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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Ripped from the headlines Archives

Silent plight: complaints put halt to Christmas carols

posted by jmcgee

Seems the familiar tunes chiming from one university’s clock tower weren’t “inclusive” enough. Details: The clock tower at Southern Illinois University has played Christmas carols for nearly 15 years. But this year, someone complained, leading university officials to briefly silence […]

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WikiLeaks: Pope’s offer to Anglicans might lead to violence

posted by jmcgee

That’s evidently another little bombshell contained in the documents, according to the Guardian: The British ambassador to the Vatican warned that Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation to Anglican opponents of female priests to convert en masse to Catholicism was so inflammatory […]

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The “baby window” that receives abandoned infants

posted by jmcgee

An unusual project in Switzerland reported some news this week: An unwanted baby has been left at a hospital in Einsiedeln. The foundling is the sixth in the nearly ten-year history of the baby window, which is unique in Switzerland. […]

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Our Lady of Good Help: “Worthy of belief”

posted by jmcgee

For the first time ever, a Marian apparition in the United States has received formal approval. Details: Bishop David Ricken announced today that he officially approves the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion. […]

Christian survivor: “I don’t want to go back to Iraq”

posted by jmcgee

Those are the words of a man, now in France, who survived the massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Church. Details, from the Christian Post: Iraqi Christians who were given indefinite political asylum in France say they don’t want to […]

Texas bank ordered to remove Christmas tree

posted by jmcgee

Incredible, but true. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Chase Bank told a businessman to remove the Christmas tree he donated to a local branch because it could offend people. Antonio Morales, owner of Bellagio Day Spa in Southlake, had assembled […]

America’s Lourdes? First Marian apparition shrine in U.S. may be approved

posted by jmcgee

So claims a Wisconsin newspaper: After a two-year investigation, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is set to release its findings about apparitions at an area shrine. If the apparitions are decreed true, it would be an extremely rare occurrence. […]

Survey: half of Americans think clergy are highly ethical

posted by jmcgee

I wonder what people think of bloggers. Details: What do nurses, soldiers, pharmacists, elementary school teachers, doctors, and police officers have in common? Americans say they are all more ethical and honest than members of the clergy, according to a […]

Military chaplains and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

posted by jmcgee

The proposed repeal of DADT is sparking a lot of debate — especially among chaplains. Details: A long-awaited report on the possible repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay members says the chaplains corps has “some of the most […]

Alberto Cutie update: he’s a father

posted by jmcgee

The former priest who caused a scandal last year is back in the news. From the Miami Herald: Ruhama Buni Cutié, wife of Miami celebrity priest Alberto Cutié, gave birth to Camila Victoria Cutie on Tuesday. “We…take this opportunity to […]

Bishop blasts Illinois’ Catholic governor for backing civil unions

posted by jmcgee

Details, from Catholic News Agency: Illinois’ legislature passed a bill on Dec. 1 that will establish same-sex civil unions in state law. While the state’s Catholic governor Pat Quinn said his faith prompted him to support the bill, his bishop […]

Another salvo in the Christmas wars

posted by jmcgee

It was fired by the Catholic League, responding to this billboard put up outside of Manhattan by a group of atheists. Details, from the New York Times: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has responded to a Christmas-debunking […]

Blair v. Hitchens: who won?

posted by jmcgee

The answer to that may depend on whom you ask — though an informal poll afterward evidently found Hitchens to be more persuasive.  The BBC was there and offers some highlights: It felt like the event of the season. Organisers […]

Blair v. Hitchens: is religion a force for good?

posted by jmcgee

The Catholic and the atheist are about to square off in Canada in a debate that will address that very question: In advance of the debate, the two men sat down with The Globe and Mail to discuss their views. […]

Vatican spokesman: condom issue relates to heterosexuals, too — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The clarification has been clarified even further: The Pope’s landmark acknowledgement that the use of condoms is sometimes morally justifiable to stop Aids is valid not only for gay male prostitutes, but also for heterosexuals, according to the Vatican. The […]

Dolan on the pope, prophylactics and preaching

posted by jmcgee

The American Church’s most prominent prelate has given his first extended news media interview since his election as President of the U.S. bishops: In an expansive interview in the front parlor of his residence on Madison Avenue — the only […]

Petition asks to have Iraqi martyrs canonized

posted by jmcgee

Details: “We ask that the martyrs of Iraq be canonized, because the example of their lives and their sacrifice is an inspiration to us all as Christians, Arabs and non alike, living in the Middle East.” These are words taken […]

On condoms: “Evolution, not revolution”

posted by jmcgee

That’s one reaction to the weekend’s headline-grabbing news. From the Christian Science Monitor: Vatican officials are insisting that Pope Benedict’s new remarks on condoms are not a change in church teaching on contraception. But initial reaction in Europe and among […]

As expected, here’s the “clarification” …

posted by jmcgee

… from Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, about the whole condom thingy: Pope Benedict states that AIDs cannot be solved only by the distribution of condoms, and, in fact, concentrating on condoms just trivializes sexuality, which loses its meaning as […]

Iowa Trappists giving up the farm

posted by jmcgee

Some sad news from the monks at New Melleray: The Trappist monks of New Melleray Abbey have always worked the land to provide for themselves. All that will end today, as their cherished farming equipment is hauled away by new […]

Behind the condom controversy

posted by jmcgee

Over at America magazine’s blog, Austin Iverleigh has some intriguing background and analysis about the pope/condom story: The point argued by moral theologians was always this. The Church is opposed to artificial contraception, not condoms per se. Just as, in […]

Report: pope says condoms acceptable “in certain cases” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Don’t be surprised if the Vatican begins “clarifying” these remarks soon. But here’s what’s being reported at this hour: Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably “to reduce the risk of infection” with HIV, […]

Jonestown memorial planned

posted by jmcgee

It was one of the most horrific stories of the 20th century — a century that didn’t lack for horrors — and now plans are underway to erect a permanent memorial to the victims of the mass suicide at Jonestown: […]

On exorcism: “We deal with angels and demons”

posted by jmcgee

Exorcism is getting renewed attention by the Church — and even the New York Times is taking notice: The rite of exorcism, rendered gory by Hollywood and ridiculed by many modern believers, has largely fallen out of favor in the […]

Lesbian fired after posting wedding announcement

posted by jmcgee

Details: A gay educator lost her job at a Downstate Catholic university after she posted a wedding announcement for herself and her lesbian partner in the local paper. Laine Tadlock, 60, says bosses at Benedictine University in Springfield knew she […]

Atheists prepare to spread holiday cheer

posted by jmcgee

Just in time for the holidays, atheists and humanists are out to spread their message of non-belief: Four separate and competing national organizations representing various streams of atheists, humanists and freethinkers will soon be spreading their gospel through advertisements on […]

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for “blasphemy”

posted by jmcgee

Details, from the British paper the Telegraph: A Christian woman has been sentenced to hang in Pakistan after being convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed. Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted […]

Parishioners raise bail for accused priest

posted by jmcgee

How is this for a testament of faith? From UPI: A California priest accused of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy has been freed on bail with money raised by parishioners who say they believe he’s innocent. The Rev. Alejandro […]

Iraq archbishop: “Christian people…should escape the ethnic cleansing”

posted by jmcgee

A Syriac Orthodox archbishop is urging Christians in Iraq to get out now — while they still can. From CNN: Archbishop Athanasios Dawood slammed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect the rights of minorities and urged Christians […]

The Episcopal Church’s first gay bishop announces retirement

posted by jmcgee

And it’s much earlier than expected. Details: Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose consecration as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church set off a historic rift in the global Anglican Communion, announced to his New Hampshire diocese on […]

“Christian roommate” case thrown out

posted by jmcgee

You probably remember this story from last month, about a woman seeking a Christian roommate. Now, an update: An American woman who placed an advert in her church for a Christian roommate has had a complaint against her dismissed. The […]

Where did God go on the battlefield?

posted by jmcgee

A soldier in Afghanistan offers some glimpses of military life today — and, to his dismay, there seems to be a distressing lack of faith: “There are no atheists in foxholes,” the cliché goes. It’s hard to imagine a soldier […]

Cuba opens first seminary in 50 years

posted by jmcgee

It’s a dramatic move for the Communist island nation — and a sign, perhaps, that the country is turning a corner: With Cuban President Raúl Castro and several high-profile church leaders from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy and the Bahamas present, […]

“Oh Mary, Christ, God, please protect us”

posted by jmcgee

Those were the desperate prayers of the Iraqis held hostage during mass on Sunday — a crisis that ended in a bloodbath: Around 5:20 p.m., as the Christian worshipers stood and recited “Upon this rock I will build my church,” […]

Seige: hostages killed in Baghdad Catholic church

posted by jmcgee

A dramatic standoff in an Iraqi Catholic church has come to a violent end. Details: At least seven Iraqi Christian worshipers and seven Iraqi security forces were killed Sunday night after commandos stormed a church in Baghdad where a band […]

Free birth control?

posted by jmcgee

Maybe, according to this report: Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law. That could start a shift toward more […]

Most popular boys’ name in Britain: Mohammed

posted by jmcgee

And Damien Thompson has some reasons: Is it a function of the scale of immigration from Muslim countries over the past decade? I’m sure that’s not the main factor. The answer, I suspect, lies in the findings of a poll […]

“Protect thy neighbor”: Catholic parishes passing out condoms

posted by jmcgee

It’s happening in Switzerland: Roman Catholic parishes in the central Swiss city of Lucerne caused an uproar with an AIDS awareness campaign that involves giving teenagers condoms bearing the slogan “protect thy neighbor as thyself.” The parishes started handing out […]

Vatican opposes death sentence for Tariq Aziz

posted by jmcgee

The infamous Iraqi — and Chaldean Catholic — faces death by hanging, and the Vatican has urged that the sentence be changed: For the second time in two days, the Vatican on Wednesday opposed the death sentence handed down to […]

And now, San Diego

posted by jmcgee

It’s been described as the biggest document release ever regarding clerical sexual abuse — but details in the Los Angeles Times don’t add that much to what we already know: After a three-year legal fight, documents were released Sunday detailing […]

Tony Blair’s sister-in-law becomes Muslim

posted by jmcgee

There’s another convert in the Blair family, according to news reports: It could certainly make family get-togethers interesting. Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth has converted to Islam. The former prime minister is also a religious convert – he became a […]

Archbishop Nienstedt: “You have to be 100% Catholic”

posted by jmcgee

The prelate who’s sparked some controversy lately is explaining himself with this interview: The Catholic archbishop for the Twin Cities defended his right Monday to speak to fellow Catholics on social issues, and said a shrinking Roman Catholic church is […]

In Chile: “Gracias a Dios”

posted by jmcgee

Just days after their dramatic rescue, some of the Chilean miners returned to where it all unfolded to offer prayers of thanksgiving: About a dozen of the miners rescued in Chile returned to the San Jose mine Sunday for a […]

Anglican “earthquake”: bishop set to convert

posted by jmcgee

And more may be joining him in the months ahead. Details from Damien Thompson: Bishop John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham in the Anglican diocese of London, is to resign his post later this year to join the Pope’s Ordinariate. The […]

Who’s that woman? The story of a soul named Annie

posted by jmcgee

If you ever wonder about that ragged old stranger that you pass on the street every day — and usually go out of your way to avoid — the New York Times’ Dan Barry finds a poignant answer. He did […]

Diocese backs ban on wearing rosaries

posted by jmcgee

It’s a trend that’s sparking concern — and one Colorado diocese is taking a stand: Responding to a ban on the wearing of rosaries at a Colorado public school, the Diocese of Colorado Springs has said it does not oppose […]

“God won”

posted by jmcgee

Aren’t we supposed to be unfazed by this sort of thing? Aren’t we supposed to shrug it all off, attribute it to science and engineering and the sheer grit of the human psyche?   Isn’t it supposed to have more […]

Hitchens and Blair to debate

posted by jmcgee

This should be interesting, to say the least: One is a prominent atheist, the other a devout Roman Catholic. Both share mutual admiration for each other, but for a few hours next month, they will be adversaries, facing off over […]

A beautiful lesson in charity in Chile

posted by jmcgee

A makeshift altar near the mineshaft in Chile These opening paragraphs from a report on the trapped miners in Chile are a homily waiting to be given: Engineers Sunday rushed to reinforce a shaft through which to hoist 33 men […]

Art criticism by crowbar

posted by jmcgee

There’s an update on that controversial art exhibit in Colorado: A Montana woman has been charged with criminal mischief after allegedly taking a crowbar to a controversial art museum display in Colorado that critics say portrays Jesus Christ receiving oral […]

Stormy weather: TV weatherman fired over his faith?

posted by jmcgee

That seems to be what happened, according to this account: A Virginia Beach TV weatherman has been fired — and the reasons management gave him were all related to his after-hours ministry. Jon Cash, a 21-year employee of WAVY-TV, appeared […]

Protests erupt over Christian flag display

posted by jmcgee

It’s unfolding in a small city in North Carolina, and has prompted a remarkable — and remarkably unified — response: A holy war is brewing in a small North Carolina city, where the Christian flag seems to be flying everywhere. […]

Report: Saudis arrest Catholics during mass

posted by jmcgee

Their crime? Evidently, just being Catholic. From AFP: Saudi police raided a secret Catholic mass in Riyadh last week and arrested a dozen Filipinos and a Catholic priest, charging them with prosyletising, a local daily reported on Wednesday. The raid […]

Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas…

posted by jmcgee

An early skirmish in the annual “war on Christmas” ended quickly, and without any apparent bloodshed, after the party which fired the first shot waved a white flag of surrender. Details: Richmond will have a “Christmas” parade after all. The […]

“Was there no one to step between Tyler Clementi and that bridge?”

posted by jmcgee

The tragedy of Tyler Clementi has provoked a lot of comment in the media, but this essay by a renowned Baptist minister struck me as particularly sharp, and challenging: When gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also […]

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 […]

Fired priest may have been protecting seal of confession

posted by jmcgee

Last month, I posted the story of a priest suing his bishop, after being falsely accused and fired. Now, there’s another twist in the story: The dramatic case of the monk who filed a defamation suit against St. Vincent College […]

In-vitro pioneer wins Nobel

posted by jmcgee

This news won’t fill the Vatican with joy: Robert Edwards of Britain won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for developing in-vitro fertilization, a controversial breakthrough that ignited sharp criticism from religious leaders but helped millions of infertile […]

In Philippines, bishops threaten “civil disobedience” over birth control

posted by jmcgee

The war of words over contraception is heating up — and in a way that might surprise Catholics in the western world.  Could you imagine a threat like this being issued by bishops in the United States?  The latest: Raising […]

Seeing Red: annual mass celebrated in Washington

posted by jmcgee

Before the First Monday in October, there’s the First Sunday, and what has become a long-running tradition in the nation’s capital. From the Washington Post: On the eve of a Supreme Court session that will feature six Catholic justices for […]

Druids recognized as a religion in UK

posted by jmcgee

Just a couple weeks after the pope’s visit, the United Kingdom has decided to give legal recognition to a pagan religion: The ancient pagan tradition of Druidry has been formally accepted as a religion under charity law in Britain — […]

Priest cleared of sex abuse charges for second time

posted by jmcgee

It happened in the Archdiocese of Boston:   Parishioners and priests at St. Francis Xavier Church say they’re happy to have the Rev. Charles Murphy back after he was cleared of sexual-abuse allegations for the second time in less than five […]

Catholics blazing a trail in stem-cell research

posted by jmcgee

And now for something innovative — a Catholic hospital involved in stem-cell research, but not in a way you might think : Women giving birth by cesarean section at a Catholic hospital in Florida can contribute to cutting-edge research that […]

Obama: “I’m a Christian by choice”

posted by jmcgee

In a rare description of his personal faith, the president at a New Mexico gathering answered some questions about religion and abortion: An event billed as a discussion on the economy turned personal Tuesday when a woman asked President Barack […]

Losing your religion may be bad for your health

posted by jmcgee

Want to stay healthy? Keep going to church. That, at least, is one conclusion you might draw from a new study: For some people, leaving their religion means more than taking a spiritual risk. They could be risking their physical […]

Are you smarter than an atheist?

posted by jmcgee

When it comes to religion, maybe not. Catholics, in particular, don’t understand the Eucharist at an alarmingly high rate.  That, and more, according to the results of a new survey: If you want to know about God, you might want […]

Was a Quran blessed at a Catholic cathedral??

posted by jmcgee

You might think so, based on some reports. But the rector of the cathedral in Sacramento explains: First of all, the “Qu’ran blessed at California cathedral” was misconstrued and of course the event was not in the Cathedral building but […]

Husband sacrifices his life for his wife and unborn child

posted by jmcgee

A beautiful and heartbreaking story out of Canada: Brian Wood, a 33-year-old resident of Vancouver, B.C., was killed in an auto collision on September 3, when the driver of an oncoming SUV lost control of the vehicle and crossed the […]

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 […]

First, the pope visits the Anglicans, now this…

posted by jmcgee

The President paid a visit to the Episcopalians — and went up for communion: On Sunday, President Obama and the First Lady — along with daughters Malia and Sasha — attended 9 a.m. church services at Washington’s St. John’s Episcopal […]

“These revelations were a shock to me, a great sadness”

posted by jmcgee

Pope Benedict arrived in the United Kingdom — but not before making some news on the plane trip over (something that has almost become his custom): As Pope Benedict XVI arrived here Thursday for the first state visit to Britain […]

“Quite inexplicable”

posted by jmcgee

That’s how the Archbishop of Westminster is characterizing comments by Cardinal Walter Kasper, who earlier this week compared the UK to “Third World country.” (Perhaps not the best choice of words for the start of a papal trip…) From the […]

40,000 masses: Tennessee’s oldest priest dies at 97

posted by jmcgee

An amazing life, to be sure. Details: The oldest Catholic priest in Tennessee passed away on Monday. Monsignor George Rohling died at the age of 97. Rohling was a priest for 71 years in the Diocese of Nashville, ministered at […]

The changing definition of “family”

posted by jmcgee

A new study indicates the meaning of the word is evolving: A majority of Americans now say their definition of family includes same-sex couples with children, as well as married gay and lesbian couples. At the same time, most Americans […]

Forgotten: the Muslim prayer room in the Twin Towers

posted by jmcgee

While controversy continues to swirl over the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, here’s a fact many may not be aware of: Sometime in 1999, a construction electrician received a new work assignment from his union. Sinclair Hejazi Abdus-Salaam was […]

Report: abuse in Belgium led to suicides

posted by jmcgee

This news is heartbreaking — and horrifying: Hundreds of sex abuse victims have come forward in Belgium with harrowing accounts of molestation by Catholic clergy that reportedly led to at least 13 suicides and affected children as young as two, […]

“Reprehensible”

posted by jmcgee

“I view with great dismay the plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by members of the Dove World Outreach Center. Out of respect for those of the Muslim faith, members of our […]

The best way to combat Islam may begin in the bedroom

posted by jmcgee

Or so argues a Catholic priest in Italy, who clearly believes we need to make love, not war: A prominent Catholic priest wants European Christians to fight off Islam with a unique weapon: babies. Father Piero Gheddo, an Italian missionary […]

Why burning the Quran is a sin

posted by jmcgee

The esteemed Msgr. Charles Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington sums it up well: Intentionally giving offense is wrong. I do not deny that there are problems in the Islamic world. But I also know that it is wrong to […]

“Outrageous”

posted by jmcgee

That’s how the Vatican is characterizing the plans by a Florida pastor to burn the Quran on 9/11: Burning the Quran would an “outrageous and grave gesture,” the Vatican said Wednesday, joining a chorus of voices pleading with a small […]

The Muslim gargoyle on a Catholic cathedral

posted by jmcgee

That would be the character above, on the left, which was modeled on the gentleman on the right. He is the Muslim foreman who led the restoration of the tower and worked on the cathedral for 30 years. And wouldn’t […]

Pope may try to prevent stoning of Iranian woman

posted by jmcgee

This news broke mid-day and bears watching: Pope Benedict XVI is monitoring the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning and has not ruled out getting involved through diplomatic channels, the Vatican said Sunday. As he has […]

See you in court: falsely accused priest sues bishop for libel

posted by jmcgee

In a rare move, a priest who has been cleared of charges of sexual abuse is taking aim at his bishop — and others — in court. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: A priest at St. Vincent College filed a libel […]

Bishop blasts attempted ordination of a woman

posted by jmcgee

It happened in Phoenix: The Catholic Bishop of Phoenix responded Wednesday to a priest’s reported participation in an attempted priestly ordination of a woman. Urging prayers for all involved, he said such actions are “divisive” and have “profoundly harmful consequences.” […]

Survey: worldwide, most say religion is important

posted by jmcgee

A new survey reports that an overwhelming majority of people in the world believes in the importance of religion — but it breaks down largely along economic lines: More than eight in ten adults in the world say religion is […]

BYOP: Bring your own pitchfork

posted by jmcgee

A group of Satanists is planning to rent a city civic center in Oklahoma for one of their rituals. You have to see the bizarre report below to believe it. More details here.

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 […]

Out of Africa: the next pope?

posted by jmcgee

Anything is possible, with the Holy Spirit in charge. And a London paper takes a close look at one contender: When Pope Benedict XVI kicks off his four-day visit to the UK with a greeting from the Queen at Holyrood […]

Trapped Chilean miners creating underground shrine

posted by jmcgee

This news is both beautiful — and poignant: Communications and supplies were flowing efficiently between rescuers and 33 trapped miners in Chile, authorities said Wednesday. The miners have been trapped for a total of 20 days with minimal food. A […]

“Socking it to Christianity” in high school tests?

posted by jmcgee

That’s the charge some teachers are leveling in New York. Details: State testmakers played favorites when quizzing high-schoolers on world religions — giving Islam and Buddhism the kid-gloves treatment while socking it to Christianity, critics say. Teachers complain that the […]

To life: judge blocks funding of embryonic stem cell research

posted by jmcgee

An encouraging piece of pro-life news late Monday: A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos. The […]

Beyond Ground Zero: the Pentagon “mosque”

posted by jmcgee

While much of the news attention these days is focused on the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, another place of worship near the 9/11 attacks has gone largely unnoticed. From ABC News: Sometimes misidentified as the “Pentagon Mosque,” the non-denominational […]

Zsa Zsa asks for last rites

posted by jmcgee

The woman with the iconic first name appears to be fading fast. From Reuters: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, a fixture in Hollywood for six decades, asked that a priest read her the last rites on Sunday, following hospitalization two days […]

Bomb scare forces thousands to evacuate Lourdes

posted by jmcgee

Does anyone remember anything quite like this happening before? From the BBC: Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims were evacuated from the Sanctuary of Lourdes in France after a bomb scare which turned out to be a hoax. The threat came […]

Quote of the day, II

posted by jmcgee

“We Catholics are welcoming to the outsider, not only because of our own experience of sometimes being scorned in the past, but also because our faith teaches it. As Pope John Paul II remarked during his visit to a mosque […]

Why aren’t we like the Muslims?

posted by jmcgee

How many Catholics do you know who are as dedicated to religious fasting? Take a look: Pakistani flood survivors already short on food and water began the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday, a normally festive, social time marked this […]

What will be: first look at 9/11 museum

posted by jmcgee

Some members of the media got a preview of the site at Ground Zero, slated to open in two years: Never has a dusty, ear-splitting construction site – the museum is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2012 – appeared […]

“Religious cleansing,” as Catholic teachers are fired

posted by jmcgee

It happened in California: Four teachers and seven other workers at a Southern California religious school have been fired because of differences in biblical interpretation and incompatible beliefs. Most of the dismissed workers were Roman Catholics whose beliefs conflicted with […]

Poll: more young Hispanics not Catholic

posted by jmcgee

Some interesting findings — and troubling ones, too — in this report: A name like Maria or Jose isn’t a solid clue anymore that the person who answers to it will worship in a Catholic church on Sundays. An Associated […]

Atheist donates over $5 million to Catholic schools

posted by jmcgee

Amazing but true: Retired hedge fund titan Robert W. Wilson lost his faith in God years ago, yet he believes in Catholic schools and gave $5.6 million to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York this summer. It’s the latest […]

On Arizona: “We are witnessing the early stages of ethnic cleansing”

posted by jmcgee

Is it hyperbole? A Unitarian minister, Rev. Peter Morales, describes his arrest for protesting Arizona’s new immigration law, and concludes: I was a journalist before entering seminary to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. I like to think of myself as […]

Anne Rice: “I have to, in the name of Christ, step away from this…”

posted by jmcgee

A few days after her bombshell announcement that she’s “quitting Christianity,” author Anne Rice has given a lengthy interview to the Los Angeles Times to explain herself: Q) You were raised Catholic, became an atheist, then returned to Catholicism in […]

Lord, hear our prayer: Benedictine sisters cope with tragedy

posted by jmcgee

Sister Denise Mosier, OSB August 26, 1943 – August 1, 2010 The tragic story of the Benedictine nun killed in a Virginia car crash has grabbed a lot of headlines — but so should this story, about how her community […]

Arrested for praying: case dismissed

posted by jmcgee

Earlier in the week, I posted on the man arrested for praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. (There’s also a video of the act that some thought criminal.) Well, the charges have now been dropped: This afternoon, in a wake […]

Jewish donors supporting Catholic schools

posted by jmcgee

Surprised? The Boston Globe has the story: Richard J. Henken, a Boston real estate company executive, grew up in a conservative Jewish family on the south side of Newton. He attends services on the Jewish High Holy Days and considers […]

The bishops and immigration: Kicanas speaks out

posted by jmcgee

The Bishop of Tucson, Gerald Kicanas, presides over a diocese that runs along the border with Mexico . He’s been vocal about immigration reform, and he gave an interview to “Currents” last week, just before the controversial new Arizona law […]

Man faces charges for praying outside abortion clinic

posted by jmcgee

A legal skirmish is brewing in Chicago, over the issue of public prayer outside a Planned Parenthood facility.  From FOX: A Chicago man says he’s fighting charges of disorderly conduct for simply standing on a public sidewalk and praying. Joseph […]

Clergy need a vacation, too

posted by jmcgee

Can I hear an “Amen!”? The New York Times looks at some worrisome trends involving people who do the work of the Lord — and need a break: The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, […]

Church-run dining room feeds deportees at the border

posted by jmcgee

See how these Christians love one another, in this impressive story by Patricia Zapor of CNS. From The Tidings: Victor Hernandez Martinez, a blacksmith with his own business near Seattle, was on his third day at the “Centro para Atención […]

Chelsea Clinton and mixed marriage

posted by jmcgee

Seems the most celebrated wedding of the summer has thrown a spotlight on an issue that is becoming more common — and, sometimes, more problematic and complicated. From USA TODAY: Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist, and Marc Mezvinsky, a conservative Jew, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Adult stem cell stunner: blind can now see

posted by jmcgee

It’s being hailed as a major breakthrough in treating the visually impaired — and some of the results are truly amazing: Dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals […]

“Handmaid” horror: nun killed by car fleeing police

posted by jmcgee

Last summer, I posted this item about a remarkable order of African American nuns in Harlem. Late today, some sad news about one of their members: An elderly nun was killed after a minivan fleeing the police struck a Honda […]

The latest proposal to stop oil spill: prayer

posted by jmcgee

There are no atheists in foxholes — or in Louisiana politics, especially during a crisis of historic proportions. From CNN: While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are […]

Convent may not be sold to become a mosque

posted by jmcgee

You may remember this story from last month. Well, it seems the pastor has changed his mind about the whole deal: A plan to sell a Roman Catholic convent on Staten Island to a Muslim group for use as a […]

Phoenix nun’s excommunication “null and void”?

posted by jmcgee

A canon lawyer is arguing that case, in reference to Sr. Margaret Mary McBride. America Magazine has the details. Among the key points: 5. The Code of Canon Law contains nothing specifically and precisely (a “must” in criminal matters) about […]

The China Syndrome: the effects of selective abortion

posted by jmcgee

What happens when the law only allows one child per family, and most of those — through selective abortion — are male? This CNN report offers one sobering answer.

RIP for BFF?

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, there’s a movement afoot to stop kids from having best friends. I’m not making this up. Really. Take a look: Increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: […]

Bishop who resigned changes his mind

posted by jmcgee

In a curious twist, a bishop who made headlines over abuse allegations, and quit, is now having second thoughts: A former German bishop said Wednesday his peers in the Roman Catholic church pressured him into resigning over abuse allegations and […]

“We insistently beg forgiveness from God…”

posted by jmcgee

The big story of the day, out of the Vatican: Pope Benedict begged forgiveness from God and victims of child sexual abuse by priests on Friday and vowed that the Catholic Church would do everything in its power to ensure […]

Trust in clergy drops

posted by jmcgee

A research group has released its “Trust Index” for 2010 — and (perhaps unsurprisingly) members of the clergy didn’t fare well: Firefighters enjoy the highest levels of trust internationally. The clergy and marketing specialists have suffered a considerable deterioration in […]

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Don’t repeal

posted by jmcgee

That’s the message coming from the Archbishop for Military Services. From CNA: The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring open homosexuals from serving in the military should not be changed, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said […]

School resinstates boy who wore “gang symbol”: a rosary

posted by jmcgee

Not long ago, I posted about a teenager suspended for wearing a rosary to school — which some considered a gang symbol. Now an update: Raymond Hosier is wearing his purple rosary beads to school again. A day after a […]

Father Cutie becomes an Episcopal priest

posted by jmcgee

The Catholic priest who made headlines last year is ministering again — and expecting his first child with his new wife. From the Miami Herald: As he stood in front of dozens of reporters a year ago to say he […]

O’Malley, Dolan named to panel investigating Irish sex abuse

posted by jmcgee

Two high-profile prelates of Irish descent will be part of the team looking into the scandal that’s devastated Ireland: In one of his most concrete actions since a sexual abuse scandal began sweeping the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, Pope […]

Church to atheists: let’s talk

posted by jmcgee

A little news that broke over the weekend: The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church’s relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create […]

D.C.’s big condom giveaway gets bigger

posted by jmcgee

How is the District of Columbia spending its taxpayers’ money? On better, bigger condoms: High school students and college-age adults have been complaining to District officials that the free condoms the city has been offering are not of good enough […]

For abusive priests, a fate worse than death

posted by jmcgee

Strong words today from a Vatican prosecutor: The Vatican prosecutor of clerical sex abuse warned perpetrators on Saturday that they would suffer damnation in hell that would be worse than the death penalty. The Rev. Charles Scicluna, a Maltese priest […]

Hate crime: Catholic school vandalized

posted by jmcgee

Details: On May 24, the school of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, which is located in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was vandalized in an apparent hate crime. Police officers responded on Monday to a report of a break-in […]

Nun on the run: sister chases, catches wallet thief

posted by jmcgee

It happened in Pittsburgh: A nun and local school principal chased down a would-be wallet snatcher Tuesday afternoon, said police. Channel 11 News has learned that the principal of Sacred Heart School in Shadyside chased after a man who took […]

Sacred ground: a mosque near Ground Zero?

posted by jmcgee

A proposal to construct a Muslim center, including a mosque, near the site of the World Trade Center has sparked controversy, and debate. And now leaders from three faiths — including a Catholic priest who was a chaplain at Ground […]

Convent to become Muslim mosque

posted by jmcgee

From the In My Backyard Desk…here’s an item that has ignited a small storm of controversy over in Staten Island: The impending sale of an empty, 2 ½ -story convent in Midland Beach owned by St. Margaret Mary’s R.C. Church […]

From heretic to hero: another revolution for Copernicus

posted by jmcgee

You never know how history will see your life 500 years down the road. Witness the case of Copernicus: Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests […]

I am God: life created with man-made DNA — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The prospects are tantalizing — and terrifying: The first life form created entirely with man-made DNA opens the door to manufacturing new drugs and fuels, while raising the possibility that mail-order germs may one-day be available for bioterrorists. Researchers at […]

Schools treat rosaries as gang symbols

posted by jmcgee

Most of us know that rosaries aren’t intended to be worn as jewelry — but that hasn’t stopped countless young people (and a lot of adults) from adopting them as necklaces. They’re even being marketed that way by Dolce & […]

“This place is soaked with hope”

posted by jmcgee

Every now and then — not nearly often enough — I read about something vital and important that shows the gospel being lived in ways that are truly transforming lives, and I say: “This has to continue. This has to […]

“Union busting is a mortal sin”

posted by jmcgee

So say some Catholic scholars who have issued a document on the subject, according to CNS: A group of Catholic scholars contends that management efforts to break labor unions are a grave breech of the church’s social doctrine and tantamount […]

After Obama: controversial speakers at Catholic colleges in 2010

posted by jmcgee

The Cardinal Newman Society, which keeps track of these things, has compiled a list of speakers at Catholic colleges who violate Catholic teachings: At least nine Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S. have invited spring commencement speakers and/or honorary […]

Nun approved abortion at Catholic hospital

posted by jmcgee

The circumstances were extraordinary — and the decision, I’m sure, was not easy to make. But the result has sparked a growing controversy in Arizona, where even the bishop has now intervened. From the Arizona Republic: A Catholic nun and […]

As he lay dying

posted by jmcgee

From Ohio comes this story of a convicted killer’s final moments — which included praying the rosary with a bishop: [Michael] Beuke spent an emotional 24 hours at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility where Ohio’s death house is located ahead […]

Honoring a rabbi who made history at a Catholic college

posted by jmcgee

He broke barriers nearly 50 years ago — and last weekend, he took home an honorary degree from the school where it happened: A legacy of sharing, and even a little daring, was celebrated at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College Saturday, as […]

Catholic group has “grave concerns” about Kagan

posted by jmcgee

The president’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court is already being met with criticism from one Catholic group: Today Catholic Families for America, one of the largest groups of lay Catholics in the country, announced its opposition to the nomination […]

In New Orleans, praying for a miracle

posted by jmcgee

That’s exactly what many are doing in and around New Orleans, and Ron Thibodeaux looks at how faith and prayer are pulling people together in the face of what might be an unprecedented disaster: St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis […]

Lord Jesus Christ hurt crossing the street

posted by jmcgee

Really. It happened in Massachusetts. Take a look: A 20-year-old Pittsfield driver was cited by police Tuesday after she ran down Lord Jesus Christ in a marked crosswalk at Main Street and Strong Avenue, police said. Brittany E. Cantarella was […]

Italy hosts its first “divorce fair”

posted by jmcgee

It’s a telling and tragic development in this predominantly Catholic country — and the lineup is, um, interesting: For married men and women who are harbouring suspicions about what their partner is getting up to, there will be information on […]

Is this Noah’s Ark?

posted by jmcgee

Definitely possibly almost absolutely…maybe: A group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers say wooden remains they have discovered on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey are the remains of Noah’s Ark. The group claims that carbon dating proves the relics are […]

A vandalized statue, a “teachable moment”

posted by jmcgee

A statue of Mary was desecrated over the weekend in North Carolina. Details: At the urging of their pastor, members of St. Matthew Catholic Church stopped at a rose garden on church grounds Sunday to pray for whoever knocked off […]

St. Louis church may reconcile with archdiocese

posted by jmcgee

A long and bitter feud may finally be about to be resolved.  From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In the strongest evidence yet that the long legal battle between the St. Louis Archdiocese and St. Stanislaus Kostka Church could soon be […]

A last hurrah for Poland?

posted by jmcgee

The recent tragic plane crash that left so many in Poland shocked and grieving — and praying — has this reporter below wondering how much longer the country can hold so tightly to its Catholicism. From the New York Times: […]

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 […]

The outrageous proposals for the pope’s visit to Britain — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

I swear, sometimes I think the people generating the news these days all work at The Onion. But no. Evidently, this is legit. From the Times of London: The Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked […]

Boy Scouts to pay millions over abuse cases

posted by jmcgee

And I’m sure it had something to do with celibacy. Right? From the New York Times: The Boy Scouts of America were ordered Friday to pay $18.5 million in a lawsuit that has focused new attention on the secret files […]

Vatican to fund adult stem cell research in America: “This is unprecedented” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

And it will happen at my alma mater, as a matter of fact. From the Catholic Review in Baltimore: The Vatican is expected to contribute several million dollars to an international consortium for adult stem-cell research, an effort that will […]

English and Welsh bishops urge penance for abuse

posted by jmcgee

Earlier, I posted this proposition from a deacon in Alaska, suggesting that deacons join bishops in public acts of penance. Now, another idea is taking root in the United Kingdom. From CNS: The bishops of England and Wales are asking […]

Cardinal removed from historic mass over sex abuse scandal

posted by jmcgee

This bit of news is so rare and exceptional, it may even be unprecedented. From CNS: The group organizing the first pontifical solemn high Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in 45 […]

Pope meets abuse victims in Malta — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

Details are sketchy, but I expect we’ll learn more soon. From the BBC bulletin: Pope Benedict XVI has met alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests in Malta, saying the Church will do all in its power to punish abusers. […]

Let us pray, anyway

posted by jmcgee

A judge ruled on Thursday that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional — but President Obama plans to mark the occasion anyway. From CBS News: “It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage […]

Blame it on TV

posted by jmcgee

That’s what a bishop in Mexico is doing. He blames pornography, sex education and erotic TV progams for the sex abuse scandal. From SKY news: A Roman Catholic bishop in Mexico has sparked outrage by suggesting eroticism on television and […]

Pfleger apologizes

posted by jmcgee

One of the most controversial priests in Chicago — or in the country, for that matter — has apologized for remarks he made in last Sunday’s homily: Rev. Michael Pfleger — the South Side priest who has often found himself […]

The pope speaks: “We see how necessary it is to do penance” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

The pontiff was apparently making a reference to the sex abuse scandal now rocking the Church: Pope Benedict said on Thursday the sexual abuse scandal shaking Roman Catholicism showed the Church needed to do penance for its sins, in a […]

How have the Episcopalians handled abuse cases?

posted by jmcgee

According to this blogger — a clergywoman in the Episcopal church — the answer is decidedly mixed.  From Rev. Ann Fontaine, over at Episcopal Cafe: We have our own history of the abuse of power, secrecy, and denial. It was […]

Benedict’s birthplace vandalized

posted by jmcgee

Sad news but, unfortunately, not all that surprising: The house in which Pope Benedict XVI was born in the southern Bavarian village of Marktl am Inn was vandalized overnight with an “obscene” phrase spray- painted above the main door, police […]

In homily, priest calls for pope to resign

posted by jmcgee

In what may be a first, anywhere, an outspoken Massachusetts pastor this weekend used his Sunday homily to call for Pope Benedict’s resignation: The Rev. James J. Scahill describes himself as “rather a reclusive person.” He insists he is no […]

Bishop among those killed in Poland crash

posted by jmcgee

The shocking tragedy in Russia today includes the news that several prominent members of the clergy were among those killed: The Holy Father expressed his sorrow over the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and those accompanying him on a […]

Priests commit no more abuse than others

posted by jmcgee

If you think sex abuse is committed at a higher rate by priests…think again: The Catholic sex-abuse stories emerging every day suggest that Catholics have a much bigger problem with child molestation than other denominations and the general population. Many […]

Wuerl prays with sex abuse protestors

posted by jmcgee

When my wife and I called her parents last night, to wish them a Happy Easter, they asked if we’d heard about something extraordinary that the Archbishop of Washington had done during Holy Week. It was news to me. And […]

Brundage speaks

posted by jmcgee

Last night on “Currents,” Fr. Thomas Brundage, who oversaw the case involving Fr. Lawrence Murphy, set out his own account of what happened. You can watch it here. I only wish we’d had more time to go into more depth […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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