the best-loved songs about Christmas were written, in fact, by composers who were Jewish: The evolution of Christmas is reflected to a degree in its music. […]
“I’d like to see a poll on this. Yes or no: Have we become a more vulgar country? Are we coarser than, say, 50 years ago? Do we talk more about sensitivity and treat others less sensitively? Do you think […]
Behold: a lovely display of sand art, telling the Christmas story in a thrilling new way.
In New Zealand, a controversial billboard outside a church is sparking anger — and even protest: It was designed to provoke conversation with non-believers. However, a risqué poster depicting the Virgin Mary lying in bed with Joseph – suggesting they […]
Because clearly I will be a danger to society. I’m talking about this outfit, from the New York Times today: The Times looks at the return of fashion, at least when it comes to men, and credits (or blames) “Mad […]
That was sung on Gaudete Sunday at my parish, and it remains one of my favorites among the newer hymns. (It has one of those endearing, simple, waltzy melodies that you can never shake after you’ve heard it.) Looking around […]
At a moment when millions are flocking to churches or temples for seasonal celebrations, millions more are finding their religious freedom seriously restricted. The news from a new study on religious persecution is grim: People living in a third of […]
“By 2025, almost three-quarters of Catholics will live in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that figure does not even count people of the global South living in the North–for instance, the 60 or 70 million U.S. residents who will […]
If you’re new to the concept of the Advent Conspiracy, drop by their website and learn all about it. There’s some welcome food for thought here. But first, check out their sensational video, below.
From the National Caholic Register comes this inspiring story of our educational system in action: According to WCBV-TV, a Catholic second-grade student at Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Mass., was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological […]
Along with good liturgy, it seems the Anglicans will be bringing with them good preaching, too. From the blog Sub Tuum: One value shared in common among all Anglicans, however, has been their expectation of regular and good preaching. It […]
The Vatican issued a Motu Proprio yesterday — and part of it dealt with the diaconate. From Catholic News Agency: According to J.D. Flynn, a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of Denver, the new document clarifies the nature of a […]
I had almost forgotten about this, until the Concord Pastor brought it up. It’s worth noting, once again: the oft-repeated lore about the true meaning of “The 12 Days of Christmas” isn’t true. From Snopes.com: Two very large red flags […]
I didn’t catch a glimpse of Friar Tuck, but Russell Crowe does make the sign of the cross at the conclusion of this very effective trailer for the upcoming epic. It appears to owe a lot to “Gladiator” (of course) […]
As a friend pointed out to me when she read this, “This isn’t surprising. The Anglican liturgy is gorgeous.” Compared to what passes for Sunday mass in most regular Catholic parishes, I can understand the appeal of this. (And I […]
With world leaders talking climate change in Copenhagen, Pope Benedict is weighing in on the subject: Pope Benedict XVI called for urgent action to protect the environment, saying Tuesday that climate change and natural catastrophes threaten the rights to life, […]
That’s one of the fundamental messages contained in the funeral homily below, from Msgr. Charles Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington. He writes about his approach here, and explains: I will admit that some of the things I say are […]
Evidently, it’s managed to carve out a niche for itself. From the Washington Post: Every Wednesday morning, 150 officials at Catholic University receive an e-mail about a gay student’s struggles on campus. There’s a graduate student who doesn’t mention her […]
And it’s in Charleston: Pope Benedict XVI has elevated the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to the status of a minor basilica of the Catholic Church. The Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is the 63rd minor basilica […]
Maybe. Things are looking up for the sainthood cause of a Sister of Saint Joseph from Australia: The imminent sainthood of Mary MacKillop is expected to be an early Christmas present for Australia’s Catholics. Nuns campaigning for her canonisation say […]
Get a load of this clever mural: Evidently, it’s the brainchild of this company. You can surf their site for more examples of their work.
That’s the compelling question that Rev. Michael G. Ryan posed in AMERICA magazine last week, and the subject was the new translation of the Roman Missal. A snip (subscription required, unforunately): What is at stake, it seems to me, is […]
Are you ready for Christmas? I’ve been hearing that question a lot lately – and the answer is always “No.” Last week, I attended the ordination of transitional deacons at the seminary out in Huntington. And I had a chance […]
A former colleague of mine at CBS, Maureen Maher, shares some of her backstory and how her life was transformed by Catholic Charities: CBS News’ Maureen Maher says it was impossible not to get wrapped up in the subject matter […]
God of power and mercy, you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present […]
That’s how the Christian Science Monitor is describing things, as it looks at different angles of health care reform: The healthcare reform debate could soon bring many Roman Catholics to a wrenching moral dilemma: Should they support a bill that […]
“As so many of us know, the dissolution of any marriage is a sad and painful process. It is also a very personal and private one. Because Mark and I are public figures, we have naturally had less privacy with […]
If you couldn’t get enough of their inspired “Bohemian Rhapsody“, here’s a little holiday chaser for you. H/T to Fr. Austin Murphy.
This is guaranteed to pick you up. A delightful video created by an Oregon hospital to raise awareness about breast cancer. The e-mail I got with this said: “Our daughter-in-law, Emily (MacInnes) Somers, created, directed and choreographed this in Portland […]
This terrific video says it all — and beautifully. H/T Mark Shea
That seems to be the conclusion of a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Among other things, it finds that nearly six in 10 Americans from all religions blend their faith with New Age and […]
What makes a man want to become a military chaplain? A Wisconsin paper has one moving answer: Capt. Matt Foley hasn’t presided over any weddings or christenings since he arrived here in April – not much call for those services […]
“No Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint — no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or […]
“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. “ — Thomas Merton, who […]
I got the impression that Patrick Kennedy wanted to put his clash with Bishop Tobin behind him and move on, but some commentators just won’t let it rest. The latest to add his two cents is Timothy Egan from the […]
That would be the story of Christ and his church. And it’s the story we’re trying to tell at New Evangelization Television (NET). Yesterday, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we marked our one-year anniversary of “putting out […]
That’s the opinion of the controversial Sr. Donna Quinn — who, you’ll recall, worked for some time as a volunteer escort at an abortion clinic. From the Chicago Tribune: Despite a public reprimand from her religious order last month, Chicago’s […]
As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton Sheen today, I thought it would be fun to look back at a memorable performance that still, all these years later, is a delight. The TV star […]
An oldie but a goodie: here’s a seasonal favorite, a cleverly devised rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Enjoy.
Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan has proposed her own list. Notre Dame is on the list — if you need to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention — and so are the Anglicans and Fr. Cutie. Check it out. It’s […]
That’s the proposal of a priest-theologian from Ireland: The system to date has failed. I do not deny that Rome may bear some responsibility. But I would place the main responsibility on the fact that the Irish hierarchy has in […]
The above photo is from the event I attended this morning: the ordination of five new transitional deacons at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island. The gentleman in the picture, Alonzo Cox, is scheduled to be ordained a […]
The Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan is calling for a ceasefire in the Christmas war: Obviously, I am enthusiastic about “keeping Christ in Christmas.” For those of us who believe that Jesus, the Son of God and our Savior, […]
Let us pray, [on this feast of Mary, who experienced the perfection of God’s saving power.] Father, the image of the Virgin is found in the Church. Mary had a faith that your Spirit prepared and a love that never […]
Evidently, that’s not uncommon in some parts of the world. And an archdiocese in India is trying to put a stop to it: The Catholic church in a recent circular has instructed the clergy to keep their sermons short. The […]
If this little taste of the holidays wasn’t enough for you, here’s something that is truly — in every sense — special:
This bit of news slipped under the wire over the weekend, but it’s worth noting: A Long Island priest with close ties to Rudy Giuliani has been cleared of allegations he molested a teenager in 1975, church officials said Saturday. […]
It’s great to give a deacon some props — so I’m pleased to give a shout-out to a deacon in Atlanta who is doing some remarkable work with immigrants there: As metro Atlanta continues to grow and expand culturally, the […]
And beg for mercy. This is just…I mean, it’s…I, er… Words fail. Just watch for yourself.
And, I have to say: it’s pretty funny.
The Massachusetts deacon whose miraculous healing is clearing the way for Cardinal Newman’s beatification met with Tony Blair’s wife Cherie last month — and now he wishes he hadn’t: Cherie Blair has received a humiliating snub from a leading Roman […]
While most of the press coverage has been devoted to Episcopalians eager to leave the Anglican Communion, New Jersey has at least one church this is probably going to stay put: For five years, members of Saint Anthony of Padua […]
PRAYER TO ST. NICHOLAS OF MYRA O Saint Nicholas, bountiful Father and special Patron of our Byzantine Catholic Church. You are a shepherd and teacher to all who invoke your protection, and who, by devout prayer, call upon you for […]
…and it’s a-jumpin’, as this ad from France reminds us. It is, in ever sense, cool. Duck!
Over Thanksgiving, my wife and I traveled down to Maryland to spend time with my in-laws. And while we were there, I met a remarkable young man, Jacob Francis Keller. He is a doctor, a lawyer, a philosopher, an engineer […]
After the storm kicked up by her controversial nude ad (with a cross) for PETA, Playboy model Joanna Krupa has given an interview to TV Guide, defending the pose: TVGuide.com:Who came up with the idea for the PETA ad? Why […]
Spreading the word, instantly, in under 140 characters … Welcome to marriage, in 2009.
And a little piece of history is made in Florida: The former Episcopalian bishop of Southwest Florida, Rev. John Lipscomb, was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church on December 2 at the Bethany Center spiritual retreat in Lutz, Florida. […]
The tee shirts should start rolling into stores any day now, after a new study found that when people ask “WWJD?”, they’re really asking a different question: For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially […]
A Nebraska doctor is continuing the work of one of the most famous — and infamous — abortion doctors: The national battle over abortion, for decades firmly planted outside the Kansas clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, has erupted here […]
They are the jolly, jubilant, joyful Daughters of St. Paul, who have made music and the media their ministry. They’ve been doing concert appearances around the country for years, and have released some wonderful CDs, too. They passed through New […]
How does a woman with no faith raise a child to have faith? This writer is struggling with that question: I had been potential prey for a religious organization, in part, because I had no faith of my own. As […]
…because they ended up interviewing Your Humble Blogger recently on the subject of religious radio. The results, below.
Another commentator has added his voice to the chorus chiming in about Patrick Kennedy and Bishop Tobin. Here’s former Senator Rick Santorum: Simply put, the church has membership requirements. Kennedy is free to reject them. What he is not free […]
This is just priceless: Stephen Colbert chatting with the Vatican astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, about extraterrestrial life. The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Gold, Frankincense and Mars – Guy Consolmagno www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political […]
It wasn’t too long ago that being Irish and Catholic was a source of pride on these shores (particularly for some proud boosters of Notre Dame…but that’s another story…) But times have changed. And over at his blog, Ross Douthat […]
“Where is our Holy Mountain of the Lord? Is it the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, City of Peace? Perhaps. Perhaps it is also wherever we plant our flag and declare, ‘as for me and my house, we will follow […]
PETA — the group known for its provocative ads touting the need to treat animals ethically — might want to consider its own advertising ethics. The latest ads are an assault on Christianity in general, and Catholics in particular: People […]
That was the date when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus — and the rest is history. Several months later, when bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional, Dr. Martin Luther King released this eloquent […]
“If the Season of Advent were a book I would file it on a shelf, right at eye-level, foremost among the great works of poetry. Advent is a poem of a bright new beginning. Advent is a love poem written […]
Not long ago, I became acquainted with a remarkable non-profit organization in Pennsylvania called Real Alternatives, which describes itself very simply here: The mission of Real Alternatives is to provide life-affirming alternative to abortion services to assist women faced with […]
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posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »
One day more
posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »
Meet Montana's married priest
posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »
Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »
Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »