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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Media Archives

Looking for a church? There’s an app for that

posted by jmcgee

Leave it to the innovative media wizards in the Archdiocese of Boston to come up with a church-finder app for your iPhone. From the Boston Globe: In the latest example of an ancient institution deploying the latest technology, the Archdiocese […]

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“Head ‘em up! Move ‘em out!”

posted by jmcgee

If you missed the news yesterday, “The Deacon’s Bench” is relocating. Beginning Monday, December 13th, you can find it right here. Feel free to drop by and look around.  Meantime, I’ll still be here, rounding up the cattle.

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Advertising takes another cheap shot at religion — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

It’s not Catholics under attack, but it’s a pretty low blow that manages to trivialize — and demean — something meaningful. UPDATE: Can’t see the video? Visit this link.

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Another blogging bishop

posted by jmcgee

He’s Bishop Kevin W. Vann, of Fort Worth, and this week he launched his very own weblog, aptly called “Shepherd of Fort Worth.” The good shepherd, of course, joins a number of other merry bishop bloggers, including most notably Boston’s […]

Does anonymity breed contempt?

posted by jmcgee

Well, according to this item, yes. (Is anyone surprised?) From the New York Times: There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section […]

The Advent Conspiracy, 2010

posted by jmcgee

From the folks behind the Advent Conspiracy, another powerful and provocative challenge to the world.

Most realistic CGI ever?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe.  Get a load of this striking ad for Silestone kitchen countertops, and read all about it.

Pope to journos: “Proclaim the Good News”

posted by jmcgee

Details: On Friday Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic journalists to “courageously serve the truth, presenting the reasons for faith beyond ideological visions”. He was speaking to a group of editors and reporters from the Italian Federation Catholic Weeklies. In his […]

“The pope smiled”

posted by jmcgee

“In the book’s German and English editions, the text cited the example of a male prostitute, implying homosexual sex, in which a condom would not be a form of contraception. The church opposes contraception on the grounds that every sexual […]

“When God calls you, you go!”

posted by jmcgee

Those are the words of a 16-year-old aspirant arriving for her first day at the convent in Michigan. This young gal was among several — including our own Mary Anne Marks! – featured on today’s episode of Oprah in a […]

Deacons today: “Please don’t call me Father…”

posted by jmcgee

U.S. Catholic has a nice, long look at the diaconate in its December issue — and a few familiar names pop up: Beverly Hills, California deacon and author Eric Stoltz often finds himself uttering the phrase, “Please don’t call me […]

TV brings back the heroic priest

posted by jmcgee

It’s happening on the sci-fi series “V” — and the character in question is portrayed by an actor who admits Catholic priests played a big role in his own life: The sci-fi series “V” — which returns in early January […]

They’re back: Dominican Sisters appearing on Oprah again

posted by jmcgee

It’ll happen next week, according to this email posted at Aggie Catholics: The Dominican Sisters of Mary will be featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday, November 23rd. This is a new show that includes interviews with Mother Assumpta, […]

More on Dolan

posted by jmcgee

John Allen offers his two cents: In Dolan, the bishops have turned to their most gifted natural communicator, a leader with a demonstrated capacity to project a positive image for Catholicism in the public square. Rather than electing a behind-the-scenes […]

Talking to your kids about…

posted by jmcgee

…”Star Wars.”  This video is something every parent needs to see!

Another brilliant T-mobile ad

posted by jmcgee

From the people who brought you that delightful dance in a Liverpool train station comes this exuberant and joyful medley at Heathrow airport. (If you’re keeping track, the most famous of these “flash mob” encounters is undoubtedly the “Do Re […]

Bristol Palin and “The Situation” tape abstinence PSA

posted by jmcgee

This is certainly, um, different — though, with the unfurling ribbon of condoms smack in the middle, it’s hardly advocating abstinence.  I’d call the message, at best, mixed.  And unpersuasive.     Details: The video is part of the Candie’s […]

Priceless: a classic Fuji commercial

posted by jmcgee

This popped up on someone’s Facebook page today, and it’s irresistible.  A blast from the past that shows what happens when a Japanese baby is born. 

Want to feel GOOD about young Catholics?

posted by jmcgee

Get a load of this exuberant interview, from the website One Billion Stories. These kids are full of life, and full of faith. Bless ‘em. St. Mary’s – College Station, TX from OneBillionStories.com on Vimeo.

For the veterans on their day

posted by jmcgee

A great ad, with a beautiful and simple message.

God in the details: why we love Conan

posted by jmcgee

This ad for American Express is clever, artful, lavish — and hilarious. I can’t believe he did this. 

What a parish website can be

posted by jmcgee

There are a lot of awful ones out there, but I have to say that the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills may have one of the most appealing, attractive, informative and user-friendly sites anywhere. (Is it mere […]

Susan Boyle’s “The Gift”

posted by jmcgee

A recently released promotional video for her upcoming Christmas album, due out next week.

Forbes names Pope the world’s 5th most powerful person

posted by jmcgee

Only 5th? Details: Pope Benedict XVI won the No. 5 spot in a list of the world’s most powerful people, one of only two religious leaders in Forbes magazine’s list of 68 influential men and women. Benedict was sandwiched between […]

Coming to TV: Molly Shannon as a former nun

posted by jmcgee

She was a scream as perennial Catholic schoolgirl nerd Mary Katherine Gallagher on “Saturday Night Live.” Now, however, Molly Shannon is taking that act in a different direction: HBO just picked up a comedy from veteran Simpsons writer-producer Tim Long […]

The iPad election: the view from my living room

posted by jmcgee

In my channel surfing last night, I couldn’t help but notice that both Nancy Cordes on CBS and Chuck Todd at NBC were proudly brandishing on the air America’s favorite new toy: the iPad.  This may well go down in […]

“Alice Dancing Under the Gallows”: a story the world needs to see

posted by jmcgee

That’s the title of a new documentary, about the world’s oldest holocaust survivor. The trailer is below. Here is grace, dignity, courage and hope, summed up so beautifully in her simple creed: “Music is God.”

There be drama in “There Be Dragons”

posted by jmcgee

Beliefnet’s Movie Mom Nell Minow is featuring at her blog a promotional clip for the upcoming movie, “There Be Dragons,” about Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei.   The movie is due out in the spring of 2011.  Take a […]

“We are the Catholic vote”

posted by jmcgee

The latest ad from CatholicVote.org., below.

Katie Couric: foot in mouth, along with a pumpkin latte

posted by jmcgee

One of Katie’s favored media writers, Howard Kurtz, offers this tidbit: Katie Couric is feeling liberated. Not because she is nearing the end of her five-year contract as CBS anchor–although there’s an unexpected plot twist on that front–but because she’s […]

Reporter in Chile: “The Catholic presence was everywhere”

posted by jmcgee

I love reading about mainstream journalists who are also unabashedly Catholic — and this reporter from the AP, who covered the Chilean mining accident and rescue, offers some insight into what sustained the men and their families: A reporter who […]

Bye Bye, “Busted”

posted by jmcgee

The Editor-in-Chief of Busted Halo, Bill McGarvey, has announced that he’s stepping down after six years at the helm: I am very proud of this site’s transformation into the vibrant multi-media platform that it is today. The discussion happening on […]

Bloggers “shining a spotlight on Catholics who do not live the faith”

posted by jmcgee

 The AP’s Rachel Zoll has discovered something that may not be news to some of us in the blogosphere: Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A […]

RIP the Walkman

posted by jmcgee

And now a moment of silence — literally — as a once-beloved icon of the ’80s is laid to rest: Sony will stop selling its Walkman portable tape player in Japan, the land of that once-iconic device’s birth. That’s “weirdest” […]

The Ephesians 4:29 Rule

posted by jmcgee

That’s the proposal for blogging set forth by my diaconate brother in bloggery, Scott Dodge: Since no blogger is an island, there are other Catholic bloggers with whom I associate and with whom I even collaborate sometimes. I keep abreast […]

“I’m just like you”

posted by jmcgee

This new PSA from New York State says it all, charmingly.

Caught on tape: Dolan rips the Times

posted by jmcgee

The other day, I posted on New York’s archbishop and his on-going feud with the New York Times. The local CBS affiliate aired the report below, which includes an interview with Archbishop Dolan (as he’s rarely seen — without his […]

Conan’s first guest? Pick the pope!

posted by jmcgee

The once-and-future late night star Conan O’Brien is getting set to launch his new series on TBS — and he’s asking viewers to pick his first guest. There’s an online poll — and the first choice is Pope Benedict. Vote […]

F. Murray Abraham to star as John Henry Newman

posted by jmcgee

The award-winning star of “Amadeus” is scheduled to play the celebrated “blessed,” according to news reports: The first film about Blessed John Henry Newman is in the works. Italian director and screenwriter Liana Marabini, who specialises in directing films about […]

What would Joseph and Mary tweet?

posted by jmcgee

Someone has an idea, and we’ll start to see it unfold this Christmas season: Throughout Advent, Twitter users will be able to follow “Natwivity” and witness different figures from the world’s most famous story bash out 140-character updates each day. […]

Dolan takes aim at The Times — again

posted by jmcgee

And, as he did last year, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York lets them have it: I know, I should drop it. “You just have to get used to it,” so many of you have counselled me. “It’s been that […]

What the media is coming to

posted by jmcgee

This is pretty funny — and, I think, not too far off the mark. H/T to Marcel at Aggie Catholics.

Bless you, Father Dowling

posted by jmcgee

And rest in peace, Tom Bosley. Think about it: when was the last time a TV series featured priests and nuns as lead characters??

The boss is undercover, but his faith is out in the open

posted by jmcgee

Longtime readers will know I have a special affection for the TV show “Undercover Boss,” but I missed it this past Sunday. Thankfully, Kevin Knight at New Advent didn’t. He’s posted a link to the video of the episode, and […]

Could the next big reality TV star be a priest?

posted by jmcgee

Check this out, from (of course) California: Kardashian. The Situation. Father Steve? With a little help from on high – and the green light from a high-ranking TV executive – that third name soon might fit just fine among pop […]

“It gets better” … by making Catholics seem worse

posted by jmcgee

Well, this left me speechless. Openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson has decided that the best way to attract people to his cause is by tearing down others. Here, as part of the “It Gets Better” project (designed to help […]

Catholics reallly ARE coming home

posted by jmcgee

And the attention-grabbing ad campaign of Catholics Come Home may be responsible for luring some people back to the pews in at least one big diocese. Details: Eight months ago, the Diocese of Green Bay began airing television commercials for […]

Headline of the day

posted by jmcgee

Office for evangelising cyberspace does not have internet access

Stephen Colbert: “I love my church”

posted by jmcgee

The good people at the Religion News Service have discovered something a lot of us have known for a while: MCPF (My Close Personal Friend) Stephen Colbert is, indeed, a good Catholic boy: Colbert has said that he attends church, […]

Welcome to the Wild West

posted by jmcgee

That’s how British journalist Anna Arco describes the Catholic blogosphere, and she makes some excellent observations. A snip: This year, at a talk given at New Orleans, Archbishop Claudio Celli expressed his concerns about the challenges facing the Catholic blogosphere. […]

Ann Coulter, Catholic

posted by jmcgee

I’ve wondered about that for a while, and now this curious piece in the New York Times — in the Fashion section, believe it or not — confirms it (though Coulter, it seems, is, um, un-comfirmed…literally): Ms. Coulter was born […]

CNN = The Jesuits?

posted by jmcgee

“The CNN culture is still very strange. You walk into that building, you think you’re the Jesuits and you’re protecting a certain legacy. They still look at Fox as a carnival–not Fox as a brilliant marketing entity. It’s weird. They’re […]

“Your task, dear members of the Catholic press…”

posted by jmcgee

“My very dear brothers and sisters, whoever works in the media, if he does not wish to be “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1) — as Saint Paul would say — must have well-rooted in himself […]

Bertone to journalists: “Serve the truth”

posted by jmcgee

The “Vice Pope” had a few things to say to a gathering of Catholic journalists yesterday — including a call for them to remain independent of any particular political agenda: The richness of a Catholic journalist is the Gospel he […]

Don’t stop believing: “Glee” gets religion — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

I caught part of last night’s episode of “Glee,” which dealt (rather delicately) with the idea of religion.  The plot swirled around a teenager who discovered the face of Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich, and another kid, whose father […]

What do you hear?

posted by jmcgee

This was sent to me by a deacon friend of mine, and it’s a winner. It was produced by a Protestant church in Abilene, Texas.  

Catholic campus welcomes a different set of “Angels”

posted by jmcgee

That would be “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s acclaimed (and controversial) depiction of what the author describes as “a gay fantasia on national themes.” This isn’t the first time a Catholic school has produced the play;  I found this account […]

Shock: art exhibit depicts Jesus in sex act?

posted by jmcgee

That’s what’s causing a furor out in Colorado, according to this report: An exhibit at a Colorado art gallery is stirring up outrage from critics who say it depicts Jesus Christ in a sexual act. Enrique Chagoya’s “The Misadventures of […]

All the Catholic news that’s fit to print

posted by jmcgee

And now, a little news about Catholic news: this comes to us from the Vatican, via Zenit. A snip: What future does the Catholic press have at the height of a digital revolution that is bankrupting many newspapers? According to […]

Two thumbs up: Mormons praise Catholic film reviews

posted by jmcgee

The USCCB’s Sr. Mary Ann Walsh takes note of something interesting in the world of movie criticism: A former Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City once facetiously boasted that he headed the second largest church in Utah. There Catholics comprise […]

Calvary in Haiti: love among the ruins

posted by jmcgee

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently paid another visit to Haiti. The short video below shows what he saw in the ruins of the country’s cathedral. It’s beautiful, and haunting, and tragic.

Giving Anglicans a Wuerl

posted by jmcgee

This news caused a stir last week, and I’m pleased to report that my show “Currents” (on Brooklyn’s Catholic cable channel NET) got the first broadcast interview with Archbishop Donald Wuerl, discussing his appointment to the committee helping to bring […]

Chaput to religion writers: “Master and respect your material…”

posted by jmcgee

Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered a terrific address to the Religion Newswriters Association recently — and concluded with this valuable thought: Journalism is a “knowledge profession.” But like any other profession, the work of journalism doesn’t necessarily translate into self-knowledge or […]

Failing the test of TIME: their story about “women priests” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The problems with this item in TIME magazine begin in the second sentence: Alta Jacko is the mother of eight children. She is also an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Actually, no. Whatever else she might be, Ms. […]

The Bible in a minute

posted by jmcgee

This is a clever spin on scripture study — and fun, to boot. H/T Concord Pastor. Bible In A Minute – barats and beretaBarats and Bereta Productions | MySpace Video

Facebook for Catholics?

posted by jmcgee

Those savvy media types up in Boston are on the case: Want to get friended by Cardinal Sean? Or maybe LOL with your local parish priest over his latest tweet? First the Boston archdiocese joined Facebook. Now local Catholics have […]

Something truly ineffable

posted by jmcgee

Like a lot of people, I was surprised to read today that an old CBS colleague of mine, Jon Klein, is leaving CNN. He leaves behind an interesting legacy — from Anderson Cooper to Elliot Spitzer.  He also leaves behind, […]

The pope, and the greatest story never told

posted by jmcgee

One of the biggest surprises of Pope Benedict’s historic trip to the United Kingdom may be how few people realize that it was, in fact, historic. Sunday night, I was chatting by phone with my father-in-law in Maryland. I told […]

How did the pope play in Britain?

posted by jmcgee

The response appears to have been generally positive — but grudgingly so: British media Monday hailed Pope Benedict XVI for shedding his distant and authoritarian image on his historic state visit, but cautioned the Catholic Church still faced challenges in […]

“You might just see someone you know”

posted by jmcgee

I suspect that could be said by any of the 80,000 or so who gathered in Hyde Park today to get a peek at the pontiff. But it was also said by a certain blogger and Vatican observer, in a […]

Did you miss the mass?

posted by jmcgee

Have no fear. Every night, the NET will offer a replay, along with special profiles, interviews and analysis — including some pithy insight from “Currents” contributor and uber blogger Rocco Palmo.  Visit this link and click on the tab on […]

Quran aftermath: Pope condemns violence against Christians

posted by jmcgee

He spoke about it at his general audience Wednesday…

The next Fulton Sheen?

posted by jmcgee

The esteemed Fr. Robert Barron is about to stake his claim on that title, doing what no priest has done since Sheen: he’ll launch his own national TV show on a commercial network. From the press release: In a bold […]

Catholic Vote’s new ad: “We are Americans”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the final emphatic line of this new ad from CatholicVote.org. It’s not nearly as effective as the ads they produced for the’08 election, and I find a lot of this frankly over-the-top. But it certainly makes its point. Take […]

“We give status quo a case of flop sweat”

posted by jmcgee

My blog sibling here at Beliefnet John W. Kennedy drew my attention to something I hadn’t known about: The Right Network, whose backers include none other than that paragon of virtue, Kelsey Grammer. The clip above gives some of the […]

“Deacons Today”: Welcome, Bill!

posted by jmcgee

I’m delighted to welcome to the blogosphere my friend and sometime partner-in-crime, Deacon Doctor Bill Ditewig (Triple D). (Pause here while all those wearing dalmatics offer a standing ovation.) He’s just launched a shiny new blog on the diaconate called […]

Changing channels: radio star finds a new station in life

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a story that sounds familiar, about a successful media professional who walked away from a high-profile career to work for the Church. From the Indianapolis Criterion: She has met backstage with Taylor Swift, talked with Garth Brooks, had her […]

A “Hail Mary” ad?

posted by jmcgee

I caught this Sunday night during “Mad Men” (which, if you missed it, was the season’s best episode so far). Anyway: this is the latest TV trailer for the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Devil,” and it may be a part […]

“The Whole Gritty City”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the title of a new documentary about New Orleans marching bands competing to perform in the Mardi Gras parade. It was produced, directed and edited by a former colleague of mine from CBS, Richard Barber — and, judging from […]

“The Town”: nuns with guns

posted by jmcgee

Just back from vacation, I was startled to see the new subway and bus posters for Ben Affleck’s new movie about bank robbers, “The Town.” Do they really think this will make people want to see the movie?

The Catholic roots of the man behind “the mosque”

posted by jmcgee

The businessman who is backing the Islamic center near Ground Zero is real estate developer Sharif El-Gama. Did you know his mother was Catholic? He sat down for an interview recently with Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes: Pelley: Who are […]

Stop the presses: is the pope’s media team ready for the UK?

posted by jmcgee

Pope Benedict will be wading into some choppy waters next month when he visits the UK. And The Guardian — printing an excerpt from The British Journalism Review — wonders if the pontiff’s media team is up to the challenge: […]

Not too sweet: “pregnant nun” used to sell ice cream

posted by jmcgee

A series of jaw-dropping, eye-grabbing ads for ice cream are leaving some people in Europe cold. Details: Two ice cream adverts, one showing a pregnant nun and the other two male priests about to kiss, are facing a ban by […]

Does your bishop blog?

posted by jmcgee

The good folks at Aggie Catholics have just posted a list. See if someone you know is on it. Then drop by and see what he has to say.

Brian Williams on confession and his mother, “a very old-school Catholic”

posted by jmcgee

The number-one rated nightly news anchor — and the only one of the Big Three who is Catholic — pours out his soul to Elle (well, sort of) in an interview that, among other things, touches rather unexpectedly on the […]

A good reporter, a good man

posted by jmcgee

While on vacation, I was saddened to learn that veteran CBS News correspondent Harold Dow had died suddenly from an asthma attack.  He was 62. I had the privilege of knowing him, and working with him on two trailblazing magazine […]

Blog blocked in Boston

posted by jmcgee

A curious bit of news out of Beantown: The Archdiocese of Boston, under attack by anonymous conservative Catholic bloggers, has blocked access to one of the websites from computers within the church’s Braintree headquarters. The Boston Catholic Insider, the most lively […]

Waiting in Norwich

posted by jmcgee

It’s rare to find the secular media taking on a topic like this: a columnist in a Connecticut paper is wondering why the suspended deacon program in his diocese (Norwich) remains on hold: Back at the start of 2009, Michael Strammiello, director […]

Nashville priest apologizes for statements on birth control, married priests

posted by jmcgee

His interview with a deacon sent out shockwaves a few weeks back, when it went viral and popped up on YouTube. Now, the priest has apologized — and saved his job: The Rev. Joseph Breen had a choice. Retract and […]

How to make a cross on your computer keyboard

posted by jmcgee

Did you know you could do this? Will wonders never cease. A reader sent this my way. Try it.

WWJT? What would Jesus tweet?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the provocative question at the heart of this piece in the Detroit Free Press, which looks at how churches and synagogues are using social media as never before: Religious groups are increasingly trying to harness the power of social […]

Making assumptions about The Assumption

posted by jmcgee

The clever video below, from the good people at Busted Halo, tells us everything you need to know about the feast we celebrate Sunday. H/T Concord Pastor (with an added wave of the deacon stole out to Mike Hayes in […]

Catholic actor who quit over sex scenes may play a priest

posted by jmcgee

His story made headlines some months back — and if reports are accurate, he may have an interesting project lined up: You may not know the name Neal McDonough — but he’s one of those Hollywood faces you’ll instantly recognize. […]

Epic: one man plans to tweet the bible

posted by jmcgee

I hope he has strong thumbs. Details: File this under “people with good intentions, a whole lot of commitment and an Internet connection.” A UK worship director has planned to tweet the Christian Bible — or summaries of each chapter, […]

“The Grand Poobah” of the permanent diaconate

posted by jmcgee

That’s the elegant title now bestowed on the legendary Triple D: Deacon Doctor (Bill) Ditewig, thanks to Deacon Jeff Drzycimski of The Catholic Cafe. Bill dropped by the cafe for a fresh cup of joe, and his interview is now […]

St. Clare, TV’s patron

posted by jmcgee

August 11 is the feast of a familiar saint, Clare of Assisi.  I know her well.  We have a beautiful engraving of St. Clare hanging in the small chapel of the NET, where I work, and visitors are often surprised […]

Grilling the deacon

posted by jmcgee

For those who have nothing better to do: I’ve been invited to appear on Gus Lloyd’s radio show, “Seize the Day,” tomorrow morning, around 8. Topic: St. Lawrence. Bring marshmallows and weenies!

A Catholic press first: Boston’s Pilot flies into Kindle

posted by jmcgee

One of the oldest and most respected diocesan newspapers in America just took a big leap into the 21st century, becoming the first to publish an electronic edition for Kindle: Beginning with its Aug. 6 edition, The Pilot will be […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Best Drudge headline this year

posted by jmcgee

Bill Clinton to Perform Weiner Wedding…

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. […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

The write stuff, Catholic edition

posted by jmcgee

Recently, Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia posted about attending a Catholic writer’s conference. Some of her (always interesting!) impressions can be found right here. But if you want to see more — and hear from The A herself! — check out […]

How long until we see this on the altar?

posted by jmcgee

Will the priest one day celebrate mass with an iPad? It’s now technically possible (though, perhaps, not liturgically correct). Check this out: iBreviary–the daily prayer book for iPhone–will become a full Roman missal for iPad, allowing priests to celebrate mass […]

Is Hyundai mocking the Catholic Church? — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Short answer, in my opinion: yes. The car company is running the ad below during the World Cup soccer coverage. One observer wrote: I don’t understand the rationale behind companies running ads to sell stuff that offends potential customers. Hyundai […]

Faith of steel: meet NFL star Troy Polamalu, devout Christian

posted by jmcgee

What a great witness. H/T via Facebook and Deacon Scott Dodge.

On Gaga and more: “Using blasphemy as entertainment is cheap…”

posted by jmcgee

Lady Gaga’s baffling — and, yes, tasteless — new video is raising eyebrows. But as this piece notes, she’s not the first to mock religion for entertainment: Queen of controversy Lady Gaga is making headlines for yet another racy video […]

Blessed Lolo: first beatified journalist

posted by jmcgee

On Saturday, the church is beatifying for the first time a journalist — Manuel Lorenzo Garrido, known as “Lolo” — and the video below is a poignant look at his life and work.

How can you be a better, holier commenter?

posted by jmcgee

Well, for starters, check out Matthew Warner’s suggestions in the National Catholic Register. He makes some very good points.

Quote of the day: “We are particularly concerned about blogs…”

posted by jmcgee

“Secular media often falls into a trap of being cynical, disrespectful and sensationalist. Whatever is rudest or most sensational is what they often gravitate to. Catholic media can model what a civil, substantive media can and should be. Civil, substantive […]

“Lost” found its ending at a Catholic school in Hawaii

posted by jmcgee

If you saw the “Lost” finale, you couldn’t miss the religious overtones — or the setting. Now CNS is revealing where it was filmed: The gateway to heaven is through the chapel doors at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu. Or […]

Our web-savvy priesthood

posted by jmcgee

More priests are using the Internet to do their job, according to Zenit: A new study about the use of digital technology by priests worldwide shows that the Internet has become a frequently utilized tool in homily preparation, evangelization and […]

Happy anniversary!

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, it was one year ago tonight that we launched the world’s first — and so far, only — 30-minute daily Catholic news show. Today marks the one-year anniversary of “Currents,” the nightly news magazine on the NET, the cable […]

Brazil’s best-selling recording star? A priest

posted by jmcgee

Yep. According to Billboard, priests are boffo in Brazil: According to year-end data reported by Brazil’s Association of Record Producers, Father Fabio de Melo’s 2009 “Iluminar” was the country’s top-selling album of 2009. It was an encore performance; de Melo’s […]

10 types of blog comments

posted by jmcgee

This strikes me as pretty on-target. From the National Catholic Register (H/T New Advent): Blog comments are like the graffiti of the untamed digital continent. Some are helpful, like the spray paint on the fence that says “beware of dog.” […]

Dear Reader…

posted by jmcgee

These are the general guidelines for comments at The Deacon’s Bench. Violators will be deleted. I regret that I can’t monitor comments 24/7, and my work frequently calls me away from my computer during the day. For the most part, […]

Abortion ad airs on British TV

posted by jmcgee

The ad below is the first one for abortion services in Great Britain — and it’s set off a firestorm of controversy: The outfit behind it, Marie Stopes International, is one of the biggest abortion providers in the UK. It […]

The spirituality of “Lost” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

With the groundbreaking, epic series coming to a close tonight, people are picking apart the mythology — and theology — underlying the show: “Lost” fans have suggested a variety of theories behind the mysteries of the ABC series since it […]

Are you a wuss?

posted by jmcgee

If so, stop reading now. The Anchoress looks at what is happening in the American workplace and links to this profane and hilarious piece by Larry McCoy. Larry McCoy is definitely not a wuss.  Believe me, I know.  (Ignore that […]

“This wild world of communications”

posted by jmcgee

That’s part of the reflection below, from my sibling in Catholic broadcasting, Fr. Thomas Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Salt + Light Television, Canada’s national Catholic network. This Sunday marks World Communications Day. Happy and Blessed Communicating, one and all!

Katie Couric = Margaret Sanger?

posted by jmcgee

A friend sent me along this item from Creative Minority Report, which notes a commentary by Katie Couric, marking the anniversary of The Pill. As CMR notes: In these times of high unemployment and dangerous deficits one issue has become […]

Let’s talk: comments return

posted by jmcgee

Alrighty. After two weeks of relative peace and quiet, I’m bringing back comments. The past several days have been both restful and instructive – and I’m profoundly grateful to the various bloggers and readers who have offered advice, counsel, support […]

“Simply Catholic”: simply terrific

posted by jmcgee

Check out this potent new video from Illinois.   H/T Thomas Peters.

Coolest. Mini-van ad. Ever.

posted by jmcgee

This is an absolute hoot. Enjoy.

Call him “Dr. Rocco”

posted by jmcgee

Legendary blogger and “Currents” contributor Rocco Palmo is used to covering the news.  But now he’s actually making some.    From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Rocco Palmo’s life has been infused with four major blessings — his large Italian family, […]

In the mail: the sound of silence

posted by jmcgee

A longtime reader writes: The time in the ‘comment cloister’ has been a journey. It has caused me to consider my own quick-to-judge tendencies. Following the way I tend to see so many things – neither all good or all […]

Lights, camera…priests!

posted by jmcgee

Whether we realize it or not, the figure of a Catholic priest has long played a starring role in the movies. CNS’s David DiCerta explains: In 1915, D.W. Griffith followed up his controversial silent classic “Birth of a Nation” with […]

Bill Reel, “full of faith”

posted by jmcgee

A legendary New York columnist has moved to the great Copy Desk in the Sky. Bill Reel, who wrote the “Reel People” column for the New York Daily News, and later toiled for at time for my own diocesan paper, […]

“Any idiot can have a blog…”

posted by jmcgee

Certainly, I’ve done my part to prove that, haven’t I? But don’t take my word for it: check out what my friend Mike Hayes says on the topic over at his fine blog Googling God: Since I started a media […]

Commenting about comments

posted by jmcgee

After I made this announcement the other day, Jim Lackey over at the Catholic News Service took notice. He posted his own thoughts on the matter and is soliciting comments about comments. Check it out. There are some interesting observations […]

No comments — and here’s why

posted by jmcgee

The following comment on one post struck a nerve: Deacon Greg, I haven’t posted a comment since you left blogspot, and that’s primarily because I no longer feel welcome. If the old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay […]

The Times defends its coverage of the Catholic Church

posted by jmcgee

The paper’s ombudsman, or “public editor,” Clark Hoyt offered some thoughts this Sunday about how the paper had covered the scandals in the Church. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the paper came out very well. After dissecting a couple key stories — including […]

Quote of the day: “Give a soul to the Internet”

posted by jmcgee

“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to […]

Putting out into the deep, with a NET…

posted by jmcgee

The good folks at the National Catholic Register have done a story about my station NET: When the Brooklyn, N.Y., Diocese decided to launch a new faith-based cable TV channel to replace their Prayer Channel, they had no trouble with […]

Christmas in July: “Mad Men” returns 7/25

posted by jmcgee

Let the countdown begin! From the Hollywood Reporter: AMC will premiere Season 4 of “Mad Men” on Sunday, July 25, answering fans’ burning questions from last season’s cliffhanger finale. With the disbanding of ad agency Sterling Cooper and the marital […]

From “Great Silence” to “Greater Love”

posted by jmcgee

Those of us who saw and loved “Into Great Silence” may also want to check out a new documentary about Carmelite nuns, “No Greater Love.” The Anchoress found an enthusiastic review, and I discovered a trailer for the film on […]

The media on the Church: we distort, you decide

posted by jmcgee

Anyone who thinks the media has been treating the Church fairly over the last few weeks should take a moment to read what Sr. Mary Ann Walsh has to say in today’s Washington Post: Some quarters of the media in […]

Faith sells

posted by jmcgee

One of the best-kept secrets of advertising may be in the back of your church bulletin: Massage therapist Dan Snyder has discovered it’s better for business with God on your side. The 62-year-old owner of Dan’s Hands Therapeutic Massage and […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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. 

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 […]

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.    […]

“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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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

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 […]

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.

“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.

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.    

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

“The Church is in the ‘Yes’ business”

posted by jmcgee

That’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, repeating one of his popular refrains, in an exclusive interview he gave to a New York TV station (no, it wasn’t mine, unfortunately). It’s part of a series of public appearances he’s made this week — […]

We can remake the world

posted by jmcgee

Or at least, Hollywood can. Take a look at this astonishing demo reel — a virtual backlot. The world can be remade, with green screens and the right camera angles. H/T The Anchoress.

Church in Brazil sues over “2012”

posted by jmcgee

The dramatic image of Rio’s iconic statue of Christ crumbling under a tidal wave was evidently too much: Brazil’s Catholic Church is suing Hollywood for using unauthorized images of Rio’s famous giant Christ statue in its disaster movie blockbuster 2012, […]

“Who is worthy of your love?”

posted by jmcgee

That’s the first question asked in this innovative and inspiring video, that offers a rare glimpse at a group of cloistered nuns in Alaska. H/T The Catholic Anchor.

Slashed

posted by jmcgee

A couple weeks ago, the media world was reeling when CBS News began a round of layoffs that hit around 100 people. That was bad enough. This news is far, far worse: ABC News will sharply reduce its news-gathering staff […]

Fast, pray, give

posted by jmcgee

Those three little words are the inspiration behind Busted Halo’s cleverly conceived calendar for Lent. (Why should Advent be the only Church season with a calendar?) Each day on the calendar is equipped with three helpful tips to help you […]

In this corner, The Anchoress…

posted by jmcgee

The popular public affairs show on The NET, “In the Arena” is back on the air, returning for a second season. And once again the star attractions (from the WWF, it seems) are Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia and Grant “Commonweal” […]

Report: Garrido to become first journalist ever beatified

posted by jmcgee

This is news to me — and, I expect, to a lot of journos. I hadn’t realized that no journalist has ever been named a saint, or even been beatified.   Take a look: Manuel Lozano Garrido, a Spanish journalist of […]

Rocco of ages: the Loggia Whisperer speaks

posted by jmcgee

The popular but rarely-seen Rocco “Whispers in the Loggia” Palmo made an appearance recently on “Currents,” chatting with contributor and “Catholic Guy” Lino Rulli at a nearby pub. Over a couple brewskies, the two media mavens chatted about a wide […]

TV anchor mistakes Biden’s ashes for a “bruise”

posted by jmcgee

And not only that: evidently, the anchorwoman is Catholic. From Britain’s Daily Mail: Sky New presenter Kay Burley was forced to make an on-air apology after mistaking a Roman Catholic symbol on American vice president Joe Biden’s forehead for a […]

For Valentine’s Day: “You Are Loved”

posted by jmcgee

A favorite video, and song, of Your Humble Blogger, from Josh Groban.  It never fails to move me. Remember: you are loved.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

“I was born”: a great pro-life video

posted by jmcgee

This was created by students at Franciscan University. H/T to Thomas Peters.

A simply great ad

posted by jmcgee

On so many levels. It’s a PSA from the UK. H/T The A.

Lindsay Lohan = Jesus Christ?

posted by jmcgee

So it would seem, judging from the magazine cover below, supplied by the sharp-eyed observers over at the Huffington Post.

Mother O and her sisters

posted by jmcgee

I missed Oprah and her Dominicans sisters — I was otherwise engaged at that hour — but The Anchoress was impressed: Really good show. Winfrey teased but was never disrespectful, and the whole discussion -from leaving parents, to leaving relationships, […]

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by jmcgee

Another sign that The End Times are upon us: Your Humble Blogger will be appearing this afternoon on “The Catholic Guy” with Lino Rulli on Sirius satellite radio.  This event will occur around 4:15 pm ET.   Hide the children. […]

Here it is: the Tebow ad

posted by jmcgee

Below, you can see what all the fuss was about. Yeah, this sure is outrageous. Not. Focus on the Family – Tim Tebow Ad @ Yahoo! Video

Blindsided by “The Blind Side”

posted by jmcgee

This is a fascinating peek at how Hollywood surprised itself – and a lot of other people — by making an old-fashioned movie about old-fashioned values and virtues. A lot of its success was the product of really smart marketing […]

Oh boy: world’s greatest weatherman

posted by jmcgee

I just love this. As the Storm of the Century churns northward, it helps to be able to laugh.  H/T to Rod.

Let them eat cake

posted by jmcgee

Hours after dozens of CBS News staffers were laid off — many of them, friends and former colleagues of mine — this video popped up on the Harper’s Bizarre website. It’s touting Katie Couric’s appearance in the magazine’s annual fashion […]

Oprah’s sisters

posted by jmcgee

Thomas Peters broke the story yesterday, with the snapshot above: Oprah ( no last name necessary) is interviewing a group of sisters, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, for her TV show next week.   The Anchoress ( […]

What does CBS stand for?

posted by jmcgee

In response to the Tim Tebow ad, the juvenile grandmothers below offer one profane answer. (Yes, there’s profanity here, so be forewarned — although anyone with two brain cells to rub together can figure it out without even watching it.) […]

Go to hell? Not during the Super Bowl

posted by jmcgee

CBS has given the thumbs down to another ad, for an electronic game called “Dante’s Inferno.” You can see the ad, below.

Megachurch produces ad for Super Bowl: “It’s a miracle!”

posted by jmcgee

Will this ad actually make it to the Big Game? It’s part of a contest being run by Dorito’s, and was produced by a California megachurch. The folks behind it think they have the inside track. See what you think.

CBS rejects ad for gay dating service

posted by jmcgee

After all the controversy swirling around CBS accepting a pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow, people were wondering: would the network wade further into controversy, and accept an ad from a gay dating service? Now, we have the answer. […]

Quote of the day

posted by jmcgee

“All I ask of you, especially young people … is one thing. Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were […]

“The Lord hears the cry of the poor…”

posted by jmcgee

This seems a fitting hymn for this moment in time: the Concord Pastor has a widget up on his blog that plays this for the people of Haiti. The video interpretation below, beautifully rendered by John Michael Talbot, says it […]

Notre Dame’s follow-up to Obama: Brian Williams

posted by jmcgee

He has some large and decidedly controversial shoes to fill, but NBC’s anchorman probably won’t encounter anything like the heat that greeted President Obama when he addressed graduates last year. Notre Dame made the announcement last week: Brian Williams, anchor […]

Roger Ebert, and remembrance

posted by jmcgee

If you haven’t encountered this yet, pop over to Roger Ebert’s blog and read his harrowing, heartfelt, mystical reflections on what life has been like since he lost the ability to eat or drink. He probably doesn’t realize it, but […]

Haiti: “God is always on the side of the suffering”

posted by jmcgee

Those powerful words come from the director of the Haitian apostolate in my diocese, Fr. Donelson Thevenin. His interview on “Currents” last night was both potent and poignant. (I just got back from DC and a meeting with the Communications […]

Vatican slams “Avatar” as “sentimental hokum”

posted by jmcgee

The official Vatican newspaper has declined to give its blessing to the blockbuster of the year (century?).   From Variety: While “Avatar” is drawing near unanimous praise worldwide, the Vatican is scathingly slamming James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic as “sentimental […]

The love the dare not speak its name…

posted by jmcgee

That is, of course, the grown male’s deep but unfulfilled desire for cool stuff that makes a lot of noise. Especially farm equipment. This video says it all.  Enjoy.

Previous Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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