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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

What would they say?

posted by jmcgee

Years ago, an old friend who is a Sister of St. Joseph sent me a greeting card with this image on the front. I always liked it. “Women of Peace,” it was called: Eileen Egan, Dorothy Day, and Mother Teresa, […]

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The MoDo blitzkrieg continues

posted by jmcgee

“It doesn’t seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin. Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse […]

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Jesus, is that you?

posted by jmcgee

The History Channel has tried to give the most realistic depiction yet of the face of Christ, creating a 3-D image based on the Shroud of Turin. ABC News took a look, below.

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A Protestant writes about “the Catholicism I cherish”

posted by jmcgee

A reader e-mailed me the following, with this note: “I have not seen much commentary on the current troubles in our church from faithful members of other ecclessial communities. No piling on by Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans etc. They are […]

Holy Week 2010: Spy Wednesday

posted by jmcgee

Some might wonder what, exactly, that is. From Wikipedia: In Western Christianity, the Wednesday before Easter is sometimes known as “Spy Wednesday”, indicating that it is the day that Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for […]

DiMarzio: “Enough is enough!”

posted by jmcgee

Earlier, I offered the press release announcing Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s homily, which was delivered at this evening’s Chrism Mass. Here’s more, from his prepared text: In recent weeks, we have all been reminded of the evil that some of our […]

In God’s hands

posted by jmcgee

The striking and dramatic Stations of the Cross below were created by Deacon Bernard Deschler (another Brooklyn boy).  I really think that they’re something extraordinary, and that they ask us to look at Christ’s Passion in a new way.  Check […]

“Our church will no longer be the personal punching bag of the New York Times”

posted by jmcgee

That’s how Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio describes the recent coverage of the pope, in his homily at tonight’s Chrism Mass.  From the press release: In his homily to the priests and people of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, called […]

Goodbye, Good Friday?

posted by jmcgee

As one friend of mine noted, reading this item, “We live in interesting times…” : One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off […]

A report from Ground Zero — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

An e-mail about this arrived in my in-box overnight, and it’s worth reading. It’s regarding the notorious case of Fr. Murphy — written by the presiding judge in his case.  A snip: Since my name and comments in the matter […]

Fewer annulments?

posted by jmcgee

Some people are predicting a “crackdown,” at least in the United States, but the people in a position to know disagree: American Catholic marriage tribunalists are denying rumors of a Vatican crackdown on the high number of annulments granted in […]

“There is no better time for repentance” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

“The crisis of authority endures. There has been some accountability for the abusers, but not nearly enough for the bishops who enabled them. And now the shadow of past sins threatens to engulf this papacy. Popes do not resign. But […]

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

The Palm Sunday Blessing of the Streets in Santa Ana, California — an annual tradition that many feel has helped spur a dramatic drop in violent crime in the community. Read all about it here.

How could it happen?

posted by jmcgee

For some handy answers, James Martin, S.J. has pulled together a number of the conclusions drawn from the National Review Board that investigated the scandal in this country.   It shows how complicated the problem really is — and how it […]

“Knocked to our knees once again…”

posted by jmcgee

At mass this Palm Sunday, New York’s Archbishop had a few things to say about this week’s news — and was roundly applauded for it: Archbishop Timothy Dolan was greeted with applause after finishing Palm Sunday Mass by defending Pope […]

What the New York Times won’t tell you

posted by jmcgee

Some helpful context on some stories that have been in the news lately. From the Associated Press, three years ago: Students in America’s schools are groped. They’re raped. They’re pursued, seduced and think they’re in love. An Associated Press investigation […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

I alluded to it here, but it’s worth its own post: “To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers, adulterers and hypocrites of every description. It also, at the same time, identifies […]

The pope’s conversion

posted by jmcgee

John Allen has taken pen in hand and written an op-ed piece for the New York Times that puts the present crisis in a valuable context: Considerable skepticism surrounds the Vatican’s insistence that in 1980 the pope, then Archbishop Joseph […]

She lost me after the second sentence

posted by jmcgee

This is how Maureen Dowd begins her latest column: Yup, we need a Nope. A nun who is pope. If you want to read on, go right ahead. You can’t say you weren’t warned. 

Simply thrilling: “The Prayer for Haiti”

posted by jmcgee

As often as we’ve all heard this song, I doubt anyone has heard “The Prayer” performed like this — see if you can spot some of the familiar faces (including The Priests!) adding their voices to this soaring rendition.  And […]

Homily for March 28, 2010: Palm Sunday

posted by jmcgee

One of the more remarkable aspects of the gospel we just heard is the WAY in which we heard it. This week is the only time that the gospel is proclaimed by someone besides a priest or deacon – every […]

What went wrong?

posted by jmcgee

This thoughtful piece by Fr. Raymond DeSouza offers an answer that seems to be on target: In the 1960s, like much of society and after the Second Vatican Council, the Church simply abandoned her disciplinary life. Doctrinal dissent was not […]

Report: Cardinal Brady to quit

posted by jmcgee

From across the pond, a report about a move many have been clamoring for: The Vatican will force the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, to quit if he refuses to resign over the growing […]

What about Rudy?

posted by jmcgee

Canon lawyer Ed Peters is batting around Canon 915 — withholding communion from someone who persists in grave sin — and says the most obvious case for applying the canon seems to be Nancy Pelosi: I suggest that there is […]

Irish pubs to open on Good Friday

posted by jmcgee

It’s always been a “dry” holy day in Ireland — but not this year: A Limerick judge ruled Thursday that the city’s 110 pubs can open April 2 because the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens […]

A deacon’s “Annunciation”

posted by jmcgee

When she saw these images of the Annunciation, the wife of a deacon in Alaska sent me an icon created by her husband. It’s a stunner.  Below is the Annunciation by Deacon Charles Rohrbacher, from the Diocese of Juneau.

Do the deacon dance!

posted by jmcgee

And now for something completely different: here’s part of the closing mass at the just-concluded Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. It includes the procession of all the clergy — including a dancing deacon.  Really. 

The handmaid of the Lord

posted by jmcgee

For today, the Feast of the Annunciation… “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of […]

Faith in 3-D

posted by jmcgee

My siblings in Catholic media, Catholic TV in Boston, are taking the New Evangelization into another dimension: Avatars and Mad Hatters are already performing before American audiences in 3-D, and Shrek is coming soon. Now, a national Catholic television network […]

Deacon ministers at “a place to start over”

posted by jmcgee

From Up North comes word of a deacon following in the footsteps of St. Lawrence: On a recent morning in downtown Anchorage, slush covered the parking lot of Brother Francis Shelter as groups of homeless people congregated around the doorway […]

Remembering Romero

posted by jmcgee

El Salvador made history today, three decades after the bloody event that gave the 20th century one of its most famous martyrs: Thirty years after Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as he celebrated Mass, a divided Salvadoran society still struggles […]

The NET’s latest catch: Rocco

posted by jmcgee

This just in, from the Brooklyn Desk …where the news release below just fluttered in over the transom. Some of you have undoubtedly seen Rocco here or here. Well, now you’ll be able to see, and hear, more of him.    […]

Bishops on health care bill: “Profoundly flawed”

posted by jmcgee

The USCCB has finally weighed in on the health care vote: The U.S. bishops called on Congress and people in the Catholic community to make sure promises are kept that new health care legislation will not expand abortions in the […]

“Now there is a loss of trust in the church…”

posted by jmcgee

The New York Times this morning printed an essay from German author Peter Schneider, who raised some pointed questions about the Church in the pope’s homeland: Pope Benedict should also recognize how precarious the Catholic Church is in Germany. Like […]

Abuse claims drop

posted by jmcgee

A new report indicates that the Church may have turned a corner, at least in the United States: While the Roman Catholic church in Europe reels from a widening sex abuse crisis, the scandal that has plagued the U.S. church […]

Mary’s Way of the Cross

posted by jmcgee

For the last few years, my parish has offered a unique interpretation of the Stations of the Cross during Lent: “Mary’s Way of the Cross,” by Fr. Richard Furey, CSsR. It’s a dramatic, poignant, heart-wrenching retelling of the Passion, through […]

Staying together for the mortgage

posted by jmcgee

The recession may be hard on the pocket book, but it may be keeping together more marriages, as a result: In the Great Recession, breaking up is hard to do. With housing values depressed and jobs disappearing, divorce has become […]

A priest’s last mass

posted by jmcgee

Here’s something out of the ordinary: a priest who is choosing to step away from priesthood, and being remarkably candid about it: The Rev. Tom Farley looked at packed pews Sunday morning and made a promise. “There is an elephant […]

Stupak: “We have an agreement”

posted by jmcgee

The passionate pro-life Democrat (and Catholic) is satisfied that the health care reform bill will not use federal funds for abortion: House Democrats who had withheld support of the health care legislation because of abortion concerns said Sunday afternoon that […]

“With deep regret…”

posted by jmcgee

“We are bishops, not politicians, policy experts or legislative tacticians. We are also pastors, teachers, and citizens. At this point of decision, we cannot compromise on basic moral principles. We can only urge — and hope and pray — that […]

Maureen Dowd’s sister act

posted by jmcgee

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has evidently been sharpening her stiletto, to take another stab at the Church, but the point is really pretty dull. In every sense. There is so much wrong with her latest column, I don’t […]

“With all the power of my heart…”

posted by jmcgee

Like a lot of people, I get inundated with pleas for money from various religious orders. But I claim a soft spot in my heart for a hearty band of Trappists who live in the homeland of my grandparents: they […]

Biden, abortion, and bishops

posted by jmcgee

Yesterday, the country’s first Catholic Vice President had a few things to say about health care reform and abortion: Vice President Joseph Biden, a practicing Catholic, is using his faith and his position to try and help convince those in […]

O’Malley on health care bill: “It’s very disturbing to see…”

posted by jmcgee

“Health care is such an important issue for the United States. It’s very disturbing to see that there seems to be a rush to push through legislation without carefully weighing all of the consequences. I think it’s unfortunate that some […]

Homily for March 21, 2010: 5th Sunday in Lent

posted by jmcgee

Today’s gospel is, to a great extent, about second chances. Someone who knows about that is an Air Force pilot named Joe Kittinger. In the late 1950s, Joe Kittinger was the director of Project Excelsior, a government program to develop […]

What the sermons said

posted by jmcgee

Here’s an unusual idea, and it might make for an interesting exercise for a homiletics class. A group of journalists headed out to 10 different churches in Ireland last Sunday, to hear the homilies and write about what they heard. […]

What is Passion Sunday?

posted by jmcgee

Good question. Those of us who are of a certain age (cough, cough) remember references to it from the ’60s. But that fell out of fashion. If you’re curious, the good people at New Advent have a comprehensive explanation: everything […]

“I am truly sorry”

posted by jmcgee

“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous […]

The odd couple: Nancy Pelosi and St. Joseph

posted by jmcgee

Um, isn’t that feast she’s talking about in May? I’m just sayin’ …

St. Joseph’s Day, 2010: real estate’s best friend

posted by jmcgee

With the housing market being what it is, more people are turning to everybody’s most venerated father and carpenter to help sell their homes. One take on the subject: Saint Joseph is known as the patron saint of this industry. […]

St. Joe

posted by jmcgee

For the beloved saint’s feast day, here’s a striking and unusual image of the carpenter and his young son, by artist John Collier.  Doesn’t he look a little like Patrick Stewart?  H/T Dymphna.

A bishop blogs about health care reform

posted by jmcgee

One of America’s blogging bishops is Bishop Robert Lynch, from St. Petersburg, Florida. He’s been posting his analysis of the health care debate, and yesterday added these thoughts: Last night I received an e-mail from Sister Carol Keehan whom I […]

Bookmaker gives odds for papal resignation

posted by jmcgee

Yes, you read that right. Details: With the Catholic Church currently embroiled in a sex abuse scandal, leading online bookmaker PaddyPower.com has shortened its odds on Pope Benedict XVI resigning his papacy from 12/1 to 3/1. The Irish site stated […]

From Old St. Patrick’s: a Gaelic mass

posted by jmcgee

Yesterday, Archbishop Dolan announced that the Archdiocese of New York would get its very first basilica: the historic Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in lower Manhattan. Fittingly, the previous weekend the old church — forerunner of the glorious temple in midtown […]

The state of Catholic preaching

posted by jmcgee

The sage Msgr. Charles Pope has a few thoughts about what goes on (and doesn’t) up in the pulpit: When I talk with Catholics who have left the Church, the number one reason I get that they left was poor […]

A patron saint for drug smugglers?

posted by jmcgee

Yes. Believe it or not, a devotion has sprung up in Mexico: In these dark times, the faithful still come to worship in the chapel of Jesus Malverde, Mexico’s patron saint of drug traffickers. They kneel in front of his […]

Hiding from Hyde

posted by jmcgee

Is the Senate avoiding something on the issue of health care reform? Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, from the USCCB, thinks so: The thousands of pages in the health care reform legislation contain much to ponder, but what’s most puzzling is […]

“It always begins with a whisper in the hallway…”

posted by jmcgee

And who knows better about whispers than Rocco Palmo?  He stopped by the offices of “Currents” recently and was interviewed for a segment that we call “I WITNESS.” Among other things, he talked about why he does what he does. […]

Nuns back health care reform bill

posted by jmcgee

This appears to be a big break from what the USCCB is advising: Catholic nuns, in an unusual split from the powerful Catholic bishops, came out in favor of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, offering potentially important political cover […]

Revealed: the spiritual side of Irish soda bread

posted by jmcgee

Here’s something I never knew: the spiritual seeds of Irish soda bread. According to this item from America Magazine, it has to do with the cross that is cut on top: It’s scientific, primarily, because it allows the heat to […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart. I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back, […]

“Follow the fellow who follows a dream…”

posted by jmcgee

For St. Patrick’s Day: a classic that, while not exactly Irish, certainly has the Emerald Isle in its heart. (Aside: my wife, Irish to the core, sang this at our wedding reception, and it never fails to plant a lump […]

Does universal health care reduce abortions?

posted by jmcgee

Here’s one provocative take on the debate now raging in this country, from T.R. Reid in the Washington Post: The latest United Nations comparative statistics, available at http://data.un.org, demonstrate the point clearly. The U.N. data measure the number of abortions […]

What did Benedict really do?

posted by jmcgee

Andrew Sullivan just lobbed this grenade into the blogosphere: A priest is discovered to have been actively molesting children. His superior is notified in 1980. One of the things he is told of is the priest’s forcing an 11 year […]

It’s all about bunnies, eggs and chocolate

posted by jmcgee

Some surprising news about what folks believe about Easter: While most Americans describe Easter as a religious holiday, less than half of U.S. adults surveyed link it specifically to the Resurrection of Jesus, a Barna Group study shows. Seven in […]

The Latino paradox

posted by jmcgee

Latino immigrants are having a powerful impact on the American Catholic Church — but a new study raises questions about whether that impact will last: New arrivals from Spanish-speaking countries have helped the Catholic Church maintain its status as the […]

Bishops on health care bill: “It must be opposed…”

posted by jmcgee

“Two basic principles…continue to shape the concerns of the Catholic bishops: health care means taking care of the health needs of all, across the human life span; and the expansion of health care should not involve the expansion of abortion […]

Becoming Catholic: “It’s like being part of a big family”

posted by jmcgee

Nashville has an impressively large number of people about to join the Church this Easter — and the local secular press is even taking notice: When she was growing up, Lori W. Caste decided not to get baptized. Her father […]

Discovering “The Human Experience”

posted by jmcgee

It’s been floating around for a couple of years in various forms, and popping up at private screenings and film festivals, but now it appears “The Human Experience” will finally arrive in movie theaters next month. I had the chance […]

Well, duh

posted by jmcgee

Headline in The New York Times: Survey: Readers Don’t Want to Pay for News Online

The death of the death penalty?

posted by jmcgee

There’s some evidence of that: There is an increasing move away from the death penalty, according to participants in a recent congress. From Feb. 24-26, campaigners against the death penalty met at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty, in […]

Vatican: DON’T blame it on celibacy

posted by jmcgee

Rome is using this day of rest to stir a debate that never seems to rest: The Vatican on Sunday denied that its celibacy requirement for priests was the root cause of the clerical sex abuse scandal convulsing the church […]

“Out of darkness, God has called us…”

posted by jmcgee

This Sunday afforded our choir an opportunity to sing one of my favorite modern hymns: “Out of Darkness” by Christopher Walker. (I chose it for my Mass of Thanksgiving, too, and we’ll hear it a couple of times during Holy […]

And now…iStations

posted by jmcgee

You can pray the rosary on your iPhone — and now, the Stations of the Cross: A new iTunes application is being offered to give busy people a way of praying the Stations of the Cross anytime, anywhere. Ave Maria […]

Ruling: “under God” is constitutional

posted by jmcgee

For some reason, this bit of news didn’t get much attention, but it’s worth noting: The Pledge of Allegiance, with its inclusion of the words “under God,” is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday (March 11), reversing a […]

Catholic hospitals endorse health care bill

posted by jmcgee

I’ll be curious to hear what the USCCB has to say about this piece of news: The head of the national association of Catholic hospitals, which holds great sway in the health care debate, threw her support Saturday behind the […]

Boycotting Beck?

posted by jmcgee

The controversy over Glenn Beck’s remarks last week continues, with some Christian leaders speaking out: An evangelical leader is calling for a boycott of Glenn Beck’s television show and challenging the Fox News personality to a public debate after Beck […]

“Everybody gets covered. Nobody gets deliberately killed.”

posted by jmcgee

I suspect most people in the pews have never heard of Richard Doerflinger. But he may be having a significant impact on their lives. From NPR: Richard Doerflinger doesn’t look the part of a high-powered political strategist. Bearded and bespectacled, […]

Nuns on the run

posted by jmcgee

This is really delightful — and on a local news station, no less. Enjoy. H/T The A.

Homily for March 14, 2010: 4th Sunday in Lent

posted by jmcgee

(This is for Cycle A, for the Second Scrutiny.  The scrutinies add time to the liturgy, and the gospel reading is quite long, so I kept the homily brief.  Last week’s mass was about an hour and 15 minutes!) Most […]

A day in the life of a priest

posted by jmcgee

This nifty video was done entirely with an iPhone and a Mac, and it’s an intriguing little glimpse inside the clerical life. Meet Father Nels Gjengdahl, a priest of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. H/T CNS.

Jesus gets panned

posted by jmcgee

Read all about it here.

Deacon apologizes for homily remark about “Adam and Steve”

posted by jmcgee

I’ve never heard of someone making a public apology for something he said in a homily. Until now: The Gloucestershire Gay and Lesbian Community has accepted a Catholic deacon’s apology for preaching that “marriage is between Adam and Eve — […]

“It’s not a sin”

posted by jmcgee

Feeling guilty about backsliding this Lent? It’s not as bad as you may think: Maybe you gave up chocolate, but no one was watching when you passed the candy dish. Maybe you gave up taking the elevator, but your legs […]

Blame it on celibacy

posted by jmcgee

This just in, from the Austria Desk: The Archbishop of Vienna today said priestly celibacy could be one of the causes of the sex abuse scandals to hit the Catholic church. In an article for Thema Kirche, his diocesan magazine, […]

Could a guy from Queens be the next American Idol? — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

After catching this amazing performance by Michael Lynche last night, I’m starting to think so. Beautiful, haunting, and real. Take a look. mike 16 @ Yahoo! Video UPDATE: For those who are curious, here’s an interesting piece on the story […]

The Hallmark Jesus

posted by jmcgee

I don’t know what’s more astonishing: to find this kind of clarion sentiment expressed today, or to find it expressed in the mainstream media: It was a controversy tailor-made for the TV cameras: A lesbian couple in the liberal bastion […]

Will abortion kill the bill?

posted by jmcgee

The issue seems to be a defining one for several Democrats in the House: The health care reform bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve appears to be dead on arrival in the House, as seven anti-abortion Democrats intend […]

Maybe he just overdid it on Ash Wednesday

posted by jmcgee

Something rare and remarkable, from National Geographic: an all-black penguin. As one expert described it: “Well that is astonishing,” he said. “I’ve never ever seen that before. It’s a one in a zillion kind of mutation somewhere. The animal has […]

Ah, just another day in the newsroom

posted by jmcgee

H/T The Anchoress EMBED-Awesome News Room Fight on Live TV – Watch more free videos

Sex abuse: would women in power have made a difference?

posted by jmcgee

The Vatican newspaper thinks so. This little item should raise a few eyebrows — and blood pressures: A greater presence of women in decision-making roles in the church might have helped remove the “veil of masculine secrecy” that covered priestly […]

Obama’s “spiritual cabinet” includes a retired cardinal

posted by jmcgee

It’s impossible to tell how much influence these figures have, but it’s an interesting group: Near the end of a bumpy first year in office, President Obama readied for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but before he left, he called […]

How long is your homily?

posted by jmcgee

The Vatican has a suggestion: Homilies should be no longer than eight minutes — a listener’s average attention span, said the head of the synod office. Priests and deacons should also avoid reading straight from a text and instead work […]

“The light is on for you”

posted by jmcgee

Like a lot of places, Boston is trying to lure people back to the confessional this Lent: In an effort to get the reluctant faithful back to confession, the Archdiocese of Boston is launching an unprecedented campaign – called “The […]

Eat up: recipes for Lent

posted by jmcgee

Looking for some ideas for your Lenten menu? Some cooks in suburban Washington can help you out: Bighearted and proud of her Eastern European heritage, Daria Parrell is a woman who likes to count her blessings. Among them: her ability […]

Chaput: “Our schools are meant to be ‘partners in faith’ with parents”

posted by jmcgee

“The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are ‘bad,’ or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is […]

Dominicans enjoy The Oprah Effect

posted by jmcgee

It seems their appearance on the hit talk show did wonders for them and their vocations: Since the show aired, the sisters have received positive feedback from all sides. Sister Maria Guadalupe reported that while traveling by plane, a flight […]

A radical change on abortion?

posted by jmcgee

The Associated Press takes a look at abortion and health care reform this morning, and concludes that the legislation being considered would signal a change on abortion — but what that means is, evidently, debatable: President Barack Obama’s health care […]

The trailer for next year’s Oscar winner

posted by jmcgee

In fact, it’s the trailer for every Oscar winner. And it’s a very clever deconstruction that helps to explain what we were watching Sunday night. Enjoy.

Let’s get mystical…

posted by jmcgee

…because, judging from this assessment, we need it: Mysticism is dying, and taking true religion with it. Monasteries have dwindled. Contemplative orders have declined. Our religious leaders no longer preach the renunciation of the world; our culture scoffs at the […]

The gospel according to Beck

posted by jmcgee

“I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising […]

Meet one fan of Pius XII: “Just a Jewish kid from Queens”

posted by jmcgee

Pius XII has his boosters, and his critics. But he has at least one big fan from my own backyard — who also just happens to be Jewish: At home here on Long Island, he is Gary L. Krupp, medical […]

Church bans child of gay couple from school

posted by jmcgee

A controversial decision by the Catholic Church in Colorado is making headlines — and sparking protests: A crowd holding signs protesting the treatment of a student with lesbian parents exchanged smiles and waves with parishioners walking into a Boulder church […]

“This ain’t no place for the weary kind…”

posted by jmcgee

Here’s the haunting, beautiful ballad that just won the Oscar: “The Weary Kind,” by Ryan Bingham and T. Bone Burnett, performed by Bingham.

“We’re all wanted by someone”

posted by jmcgee

Take 90 seconds and look at this remarkable, moving video. And pray that more women in this circumstance make this choice. H/T Msgr. Pope.

If

posted by jmcgee

At first blush, I thought this brief essay was a classic example of someone who had a deadline to meet, and nothing to say, and an editor breathing down his neck. But I’m thinking, no:  he actually has a good […]

Report: Muslims desecrate communion

posted by jmcgee

But those behind the incident are pleading ignorance.  Check out this news from Malaysia: A Malaysian Muslim magazine issued an apology after two of its journalists joined a Catholic service and allegedly desecrated the communion wafer. AFP reported the magazine, […]

“War is hell”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the punchline for the funniest 30 seconds from the classic “Airplane!” TCM was showing this last night. It’s not as good as I remember it; the experience of watching it in your living room is very different from watching […]

Homily for March 7, 2010: 3rd Sunday in Lent

posted by jmcgee

When my wife and I got married, a friend gave us a practical, but highly symbolic gift: a clock. It’s a lovely tabletop model, in a glass case, with gold fixtures and various moving parts. The gift was especially meaningful […]

Shift happens

posted by jmcgee

Especially in the world of “edgy” advertising. The ads for the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” are irreverent — but do they go too far?  I spotted the one below on the subway this week.    

Pro-life pharmacy shuts down

posted by jmcgee

Many months ago, I posted this promising news about a rare pro-life pharmacy in suburban Washington, DC. Now, sadly, the economic hard times have caught up with it: The only pro-life pharmacy in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area has announced […]

Inspiration for a life of whoa

posted by jmcgee

Well, out of Hawaii comes this item, and it’s certainly something I haven’t seen in New York City: Attend any Big Island rodeo and you will see small leather crosses attached to the saddles of many of the riders. Each […]

“Extra small” condoms for boys?

posted by jmcgee

Yes. Incredible but true. They’re called the Hotshot, and they’ve just gone on sale in Switzerland: Family planning groups and the Swiss Aids Federation campaigned to have the Hotshot produced after a number of studies, including the government study researched […]

Baptist church pamphlet mocks eucharist as “death cookie”

posted by jmcgee

Some disturbing news out of Tennessee: Two Baptist church pamphlets are causing controversy with a Roman Catholic church in Pigeon Forge. The pamphlet suggests the Roman Catholic church isn’t Christian and the pope is an anti-Christ. While some people say […]

Petition protests papal visit to UK

posted by jmcgee

It seems some in Britain don’t want taxpayer money to pay for the pontiff’s upcoming trip to the UK: A petition protesting against Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain later this year is to be handed in to Downing Street […]

From the Brooklyn Desk…

posted by jmcgee

Rocco has the goods on some significant strategic planning underway in Baltimore and Brooklyn that will result in the closing and consolidating of parishes (Brooklyn) and schools (Baltimore). Here at The Bench, the hardworking staff at the Brooklyn Desk wandered […]

“This too shall pass”: genius on display

posted by jmcgee

Some people just have entirely too much time on their hands. But there’s clearly a mad genius at work here. Take a look and marvel at the imagination behind this.  It’s Rube Goldberg on acid. H/T Sullivan

The Martin Chronicles

posted by jmcgee

That would be Fr. James Martin, Jesuit author, sage, TV personality and FOB (Friend of the Bench). The good padre has a new book coming out, “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” and he’s making the rounds to promote it. […]

“In the Vatican there are members of Satanic sects…”

posted by jmcgee

That startling statement by a leading exorcist is making headlines — and getting reaction: A renowned exorcist in Rome recently released a book of memoirs in which he declares to know of the existence of Satanic sects in the Vatican […]

Want to build a Wiccan altar in shop class?

posted by jmcgee

Forget it. (And that evidently goes for any other religious symbol, too.) Just weeks after a Wiccan worship space caused a stir at the Air Force Academy, a teenager’s plan to build an altar in Iowa is causing problems, too: […]

The Keillor memorandum

posted by jmcgee

The celebrated humorist and radio host is scheduled to speak at a Catholic gathering next month — and it’s raising a few eyebrows: The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) has invited Garrison Keillor, a pro-abortion, pro-gay “marriage” Episcopalian, as a […]

“For advice on confessions, press one…”

posted by jmcgee

It was only a matter of time until someone came up with this nutty idea — and wouldn’t you know, it comes to us from, of all places, France: A premium rate phone line in France is offering Catholics the […]

What’s on your wall?

posted by jmcgee

 The Divine Mercy painting of Jesus Christ hangs from a damaged house in Iloca, Chile.  Monday, March 1, 2010.  Photo from AP / Fernando Vergara

Yes, Paddy Chayefsky was a prophet

posted by jmcgee

Further evidence that the great movie “Network” wasn’t a satire, but a prophecy. NBC News correspondent Natalie Morales has lent her name and credibility (whatever is left of it) to “The Marriage Ref,” Jerry Seinfeld’s attempt at reality TV comedy. […]

90-year-old remembers: “I got a good upbringing from the sisters”

posted by jmcgee

From Baltimore comes this wonderful story about an orphan who never forgot where she came from — and 90 years later, is giving something back: Cora Barnes has a deep respect for the upbringing she received at the Baltimore orphanage […]

What they don’t show you on TV

posted by jmcgee

Photo by Matt Labash / The Weekly Standard Images like this don’t pop up on the Evening News. In the above photo, Missionary Vern Conaway offers Hail Mary’s for a dead infant in the hospital morgue in Haiti. It comes […]

“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry…”

posted by jmcgee

So begins one of the most widely recited prayers in the Catholic Church, the penitential Act of Contrition, said at the conclusion of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lent is a season for revisiting this sacrament, and for attempting to make […]

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 ...

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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