Advertisement

The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

January 1970 Archives

Lost

posted by jmcgee

From Salon comes this wrenching story of a young woman struggling to save her brother from his own madness: Like any New Yorker, I was no stranger to homeless people. I passed by them on my way to the shiny […]

Advertisement

John the Baptist in Bulgaria?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe, according to local news reports: Parts of St. John the Baptist’s relics might have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea town of Sozopol, report Bulgarian media. Archaeologists investigating the Sv. Ivan (St. John) island off […]

Advertisement

What do you preach at a wedding?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the question that is lurking in the back of Cathleen Falsani’s mind. She’s been asked to officiate at the wedding of two friends, and is mulling what to say. From the Huffington Post: In the Book of Common Prayer’s […]

Advertisement

Church plans to burn Quran on 9/11

posted by jmcgee

Interfaith dialogue in action.  These people need prayers. This is the sort of nonsense that gives Christianity a bad name.  Comments are now closed on this thread.

Conversion aversion: professor alleges discrimination after she became Christian

posted by jmcgee

A lecturer at Oxford University’s Center for Jewish Studies claims colleagues discriminated against her after she converted to Christianity. From the Telegraph: Dr Tali Argov says she was overlooked for promotion, stripped of her privileges and cold-shouldered at social gatherings. […]

The Bench at “The Cafe”

posted by jmcgee

During my recent visit to Cincinnati, I spent a pleasant hour sipping coffee at “The Catholic Cafe,” the radio show hosted by Deacon Jeff Drzycimski. The program we taped is now online for those who’d like to hear Your Humble […]

Baby drowns during baptism

posted by jmcgee

Shocking news out of Eastern Europe: The parents decided to baptize the child on July 22. The priest of the local church, who is also the chief of all priests of the district, was not going to be there, so […]

The vanishing nuns

posted by jmcgee

In Britain, it’s a crisis that could lead to extinction, according to the BBC: The future of four Catholic orders in Cambridge is in doubt, because no new nuns have joined since the 1980s. Sister Gemma Simmonds is a lecturer […]

Smile and say “Cheesecake!”

posted by jmcgee

From the Brooklyn Desk… The Bench has just gotten word that Friday is National Cheesecake Day. The good people at Junior’s — a Brooklyn institution, if ever there was one — are offering a free slice of their iconic desert […]

Singing nuns get death threats

posted by jmcgee

Disturbing news out of France, about a group of nuns who made headlines recently: Benedictine nuns from a secluded convent in southern France have received death threats after winning a deal aimed at creating a chart-topping album, a newspaper reported […]

BREAKING: Ken Howell rehired

posted by jmcgee

From the Chicago Tribune: The University of Illinois says an instructor who recently lost his job over a complaint about his religious beliefs can continue teaching. However, the university says it will pay those teaching Catholic-related courses rather than have […]

Don’t make plans for June …

posted by jmcgee

That seems to be the message from some ads at bus stops in Colorado. CNN has the story, below.     

Anne Rice: “I quit being a Christian” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The best-selling writer who made headlines with her dramatic conversion (or reversion) and wrote a popular book about her journey back to Catholicism, has changed her mind.  She made the announcement on Facebook: “I quit being a Christian. I’m out. […]

Anchors away: the future of TV news?

posted by jmcgee

What would Ron Burgundy say? We’re not planning a move in this direction at “Currents,” but you have to wonder: could the future face of TV news…be faceless? Check it out: A ship can float without an anchor, so why […]

A priest continues his ministry, despite Alzheimer’s

posted by jmcgee

From Baltimore comes this moving story of a priest who is continuing his ministry, despite the onset of a deadly disease. George Matysek has the story in the Catholic Review: After attempting suicide several years ago at a Cumberland penitentiary, […]

Arizona bishops praise ruling on immigration bill

posted by jmcgee

Breaking news from Phoenix: Arizona’s Catholic bishops commended a July 28 ruling that blocked enforcement of the most controversial sections of the state’s contentious immigration law a day before it takes effect. They also voiced a hope “that reaction to […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“When you hoard all these things in the insatiable bosom of greed, do you suppose that you do nothing wrong in cheating so many people? Who is a greedy man? Someone who is not content with what is sufficient. Who […]

Catholic schools shrinking, struggling

posted by jmcgee

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of Catholic education in this country? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a hard look at what’s happening in its own backyard, and then surveys the landscape elsewhere: Catholic schools around the nation […]

Want an Apple, Adam?

posted by jmcgee

Well, I now want this for my MacBook: Want one?  You can read more, and order it, here.

Worth a thousand words

posted by jmcgee

Benedict with his bling. Details here.

Hong Kong ordains its youngest permanent deacon

posted by jmcgee

And he’s not as young as you may think: The Hong Kong diocese has ordained its youngest ever permanent deacon at the age of 45. Stephen Kwok Ping-fai was one of a group of four ordained at the Cathedral of […]

The long path of Ken Howell

posted by jmcgee

Many know him only as the University of Illinois professor who was sacked for explaining Catholic teaching on homosexual behavior. But the backstory is very compelling — and his life up to that point anything but ordinary: The University of […]

“Miracle” deacon to proclaim the gospel at Newman beatification

posted by jmcgee

Not really a surprising bit of news — but a very nice one nonetheless: Deacon Jack Sullivan, from the Archdiocese of Boston Massachusetts, is to proclaim the Gospel at the Cardinal Newman’s Beaitifcation Mass to be celebrated by Pope Benedict, […]

Tony Blair, Ambassador to the Holy See?

posted by jmcgee

A BBC blogger is raising the possibility, after noting a couple other names: If not Chris Patten or Ann Widdecombe, then perhaps Paul Murphy, the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland — a devout Catholic and a papal knight […]

Rhode Island row: debate delayed over statue of Mary

posted by jmcgee

Seems a candidate brought a statue of Mary to a political debate, and created an unholy mess: Four mayoral hopefuls took the stage at the Providence Career & Technical Academy auditorium on Wednesday in a debate centered on the minority […]

Just another day in Queens

posted by jmcgee

Yep. Happens all the time. I’m pushing my cart through the aisles of the grocery store in my Queens neighborhood, and people just break into song. Sure.  Why not?  I love New York.

Singing “A Simple Song”

posted by jmcgee

A big fat h/t to The Concord Pastor, who posted this on his blog today. This remains one of my favorite pieces of music. In fact, one of the sopranos in our parish choir was going to sing it at […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“This is another calling for me. I don’t think you can change a community unless you love it first. Jesus gave a command to love one another. I take that seriously. He also said, ‘This is how people will know […]

How a deacon inspired one man to the priesthood

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a heartening vocation story that should serve as a reminder to us all that every life can bear witness: When Father Michael Silloway was a young man, the epitome of the Catholic faith was his grandfather, a permanent deacon […]

Fr. Lawrence Boadt dies

posted by jmcgee

When I was in formation, I spent many weeks lugging around a massive volume “Reading the Old Testament” by Fr. Lawrence Boadt. (My shoulder still hasn’t recovered.) A couple years later, I actually got to meet Fr. Boadt at the […]

Mad Men: one day and counting

posted by jmcgee

At long last, after nearly a year, television’s best drama returns Sunday night. I’ll be watching. And listening. The writing crackles and hums, whistles and sings.  And the casting?  Pitch perfect.

Things left unsaid

posted by jmcgee

I stumbled on this today, from my former CBS colleague Andrew Cohen (he still likes to call me “Rabbi”), and it’s too good to even try to describe. Just read it: The great love of my life marries today and […]

Sounds a lot like deacons

posted by jmcgee

“In many ways, we are told to be separated…you are religious or you are practical. But why can’t we be one person? The seen and the unseen — we manifest both. Most indigenous shamans don’t give up their day job. […]

Homily for July 25, 2010: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

Outside Jerusalem, you can visit an unusual church that could be one of the most important – and most overlooked – in the world. It’s a little off the beaten path. Unlike most churches in the Holy Land, this one […]

Oceanographer, heathen, deacon

posted by jmcgee

A local paper in Maryland has thrown the spotlight on a couple of newly ordained deacons in the Archdiocese of Washington. A snip: David Divins, of Jesus the Divine Word parish in Huntingtown, did not always know he had a […]

Why a priest should wear the collar

posted by jmcgee

How often do you see priests without collars? (Can you even tell?) Why should they wear them?  I stumbled on this compelling explanation. (Full disclosure: It was written by two priests. I know one of them, Fr. Gerald Murray, who’s […]

Convent will NOT be sold to Muslim group

posted by jmcgee

This news broke Thursday afternoon: The board of trustees of a Staten Island Catholic Church have rejected the controversial sale of a church building to a Muslim group looking to open a mosque. The collapse of the deal – which […]

“My year without sex”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the hook behind a new book by Cambridge-educated journalist Hephzibah Anderson. The author of “Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year Without Sex” chatted about it recently with TIME magazine: Looking back, what was the most surprising part of […]

Pittsburgh mourns death of a “living saint”

posted by jmcgee

Sad news, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Rev. Patrick Rager, 50, a Catholic priest widely regarded as a living saint for ministering to others as a fatal disease slowly paralyzed him, died Tuesday at home in West Homestead. “He really […]

Have some pasta, become a priest

posted by jmcgee

That seems to be the winning formula in Albany, which just ordained its largest number of priests in decades: In this era when vocations to the priesthood are as sluggish as the economy, the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is celebrating […]

What’s in your closet? How about just six pieces?

posted by jmcgee

Try living with just six pieces of clothing for a month and see what happens. Truth be told: this just might be the wardrobe for the ’10s — the out-of-work, out-of-money, foreclosed-and-desperate era of the chronically unemployed who find their […]

“Like the Magi, the Church has been traveling resolutely West…”

posted by jmcgee

The other day, I alerted you to the absorbing series on the Future of Catholicism that Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia has been shepherding over at Patheos. The kindly and humble Ms. A. is too modest to flaunt her own fabulousness […]

A saint for Oklahoma?

posted by jmcgee

A priest some consider a modern martyr is on the path to sainthood. Fr. Stanley Rother was murdered in Guatemala nearly 30 years ago, and his cause has now been sent to Rome. From Zenit: Father Rother (1935-1981) was a […]

Yep. That about says it.

posted by jmcgee

” … All your dissatisfaction with the Church seems to me to come from an incomplete understanding of’ sin. … what you seem actually to demand is that the Church put the kingdom of heaven on earth right here now, […]

What can you do with an empty confessional?

posted by jmcgee

Well, first of all, don’t try to sell it on eBay. From the Telegraph: The Catholic Church in Vienna has ruled that a former confessional cannot be used as a sauna. Bidding on a confessional described on eBay as ideal […]

Pregnant? A teenager? You can look SO cool!

posted by jmcgee

Hot on the heels of the Bristol Palin story comes this item about a store that caters to teens — and is now evidently seeking to exploit an untapped market: teens who are pregnant. Rod Dreher touched on it yesterday. […]

Hospitals change chapels into meditation rooms

posted by jmcgee

A desire to be more open and inclusive is forcing many hospitals to change the design and function of their chapels. An explanation: The shift to meditation rooms mirrors a growing trend among hospitals nationwide as health care centers try […]

“Did Trouble Me”: Tom Jones finds his soul

posted by jmcgee

It’s not unusual to still be a pop icon at 70 — think Tony Bennett, among others — but it’s pretty remarkable to reinvent oneself, suddenly, as a soulful interpreter of gospel music. And it’s even more unusual to do […]

Future shock?

posted by jmcgee

Across the way, over at Patheos, their shiny new Catholic portal-keeper Elizabeth Scalia has launched an ambitious series on the “Future of Catholicism.” It’s part of a larger look at the future of religion, and Elizabeth has collected an impressive […]

Louisiana bishops: no guns in Catholic churches

posted by jmcgee

I like what a priest from Brooklyn said about this last week: “I’m not in favor of bringing guns to church.  I’d be afraid that if somebody thought my homily was too long, they’d take out a gun and shoot […]

Mary Anne Marks: the interview

posted by jmcgee

If you saw this memorable video of Mary Anne Marks (Harvard ’10), you couldn’t fail to be impressed.  Not only did she give that speech in Latin (it’s actually an annual custom at Harvard), but she is also  joining the […]

CA: Commenters Anonymous

posted by jmcgee

It’s not a self-help group (not yet, anyway) but the influx of anonymous commenters, who can say anything without really taking responsibility for their words, can pose problems on news sites and, as I’ve discovered, in the blogosphere. CNN takes […]

Catholics care for immigrants in Italy — and most are Muslim

posted by jmcgee

With the immigration debate raging in this country — and the Church adding her voice to the chorus — it’s interesting to look at Italy, a predominantly Catholic country where immigration is also a concern. There is a concerted effort […]

The graet-est ice cream?

posted by jmcgee

What’s so great about Cincinnati? Graeter’s. End of discussion. I was a coward, and didn’t try their newest flavor, Blueberry Pie (though some people, I’m told, swear by it.)  I went with my personal fave, Cookies and Cream.  Did I […]

“Being in the thick of things where the Lord is at work”

posted by jmcgee

Shortly before I was ordained, a priest friend gave me a wonderful book on homiletics: “Preaching Better” by Bishop Ken Untener. At NDICE this weekend, I stumbled upon a collection of the late bishop’s writings, “The Practical Prophet,” and found […]

Seeing red over the “Orange Mass”

posted by jmcgee

You probably recall this bizarre video of a mass staged in connection with the World Cup. The priest in the middle of it all has been suspended — and his flock is unhappy: Parishioners of the Church of St Victor […]

Back from Ohio!

posted by jmcgee

I had a grand time at the NDICE conference in Cincinnati (I’ve finally learned how to spell it) and enjoyed rubbing elbows with my brother deacons from around the country. I’m told about 250 people were there, deacons and their […]

Homily for July 18, 2010: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

[Note: This homily was delivered last Sunday to about 250 deacons and their wives at the opening liturgy of the annual gathering of the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education (NDICE) at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I was also privileged […]

And I’m hoping to meet Les Nessman, too…

posted by jmcgee

I’m heading this morning to Cincinnati, to speak at the annual gathering of the NDICE (National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education) at Xavier University. If you’re there, stop by to say hello! Blogging will be very light until my return […]

“Oh, for crying out loud!”

posted by jmcgee

That’s how Elizabeth Scalia begins this desk-thumping screed against the Vatican PR team — and I couldn’t agree more. What were they thinking? Hello? As she notes: Honestly, do I have to go to Rome and storm the press office […]

Giglio, anyone?

posted by jmcgee

Today marks the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and some parishes around the world are also celebrating with the giglio. Whatzzat? Check this out: In Italian Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the residents of the community look forward to the annual […]

Baseball team hosts “Mass on the Grass”

posted by jmcgee

In suburban Chicago, a minor league baseball team is making a major league statement of faith: As any athlete will tell you, it’s always good to have God on your side before a big game. Tonight, the Kane County Cougars […]

New document on sex abuse, women’s ordination

posted by jmcgee

The long-awaited document was released this morning. CNS has a first look: The Vatican has revised its procedures for handling priestly sex abuse cases, streamlining disciplinary measures, extending the statute of limitations and defining child pornography as an act of […]

Keeping the faith: visiting China’s largest Catholic village

posted by jmcgee

What is it like to be a Catholic in China today?  This essay from Ignatius Insight offers a surprising, and moving, glimpse of survival in the face of persecution: One of the most astounding Catholic success stories in China is […]

Who’s your favorite priest?

posted by jmcgee

The folks at the Catholic Company launched a contest some months ago to find out — and they’ve posted some touching results right here. At a time when the priesthood is being dismissed or diminished or disdained, do yourself a […]

Report: more families can’t afford a funeral

posted by jmcgee

A sobering sign of the times, in this story out of Cleveland: For people who are struggling to make ends meet, a sudden expense can be devastating, and there are times it can be catastrophic. A growing number of local […]

Behold, the joyful and resilient heart of Haiti

posted by jmcgee

Six months after the devastating earthquake, this great video shows something we so rarely see in the face of disaster: joy. Take a moment and dance. Waka waka!

Is this the Round Table of Camelot?

posted by jmcgee

Some scholars seem to think so. From the Daily Mail: His is among the most enduring legends in our island’s history. King Arthur, the gallant warrior who gathered his knights around the Round Table at Camelot and rallied Christian Britons […]

A crippling disease in the Church

posted by jmcgee

Mark Shea puts his finger on it right here. It’s clericalism.  And you see it rear its ugly head in some of the most divisive issues afflicting the Church, beginning with women’s ordination: What drives the push for women’s ordination […]

To life: defying death, and dancing at Auschwitz

posted by jmcgee

This just might be one of the most startling videos you’ll see. People either love it or hate it — there is no middle ground. And there shouldn’t be. As YouTube describes it: On a recent trip to Europe, a […]

A “World Cup Mass” — complete with soccer balls?

posted by jmcgee

Um, yes. In the Netherlands.  If the “picnic mass” wasn’t too much for you, here’s another treat, h/t Al Kresta and Creative Minority Report. As Al puts it: Does this look like “sacred space” to you? Does this look like […]

“Extraordinary celebrants of the Eucharist”?

posted by jmcgee

A friend sent this along, and it is truly mind-boggling. Or maybe, mind-blowing. Read it and weep, or maybe laugh, from a diocese in Mississippi: In June, the Mission and Ministry in Mississippi Task Force Committee held meetings with the […]

Thanks. I needed that.

posted by jmcgee

I needed a lift last night, and The Anchoress gave it to me, with the clip below. I feel better already.  Crank up the volume and kick start your day.  And make it a happy one!

Medjugorje seers may go to Vatican to testify

posted by jmcgee

More news brewing on the Medjugorje front, according to the website Petrus. This, from the blog Catholic Light: Vicka Ivanković, Mirijana Dragičević, Marija Pavlović, Ivan Dragičević, Ivanka Ivanković and Jakov Čolo, the famous pseudo-seers of Medjugorje, will have to report […]

Becoming a father to a Father

posted by jmcgee

Anyone who has ever had a son or daughter enter religious life will appreciate this heartfelt essay by Peter Finney, Jr., describing the emotions of watching his son grow up to become a priest: Look for me in the first […]

“Hate speech”? Really?

posted by jmcgee

This item moved over the wire late Friday. The mind boggles: The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism after a student accused the instructor of engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees […]

Anglicans prepare to bolt over women bishops

posted by jmcgee

Could the trickle of Anglicans leaving their church turn into a flood? From the Telegraph: Hundreds of traditionalist clergy are set to leave the Church of England over plans to introduce women bishops. Leading Anglo-Catholic clergy warned that the failure […]

Just call me DG

posted by jmcgee

That seems to be the way things are headed, anyway: Note to the Village People: The lyrics in your biggest hit need an update. The organization previously known as the Y.M.C.A. is henceforth to be called “the Y.” One of […]

The Voice of God goes silent

posted by jmcgee

A friend who follows baseball — Mike “God Googler” Hayes — draws my attention to a big loss in the world of sports: Bob Sheppard, whose elegant intonation as the public-address announcer at Yankee Stadium for more than half a […]

The picnic mass, translated

posted by jmcgee

A few days ago, I posted this bizarre video of an outdoor mass in Austria. I asked if anyone could translate, and one of my readers — a deacon in Washington, DC — generously obliged. His text: On the 29th […]

Best Drudge headline this year

posted by jmcgee

Bill Clinton to Perform Weiner Wedding…

Quote of the day, on Hitchens

posted by jmcgee

“I would say it is appropriate and even mandatory to do what one can for another who is sick; and if you believe that praying helps, to pray. It is in any case an expression of one’s deep hopes. So […]

Remember: the story behind The Memorare

posted by jmcgee

That first word — “Remember…” — gives meaning and hope to one of the most popular prayers of the Church, the Memorare. A deacon friend today asked me to whisper one for him. That sparked quite a few remembrances of […]

Homily for July 11, 2010: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

If you visit the Holy Land, there is a museum that opened about a year ago that is getting a lot of attention, and attracting a lot of visitors. It stands on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho – the […]

Report: attempted ordination of women a “serious crime”

posted by jmcgee

While much attention has been focused on the Vatican’s new norms to cover clerical sex abuse — norms that are due out any day now — Catholic News Service reports that another item may also be covered: The Vatican is […]

“I like my faith in purple…”

posted by jmcgee

It’s a question that people are asking more and more: with all the problems today, why stay Catholic?  Here’s part of one man’s long answer, from the Sunday magazine of the Boston Globe: I like my faith in purple – […]

Family of butchered Catholic teacher forgives his attackers

posted by jmcgee

Days after a teacher in India was brutally attacked, his family is offering words of forgiveness: The family of a professor in southern India whose hand was cut off by suspected Islamic extremists have told the BBC they forgive his […]

Bristol Palin’s brilliant career move

posted by jmcgee

Thank you, Bristol Palin, for showing us how youthful mistakes and irresponsibility can turn into a financial windfall. Gail Collins puts it in context: Bristol… is currently the teen ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation to prevent teen pregnancy. She is […]

What a stupid idea

posted by jmcgee

A friend found this ad and posted it on his Facebook page. A portable telephone that you can take anywhere? That’s just nuts. Who’d want that?

Jay Leno, bigot

posted by jmcgee

This item crossed over the wire this afternoon: On last night’s “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno said the following: “Oh, and a Catholic priest in Connecticut has been charged with stealing $1.3 million in church money and using the money for […]

Ministering to gay Catholics

posted by jmcgee

A couple weeks back, a parish in Manhattan drew a lot of attention — and criticism — for its involvement in New York’s annual “gay pride” parade. I posted an item on the controversy and it got some lively comment. […]

The hallmark of a truly beautiful church

posted by jmcgee

The simmering thread about church music got me to thinking about church architecture. (No, I’m not going to start another Top 10 list…but it’s tempting…) I remembered a conversation I had when I met Fr. George Rutler, at his magnificent […]

The 10 Best Hymns?

posted by jmcgee

Yesterday, I linked to a First Things post about the “10 Worst Hymns.” A friend and longtime reader wrote to me this morning, disappointed: I think lists like this could be a turn off for some Catholics of my generation […]

A priest who spreads the gospel like a gangster

posted by jmcgee

He may be the most unusual priest in all of Mexico — but he speaks to his flock in a language they understand. His story, from the New York Times: Frederick Loos was cussing like a sailor the other night, […]

Taking the plunge

posted by jmcgee

A wedding photographer, perhaps confused about which sacrament he’s attending, opts for full immersion.

Is the Church finished?

posted by jmcgee

Ross Douthat has some thoughts on that question: The Church has been horrifyingly corrupt in previous eras and still survived. It’s been led by ecclesiastics who make Bernard Law’s hands look clean, and still survived. It’s faced fiercer enemies than […]

Only 10?

posted by jmcgee

That crafty Elizabeth Scalia has drawn our attention to a list of “The Ten Worst Hymns”, which has some real doozies — some of which I’d all but forgotten. One particularly awful one — so bad, it’s good — is […]

Ladies and gentlemen: the picnic mass

posted by jmcgee

And now, from Austria, a little something that looks like a holiday barbecue which was, evidently, Holy Mass. (H/T) Can anyone translate?? 

More on Mary Anne Marks, Harvard’s Latin orator

posted by jmcgee

Some days back, I posted the eye-popping speech — in Latin — delivered by a young woman from my parish, Mary Anne Marks (Harvard ’10). Now, I’ve learned that the Harvard Gazette did a short piece on her, and some […]

Goal! The conversion story of a World Cup soccer star

posted by jmcgee

It happened in May, just a few weeks before the World Cup began. CNA has details: The Argentinean daily La Nacion featured a story this week on the Dutch soccer player Wesley Sneijder, who scored the winning goal against Brazil […]

The long goodbye, cont’d…

posted by jmcgee

Last week, I posted this potent and wrenching video by a former CBS colleague Barry Petersen, recounting his wife’s steady decline into Alzheimer’s. It’s since popped up elsewhere around the blogosphere, and is generating some thoughtful response, including over at […]

Before there was Don Draper…

posted by jmcgee

…there was Jay Gatsby. With AMC running a “Mad Men” marathon these days–leading up to the series fourth season premiere on July 25–I thought it was a good time to revisit this classic tale of power, passion, secrecy and pink […]

Butchered: Muslim extremists cut off Catholic’s hand

posted by jmcgee

It happened in India: Suspected Islamic militants have chopped off a Catholic professor’s hand in Kerala for allegedly insulting Islam in an exam question paper. Professor T.J. Joseph was attacked on July 4 in while returning home from Sunday mass […]

“I grow old…”

posted by jmcgee

“I grow old… I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled…” — TS Eliot, “Lovesong of J.Alfred Prufrock” Yeah, I hear you, Alfred. The other day, I decided to try out a new barber shop.  A nice young Greek […]

Where are you taking Jesus…?

posted by jmcgee

Down the hall and into the bathroom? Huh? Read this, from OSV’s Mary DeTurris Poust, and shake your head in disbelief: This weekend at Mass we were sitting in the front pew, as we usually do. During Communion, my husband, […]

Houston’s clergy back immigration reform

posted by jmcgee

In a show of solidarity, religious leaders in one southern city are speaking with one voice on the subject of immigration: The Rev. John W. Bowie knows it is hard to sell the people in his neighborhood on the idea […]

You are the editor

posted by jmcgee

And you’re also, in effect, the publisher. Behold, the revolution of the new media enters a new phase, thanks to Yahoo. And it’s reported today in the old media, the New York Times: For as long as hot lead has […]

Stars and stripes forever. And the Muppets, too.

posted by jmcgee

One more patriotic tribute for this holiday weekend. Please rise and salute.

Preparation H (for homily)

posted by jmcgee

How does a preacher prepare for the Sunday homily? A local paper in Oregon took up that question this weekend and asked preachers of various denominations — and got an interesting array of answers: Quaker pastor Stan Thornburg of North […]

Happy Independence Day, from Big Brother

posted by jmcgee

This video is popping up in more and more places around the blogosphere. As well it should. 

What did Lincoln say at Gettysburg?

posted by jmcgee

From that innocent question comes this poignant piece of Hollywood (and American) history, courtesy Charles Laughton, who answers that question by reciting in full (and I suspect, for the only time in a movie) the Gettysburg Address.  (H/T to Msgr. […]

What they do for us

posted by jmcgee

This weekend, as we celebrate our freedom with barbecues and fireworks, take a few minutes to read what someone else has endured in the service of our country: Brendan Marrocco and his brother, Michael, were constructing a summer bucket list, […]

A notable correction in the New York Times

posted by jmcgee

People of Brooklyn, take note. Reading up in the New York Times for this Sunday’s homily, I found the following at the bottom of an article on Msgr. Bernard Quinn: A capsule summary on Friday for an article about the […]

Remember this name: Carlos Aponte

posted by jmcgee

I have a feeling you’ll be hearing his name a lot in the weeks to come. Is this the next Susan Boyle? Watch and listen and feel the goosebumps.

Homily for July 4, 2010: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted by jmcgee

This weekend, we mark a great beginning – the birth of our country. As a matter of fact, we’re just ending a time of year when we celebrate a lot of great beginnings: graduations, weddings, ordinations. It’s a good season […]

Meet the “human camera”

posted by jmcgee

And prepare to be awed.  You’ve never seen Rome quite like this.  

Passion play hailed as “more balanced”

posted by jmcgee

The revised version of the once-every-decade drama in Germany got a thumbs-up from two prominent religious leaders, according to the AP: The redo of Germany’s famous Oberammergau Passion Play apparently works. A prominent American rabbi and the archbishop of New […]

Deacons as “hands of the church”

posted by jmcgee

You can always count on New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan for an engaging, even eloquent homily. And at the recent diaconate ordination, he didn’t disappoint: As he ordained 13 new deacons for the archdiocese, Archbishop Dolan said graces will flow […]

“Broken hearts can forgive”: the reconciliation of Fr. Rob

posted by jmcgee

How do you forgive the unforgivable? Take a few moments, take a deep breath, and read this astonishing, beautiful, heartbreaking account of one man’s journey to the priesthood: No street lights illuminate this winding, narrow road, but Rob Spaulding can […]

Legacy: 40 years of abortion in New York

posted by jmcgee

On a grim anniversary, the numbers are even grimmer — especially when tallied in regards to race. Take a look at this: Forty years ago today, New York became the first state in the US where abortion was broadly legal. […]

“A three-hour tour…”

posted by jmcgee

Turns out, “Gilligan’s Island” wasn’t as simple as we thought it was: Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of Gilligan’s Island, said he patterned the ‘seven stranded castaways’ after the seven deadly sins but he didn’t admit it until years later in […]

Quote of the day, Dreher edition

posted by jmcgee

“The ideas that rage is a sign of authenticity, and the Cause relieves us of our obligation to respect the basic humanity of our opponents, are poisonous ones. People can be wrong without being evil; that’s a truth we’re losing […]

Should we pray for Christopher Hitchens?

posted by jmcgee

Of course. What part of “love your enemies, pray for your persecutors” isn’t clear? But now that the legendary atheist and Catholic-basher has been stricken with cancer, some are saying we shouldn’t bother. Then there’s this, from London Telegraph: I […]

Jesus returns — to Rio

posted by jmcgee

The iconic statue of Christ towering over Brazil has re-opened after a four-month-long restoration: The statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro was reinaugurated Wednesday after a renovation costing seven million Brazilian reals, or nearly four million dollars. The renovation […]

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 »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.