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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Ripped from the headlines Archives

Vatican: DON’T blame it on celibacy

posted by jmcgee

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

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Ruling: “under God” is constitutional

posted by jmcgee

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

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Catholic hospitals endorse health care bill

posted by jmcgee

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

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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 […]

The Hallmark Jesus

posted by jmcgee

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

A radical change on abortion?

posted by jmcgee

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

Report: Muslims desecrate communion

posted by jmcgee

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

Baptist church pamphlet mocks eucharist as “death cookie”

posted by jmcgee

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

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

posted by jmcgee

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

Want to build a Wiccan altar in shop class?

posted by jmcgee

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

Catholic co-eds more likely to “hook up”

posted by jmcgee

So says a recent study out of Mississippi: Women at Catholic colleges engage more frequently in sexual “hook ups” than women at secular colleges, a new study shows, and researchers suspect alcohol may be the reason. The study defines a […]

One woman’s “tribute to God”: 2,000 descendents

posted by jmcgee

Somehow, I missed this eye-popping piece of news when it broke late last week — but it deserves some space here. It tells of a life deeply rooted in faith, tradition and family: When Yitta Schwartz died last month at […]

Father may face jail over daughter’s baptism

posted by jmcgee

From the Windy City comes this story of an ill wind blowing between a divorced couple, over religion and the raising of their daughter: Rebecca Reyes opened an e-mail from her estranged husband last November to learn he’d had their […]

Planned Parenthood: treat 10-year-olds as”sexual beings”

posted by jmcgee

Um, yeah. That seems to be just one radical idea behind this report: A new report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation is advocating that children as young as 10 be given extensive sex education, including an awareness of sex’s […]

In Haiti, faith among the ruins

posted by jmcgee

How do you rebuild a country’s faith after its spiritual infrastructure has been — in essence — destroyed? It’s happening right now in Haiti: Mass at Port-au-Prince’s Sacred Heart Catholic church is held under a UNICEF tarp beside Coleman tents. […]

The south is rising: Catholic schools booming in Atlanta

posted by jmcgee

While other parts of the country (notably the northeast) are struggling to keep schools open, it’s a different story down south: Anne Mancini makes a sacrifice to send her daughter to Catholic School — she leaves her home by 6 […]

New York’s last Catholic hospital, on life support

posted by jmcgee

A New York City Catholic institution is now in critical condition, on the verge of closing. And the New York Times this morning looks at some of the symptoms of its decline: For more than 150 years, St. Vincent’s Hospital […]

Abstinence-only classes may actually work

posted by jmcgee

I’m sure there are a few out there who won’t believe it, but one expert is calling the evidence “game-changing”: A new study shows for the first time that a sex education class emphasizing abstinence only — ignoring moral implications […]

Most sinful nation on earth?

posted by jmcgee

One unscientific report has concluded it must be Down Under: Australia is the most sinful nation on earth, as befits a country founded as a penal colony. A BBC magazine show’s investigation has supposedly shown we Aussies are still born […]

Gay unions aren’t monogamous? Really?

posted by jmcgee

According to a new study, yes: A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as […]

Sticky problem: atheists slam Mother Teresa stamp

posted by jmcgee

As one might expect, they’re not crazy about the Virgin Mary, or Father Flanagan, either: The Freedom from Religion Foundation is urging its supporters to boycott the stamp — and also to engage in a letter-writing campaign to spread the […]

Rockville Centre offers buyouts for 1,500 workers

posted by jmcgee

You can add my neighbor to the East, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, on Long Island, to the growing list of dioceses facing tough times — and taking some drastic steps to deal with its economic challenges: The Roman Catholic […]

“The earth can shake, but the word of God continues”

posted by jmcgee

A week-and-a-half after the devastating earthquake, the people of Port-au-Prince continue to gather to pray. From AFP: Hundreds of Haitians attended mass in the skeletal shadow of Port-au-Prince’s shattered Roman Catholic cathedral on Sunday, seeking to understand God’s hand in […]

Bible verses to be removed from weapons

posted by jmcgee

Earlier in the week, I posted the story about bible verses being engraved on some weapons used by the U.S. military. But now, that’s about to change: A Michigan military contractor said Thursday (Jan. 21) it will remove encoded scripture […]

Deacon rescued from Haiti: “I’m alive because of the grace of God”

posted by jmcgee

The Connecticut deacon who was rescued from the rubble in Haiti had a chance to tell his story yesterday: Prayers filled his thoughts for 10 hours as Chuck Dietsch awaited rescue or death. All around him, Dietsch heard screams. People […]

Killing for Christ? Bible verses inscribed in rifles

posted by jmcgee

This is one of the more bizarre — and unsettling — news items of the day. Maybe the week. From ABC News: Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to […]

How bad are things in Haiti?

posted by jmcgee

This bad. And it’s horrific. Via The Anchoress.

In Haiti: “We have to keep hoping…”

posted by jmcgee

This Sunday, the people of Haiti gathered together wherever they good to offer prayers and pleadings to God. Many of their churches have been destroyed, but that didn’t stop them. From the New York Times: With their churches flattened, their […]

In Haiti: “God is angry at the world”

posted by jmcgee

As the crisis in Haiti deepens, another crisis in this predominantly Catholic country may well turn out to be spiritual. From the Los Angeles Times: The woman wailed outside the ruins of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, the iconic […]

Connecticut deacon rescued from rubble in Haiti

posted by jmcgee

This news item popped up earlier today: Two Connecticut residents, including a deacon from Southbury, have been rescued from the wreckage after Haiti’s earthquake, the Hartford Courant reported on its Web site Wednesday morning. The executive director of Haitian Ministries […]

Dolan: “Haiti is the broken, bloody body of Jesus”

posted by jmcgee

I had the privilege of seeing this video early this morning at the USCCB in Washington. The Archbishop of New York is in Rome, celebrating the anniversary of the North American College. Catholic News Service tracked him down late yesterday […]

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 […]

Equality Bill: “A serious threat to religious liberty in Britain”

posted by jmcgee

Here’s a little news that should make even casual Catholics sit up and take notice — and set off alarm bells for people of all faiths: The Roman Catholic ban on women entering the priesthood will become illegal under Harriet […]

Doctor changes position on abortion-breast cancer link

posted by jmcgee

That’s the big headline from a study released last year, and now making news: An April 2009 study co-authored by a researcher who has previously denied an abortion-breast cancer link shows a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk among […]

Praying to St. Mel for a miracle (and money)

posted by jmcgee

Could an Irish cathedral destroyed by a fire get an unexpected — and very famous — savior? The local bishop hopes so: A desperate plea for actor Mel Gibson to help restore a landmark burned-out Irish cathedral has been made […]

News from Medjugorje: when clerics collide

posted by jmcgee

The recent visit of a Cardinal to Medjugorje has attracted a fair amount of attention — and the local bishop isn’t happy: Most Rev. Ratko Peri?, the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia-Herzegovina, released a statement in which he criticizes Vienna, […]

A germ-free communion dispenser?

posted by jmcgee

Yep.  I can’t imagine these things popping up at a Catholic mass, but you never know.      Anyway: now this invention is getting even more attention because of a lawsuit: A holy war of sorts has broken out in the […]

The up side of the downturn

posted by jmcgee

Could the recession be our salvation? A new poll offers some intriguing insight into how our priorities have shifted: Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great […]

Defending Pius

posted by jmcgee

A Jewish writer and researcher is defending the now-venerable pope’s record on the Nazis: Growing up Jewish in Queens, I never dreamt I would be defending the man I once believed to be a Nazi sympathizer and an anti-Semite. But […]

A record low for murders in New York City?!

posted by jmcgee

That would really be something to celebrate — and it just might happen. Turns out, murders are down elsewhere, too. In my corner of the world, this is nothing less than incredible: There were days upon days in New York […]

Christmas in Iraq: silent night?

posted by jmcgee

As the number of Christians dwindles in that beleaguered country, reports suggest that the celebrations of Christ’s birth are diminishing, too: Christians in Iraq are preparing for a muted holiday season, with one bishop in the southern city of Basra […]

The end of the Boys Choir of Harlem

posted by jmcgee

It happened so quietly, nobody noticed. But the New York Times has the obituary: For more than three decades, they sang Mozart in Latin, Bach in German, and Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder in English, from Alice Tully Hall in […]

Is this Mary? Check out this video

posted by jmcgee

My blog neighbor Rod Dreher points me to the unusual video below, and a lot of other links with other curious information, and quotes from a blog in the Los Angeles Times: Hundreds, if not thousands, have been lining up […]

Fr. Maciel, plagiarist

posted by jmcgee

So says the Legion of Christ: In an effort to distance itself from the wrongdoings of its founder, the Legion of Christ has recently circulated an internal memo detailing how a long venerated work of spirituality attributed to Fr. Marcial […]

Study: religious freedom restricted in most of the world

posted by jmcgee

At a moment when millions are flocking to churches or temples for seasonal celebrations, millions more are finding their religious freedom seriously restricted. The news from a new study on religious persecution is grim: People living in a third of […]

Child sent home from school for drawing crucifix

posted by jmcgee

From the National Caholic Register comes this inspiring story of our educational system in action: According to WCBV-TV, a Catholic second-grade student at Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Mass., was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological […]

Catholic University’s gay group

posted by jmcgee

Evidently, it’s managed to carve out a niche for itself.  From the Washington Post: Every Wednesday morning, 150 officials at Catholic University receive an e-mail about a gay student’s struggles on campus. There’s a graduate student who doesn’t mention her […]

Sanford files for divorce

posted by jmcgee

“As so many of us know, the dissolution of any marriage is a sad and painful process. It is also a very personal and private one. Because Mark and I are public figures, we have naturally had less privacy with […]

Everybody into the cafeteria: many of all faiths now mix and match beliefs

posted by jmcgee

That seems to be the conclusion of a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Among other things, it finds that nearly six in 10 Americans from all religions blend their faith with New Age and […]

Obama’s Nobel speech: “Adhering to this law of love…”

posted by jmcgee

“No Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint — no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or […]

Thanks, but no thanks

posted by jmcgee

While most of the press coverage has been devoted to Episcopalians eager to leave the Anglican Communion, New Jersey has at least one church this is probably going to stay put: For five years, members of Saint Anthony of Padua […]

Picking up where Tiller left off

posted by jmcgee

A Nebraska doctor is continuing the work of one of the most famous — and infamous — abortion doctors: The national battle over abortion, for decades firmly planted outside the Kansas clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, has erupted here […]

Irish Catholicism: “You can see how it could all go bad…”

posted by jmcgee

It wasn’t too long ago that being Irish and Catholic was a source of pride on these shores (particularly for some proud boosters of Notre Dame…but that’s another story…) But times have changed. And over at his blog, Ross Douthat […]

PETA poses nude model with cross, rosary

posted by jmcgee

PETA — the group known for its provocative ads touting the need to treat animals ethically — might want to consider its own advertising ethics. The latest ads are an assault on Christianity in general, and Catholics in particular: People […]

Are we born with the urge to help?

posted by jmcgee

Some scientists are starting to think so. From Tuesday’s New York Times: Biologists are beginning to form a generally sunnier view of humankind. Their conclusions are derived in part from testing very young children, and partly from comparing human children […]

“Thug Sunday”: Detroit church buys back guns

posted by jmcgee

A church in Detroit kicked off the new liturgical year by doing something besides lighting a candle and hanging purple: St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church held a gun buyback event Saturday, offering $20 for each weapon. The church, known for its […]

An unprecedented “call of conscience”

posted by jmcgee

Time will tell if it will actually have any impact, but the significance of this piece of news can’t be overstated: More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration Friday […]

Gay marriage compromise in D.C.?

posted by jmcgee

The intense debate over the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, DC has now led to talk that maybe the two sides can come to a compromise. From the Washington Post: Some D.C. Council members and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton are […]

Report: no link between gay priests and abuse

posted by jmcgee

I suspect this news will raise a few eyebrows — and spark some debate: A preliminary report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on the roots of the clergy sex abuse scandal found no evidence that gay priests are […]

Becoming Wise: a criminal’s conversion

posted by jmcgee

We are all products of our mistakes, and this moving story offers one profound example: It was 21 years ago when Glenn Wise was shot in the head during an attempted armed robbery. He has been a quadriplegic ever since, and […]

BREAKING: Kidnapped priest freed

posted by jmcgee

Some welcome news from the Philippines: An elderly Irish priest kidnapped and held captive in the Philippines has been released, it has been revealed tonight. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin confirmed Fr Michael Sinnott has been freed. […]

ET, phone Rome

posted by jmcgee

Because it looks like the Vatican is seriously pondering the possibility of life on other planets: If finding extraterrestrial life is like “a detective chase, a crime to be solved, we’re getting very close to the answer,” said Chris Impey, […]

“Health care legislation is about human beings…”

posted by jmcgee

“Health care legislation, with all its political, technical and economic aspects, is about human beings and hence has serious moral dimensions. Our focus is the concrete realities of families with children and their access to doctors, the poor and the […]

Best-selling Anglican author prepares to “desert a sinking ship”

posted by jmcgee

Noted British author G. P. Taylor is about to swim the Tiber: Vicar-turned-author Rev G P Taylor says he will desert the “sinking ship” Church of England, which he said was the “spiritual arm of New Labour”, for Roman Catholicism. […]

Teenager charged in nun’s murder

posted by jmcgee

The details here: Nineteen-year-old Reehahlio Carroll was charged on Friday in the death of Sr. Margaurite Bartz. According to the Associated Press, Carroll told investigators that he broke into the sister’s trailer home on Halloween night in search of money […]

Sr. Donna Quinn, “peacekeeper”

posted by jmcgee

“As a peacekeeper, my goal is to enable women to enter a reproductive health clinic in dignity and without fear of being physically assaulted. … I am very worried that the publicity around my presence will lead to violations of […]

BREAKING: Arrest in nun’s murder

posted by jmcgee

This just in: The FBI says it has made an arrest in the murder of a nun who worked on a New Mexico Indian reservation.  The announcement Thursday morning came days after the body of 64-year-old Sister Marguerite Bartz was […]

Bob McDonnell, Catholic

posted by jmcgee

The AP has this item about Virginia’s new governor-elect — only the second Catholic one in the commonwealth’s history: The new Republican governor-elect of Virginia brings to the office firmly conservative views that took root in the suburban, middle-class Irish […]

The sister at the abortion clinic: “Her actions are in violation of her profession…”

posted by jmcgee

There have been some developments in a story I posted last month, about a Dominican sister working as a volunteer escort at a Chicago abortion clinic. From American Papist: Public Statement of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation  “Several months ago the […]

Court rules Italy must remove crucifixes from classrooms

posted by jmcgee

One of Europe’s most Catholic countries will show a little less of that, at least in its public schoolrooms: Europe’s court of human rights ruled Tuesday the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms under […]

FBI probes murder of nun

posted by jmcgee

A still-unfolding story out of the American southwest: A nun has been found dead in her residence at a church in a small community on the Navajo Indian reservation near the Arizona-New Mexico border, the FBI said Monday.  Sister Marguerite […]

The last Catholic high school in Detroit

posted by jmcgee

Incredibly, this once heavily Catholic city only has one Catholic high school left. And TIME magazine finds out why: Lunch period at an inner-city all-boys school is an event associated with the sounds of chaos, not classical music. And yet […]

Anglican watch: delay on document is “technical”

posted by jmcgee

So says Vatican Radio, denying previous reports that the problem was all about the celibacy issue: “There has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic […]

Anglican watch: Kung criticizes pope for “piracy of priests”

posted by jmcgee

One of the most famous — and infamous — Catholic theologians is not impressed with Pope Benedict’s overture to the Anglicans: Dissident theologian Father Hans Kung criticized Pope Benedict XVI for his recent opening to discontented Anglicans, charging the pope […]

The Shroud of Turin, now online

posted by jmcgee

Another hopeful sign that the church is stepping into the 21st century.     Visit the site for more info. Meantime, a story about it, below.  And there’s a bit of news attached to all this: the pope will pay […]

A knock on Knock: “This is not good witness to the faith”

posted by jmcgee

An Irish bishop is throwing cold water on those who are anticipating another Marian apparition in his country: A Catholic archbishop in the west of Ireland has told pilgrims to Knock they should not look for apparitions at its shrine […]

“We’ve been praying for this for two years”

posted by jmcgee

The New York Times has this intriguing look at one Anglo-Catholic parish that may be one of the first to jump across the Tiber: When the Vatican announced last week that it would welcome groups of traditionalist Anglicans into the […]

Murder in the rectory — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

This shocking story broke late yesterday: A Catholic priest who ministered to the poor from his wealthy New Jersey parish was found beaten to death in his church rectory yesterday — possibly by someone he was trying to help, sources […]

Weigel on the Anglicans: “Theological shock-therapy”

posted by jmcgee

George Weigel has now weighed in on the Anglican situation. From the Washington Post’s On Faith blog:   The first wave of reactions to the October 20 Vatican announcement of a new arrangement for receiving into the Catholic Church groups […]

Want to buy an altar? Cleveland’s Catholic inventory is up for sale

posted by jmcgee

One American diocese is having what sounds like the world’s biggest church garage sale:  The scattering of sacred and religious artifacts from parishes closed by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is under way. The diocese’s online liquidator is advertising hundreds of […]

Here come the atheists

posted by jmcgee

If evangelicals can climb on soap boxes, why not atheists?   A report from the AP:  Ads promoting atheism will be going up in New York City subway stations. The monthlong ad campaign begins next Monday in a dozen Manhattan […]

Wilmington files for bankruptcy

posted by jmcgee

Days after its retired bishop died, another American diocese has gone Chapter 11:  The Catholic diocese [of Wilmington] Delaware has filed for US bankruptcy protection on the eve of a civil trial involving high-profile sex abuse. The move automatically delays […]

“This is a hoax”

posted by jmcgee

This is what our media-besotted culture has come to: The episode that transfixed the nation last week — a spaceshiplike balloon floating through the Colorado skies with a 6-year-old boy named Falcon believed to be inside — was declared a […]

Can you imagine a pro-life crowd like this in the U.S.?

posted by jmcgee

I can’t.  It’s in Spain.  The AP report: A huge crowd rallied in Madrid Saturday against a bill to ease restrictions on abortion — a vivid and emotional show of how the issue remains sensitive two decades after abortion was […]

A mother, a son and his father, a priest — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

This story is tragic on so many levels:  With three small children and her marriage in trouble, Pat Bond attended a spirituality retreat for Roman Catholic women in Illinois 26 years ago in hopes of finding support and comfort. What […]

The Nobel also-rans

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Before the prize was announced early this morning, the AP ran an item on the likely winners, which included this priceless sentence, buried deep in the story:   U.S. President Barack Obama is thought to have been nominated but it’s […]

Vatican greets Obama’s Nobel Prize “with appreciation”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Vatican had warm words for the Nobel committee’s decision:  News that U.S. President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was met with high hopes from the Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Oct. 9 […]

Pax Obama?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I don’t think anybody expected this to move across the wire this morning:  In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international […]

Mourning “a priest’s priest”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Wilmington’s retired Bishop Michael Saltarelli died yesterday after a battle with cancer, and the local paper has an affectionate appreciation of his life and legacy.  It helps to remind us what being a bishop is all about:  With a strong […]

Mickey Rourke on the priest who saved his life

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In the Year for Priests, here’s a story that reminds us the impact a priest can have on just one life: Mickey Rourke has revealed that he was on the verge of suicide before he turned to the Catholic Church […]

“I’ve never seen anything like it…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I saw this story and realized it had occurred at a secular, state university, I thought it was nothing less than remarkable: The melodic voices of 32 University of Northern Colorado students wafted through the predawn of Oct. 1 […]

“The left’s hostility to Catholicism is on gaudy display”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A man who may be testing the waters for a 2012 run for the White House has a few thoughts on what he considers to be serious challenges facing Christians in general — and Catholics in particular. Here’s former Senator […]

“Fight like hell to do any good”: the legacy of Aengus Finucane

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The world has lost a remarkable and spirited warrior in the fight for charity and justice — and attention must be paid:  The Rev. Aengus Finucane, a Roman Catholic missionary and Irish aid pioneer who braved civil wars and learned […]

Scientist claims he’s reproduced Shroud of Turin

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The age-old debate about the authenticity of one of the world”s most famous religious relics now has a new wrinkle.  From  Reuters: An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively […]

At the “Red Mass,” a plea for the unborn

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The annual “Red Mass” took place in Washington Sunday — and some big names were in the pews. From the AP:  An American cardinal on Sunday issued a plea for the rights of the unborn at a church service that […]

Visitors to the Capitol can finally see ‘God’

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is the sort of thing that you don’t hear about in the mainstream press, but it’s worth noting:  When the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center opened in December 2008, the national motto, “In God We Trust,” was nowhere to be […]

A Catholic, a Methodist and a Lutheran walk into a bar …

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

… and the result is doctrine!  Two of the three faiths agreed on the doctrine of justification 10 years ago — the Methodists chimed in a few years later — and they’re planning to mark the anniversary with a prayer […]

Charities and the recession: “We’ve never seen anything like this”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

If you want to know how the recession is hitting some charities, this item from the AP lays it out:  For many social-service charities across America, the recession has delivered a staggering one-two punch. Sharp drops in donations and investment […]

Be it resolved: sisters matter

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time the United States government paid tribute to a group of Catholic religious?  It happened last week.  Take a look.   

Who’s a person?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s a growing movement to try and answer that question — and, just maybe, have an impact on abortion laws.    From the Los Angeles Times:  It is one of the enduring questions of religion and science, and lately of […]

The “Nones” Story: the growing number of people with no religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

Trend-watchers might want to take note of this report, from USA TODAY: Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation’s largest […]

The American Church’s tug-of-war

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Cincinnati, which has seen a little controversy lately, comes this story about some widening cracks within the “one holy Catholic and apostolic” Church Catholics stand together during Sunday Mass to recite the “Profession of Faith,” a creed that defines […]

A monastery is born: Vietnamese monks establish “heavenly heart” in Texas

posted by deacon greg kandra

Further proof that the Church is alive and thriving in the South: word that a new Benedictine monastery is being established in the Lone Star State. From the Dallas Morning News: Here in cow country about 70 miles southeast of […]

How one family paid off $100,000 in debt in five years — and still tithed

posted by deacon greg kandra

You think it can’t be done? Check out how this family did it: Five years ago, the Hildebrandt family of New Richmond, Wis., was juggling more than $100,000 in credit card and personal debt. Through frugality, determination and hard work, […]

Religion editor who asked “Is God Dead?” dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

His question about God’s death startled and shocked the world, and set off a firestorm of controversy. But when John T. Elson died, few people noticed. The New York Times didn’t run this remembrance until 10 days after his passing. […]

Catholic Charities reports “alarming” rise in poverty in 2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

In news that shouldn’t be all that surprising, given the state of the economy, Catholic Charities is reporting a big jump in the number of people applying for help: Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies have released its 2008 […]

Knockin’ on heaven’s door: a summer of celebrity deaths

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of learning of the death of Mary Travers, someone posted a comment, noting that Henry Gibson had also died today. Does it seem like a lot of well-known people are shuffling off this mortal coil? The […]

“Do whatever you want, but don’t marry a Catholic…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those were words of advice from Tony Blair’s grandmother — words he obviously ignored. And the rest is history. He discusses that and more about his conversion with L’Osservatore Romano. Highlights, from the Guardian, in London: Tony Blair has revealed […]

In Catholic Brazil: Evangelicals on the rise

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just days after posting this item about Brazil’s most popular priest, I found this little nugget, which shows just what the Church is up against down there. Want to know what’s luring a new generation of Brazilians away from the […]

The sex abuse crisis strikes Italy

posted by deacon greg kandra

The AP has been doing a little digging into clerical sex abuse in one of the world’s most staunchly Catholic countries, and came up with some numbers: For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priest abuse in Italy, where […]

Forgive us our debts: when you can’t afford a religious vocation

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the often-unreported stumbling blocks to a religious vocation isn’t spiritual. It’s financial. And this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times looks at this problem, and those who are trying to help: Alicia Torres must raise $94,000 in order to take […]

Shanley challenges his abuse conviction and “repressed memory”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A priest at the heart of the clergy abuse scandal that rocked the American Church is back in court, challenging a key part of the case that convicted him: Paul R. Shanley was convicted in 2005 of raping and assaulting […]

Anything goes: Dominick Dunne’s big fat Irish Catholic funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

The celebrated author Dominick Dunne was buried this afternoon following a funeral mass that makes Ted Kennedy’s seem downright conservative: Chronicler of the rich and powerful Dominick Dunne was eulogized as a great father, gossip and faithful friend at a […]

The U.S. Army gets its first Buddhist chaplain

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Armed Forces are more diverse than ever — and that includes a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. For evidence, look no further than this item from USA TODAY: When Thomas Dyer heads to Afghanistan in December, the former […]

Catholic school tries out a four-day week

posted by deacon greg kandra

A lot of Catholic schools are facing budgetary challenges, with lower enrollment and higher operational costs. But a school in upstate New York is becoming the first in the state to try something radical: a four-day school week. From the […]

Sold: bishop’s mansion goes for $2 million

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another sign that an era has ended — at least, in Pittsburgh: The 39-room mansion in Squirrel Hill near the Shadyside border that housed Pittsburgh’s Catholic bishops for six decades has been sold to an undisclosed private trust for more […]

Wuerl joins the battle against same-sex marriage

posted by deacon greg kandra

Washington’s Archbishop Donald Wuerl has now added his voice to the chorus opposing gay marriage. From the Washington Post: Wuerl sent a letter to 300 local Catholic priests Tuesday reminding them about the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and he […]

Who’s your daddy?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people might start to wonder. One company based in California (where else?) is taking the notion of designer babies to the extreme: Want your baby to look like Prince William? Easy. Michael Phelps? Done. A California fertility company whose […]

Havana to open a new seminary next year

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s a fitting touchstone — or cornerstone? — for the Year for Priests: The Archdiocese of Havana announced this week that it will open a new seminary in 2010, the first such building project the Church has undertaken in Cuba […]

“Fatigue” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

That is the one word summary for the sudden departure of Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino, who had more to say on the subject this morning at a news conference: After officially announcing his resignation this morning, Diocese of Scranton Bishop […]

“Because you are here”: why this baby lives

posted by deacon greg kandra

The excellent diocesan paper Florida Catholic is touting an upcoming vigil for life by recalling one inspiring success story from last year’s vigil: The prayers of hundreds of participants in the 2008 “40 Days for Life” campaign at Planned Parenthood […]

Three words about Ted Kennedy’s funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

What? No deacons?

Health care reform: “It is the great tension in Catholic thought right now”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times has picked up on something many of us noticed weeks ago: not all Catholic bishops are thrilled with proposed changes to health care: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been lobbying for three decades […]

Another Kennedy burial at Arlington

posted by deacon greg kandra

Arrangements and details are trickling out: The official tributes and funeral services for Senator Edward M. Kennedy will begin on Thursday morning, when his body is carried by motorcade from the family compound in Hyannis Port to the John F. […]

Randall Terry’s theater of the absurd

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s a polite way to describe the frankly outrageous scene described here, at a town hall meeting over Obamacare: While supporters dominated inside the auditorium, opponents made a splash outside the high school gymnasium with street theater. The Moran town […]

Kennedy: the final days

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Senator from Massachusetts had come to rely more intently on his faith, according to his family and his priest. From the New York Times: In recent years, friends say, Mr. Kennedy had come to lean heavily on his Roman […]

Catholic priest “delighted” at Lockerbie bomber’s release

posted by deacon greg kandra

A move that surprised many — and angered more than a few — has been greeted warmly by at least one Catholic cleric. Catholic News Service has details: A Scottish priest who served at Lockerbie, Scotland, at the time an […]

Roy Bourgeois: “I will not be silenced” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The controversial priest who participated in a woman’s ordination ceremony last year is back in the news again — and continuing to stir the pot: A prominent priest whose support for women’s ordination has him in trouble with the Catholic […]

Don’t kiss the saint

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s evidently the latest rule enacted in Spain as a way of averting swine flu. Details: For centuries, pilgrims have visited one of Roman Catholicism’s holiest shrines—the cathedral holding the purported remains of St. James the Apostle, Spain’s patron saint. […]

Lutherans vote to allow gay clergy

posted by deacon greg kandra

What many predicted would happen has, in fact, come to pass. From the New York Times: After an emotional debate over the authority of Scripture and the limits of biblical inclusiveness, leaders of the country’s largest Lutheran denomination voted Friday […]

Obama to religious groups: health care is “a core ethical and moral obligation”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The President continued his campaign for health reform yesterday, taking his case (via conference call) to a variety of sympathetic religious groups: Addressing a coalition of religious progressives this afternoon in a teleconference call, President Barack Obama denied that his […]

“I hope this column makes you sick”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those words begin this stark, frank, and — unfortunately — utterly necessary column by the very fine writer Leonard Pitts, Jr.. The subject is Nazis, who seem to be everywhere these days. Read on: I hope this column makes you […]

How long until we can tweet confession?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The day is fast approaching. Our Hebrew brothers and sisters can already tweet their prayers, according to this report: Want to tweet God? An Israeli university student has opened a Twitter site, twitter.com/thekotel, where prayers can be sent for placement […]

Robert Novak, Catholic convert, dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

The conservative commentator — and celebrated Catholic convert — has lost his battle with brain cancer. From the Washington Post: Robert D. Novak, 78, an influential columnist and panelist on TV news-discussion shows who called himself a “stirrer up of […]

Lutherans consider allowing sexually active gay people to serve in ministry

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s something that will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows — and blood pressures. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the largest Christian denominations in the country, will decide this week whether to allow gay people in relationships to serve […]

“Father Barber has violated our trust in him…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader thought this priest’s name sounded familiar, and then realized that I’d posted a news item on him two years ago. So this morning, this reader dropped me a line to bring me this sobering piece of news: Father […]

Catholic convert, world’s oldest pupil, dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the “I Didn’t Know That” Desk comes this poignant news, via CNA: The Kenyan man named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest pupil, who enrolled in classes to learn to read the Bible and […]

Why Newt did it

posted by deacon greg kandra

Time magazine has what I think may be the first in-depth look at Newt Gingrich’s recent conversion. From the magazine: Visitors to the Basilica of the National Shrine in northeast Washington often do a double take when they see Newt […]

Pitino: forgiven, or fired?

posted by deacon greg kandra

The scandal swirling around one of college basketball’s most celebrated coaches — and a Catholic, at that — has raised questions about morality and forgiveness — along with more mundane things, like whether the man in question has violated the […]

The economy is down, but giving is up

posted by deacon greg kandra

You might think it would be otherwise, but a story out this weekend indicates bad times are good news for charitable giving to churches: Frank Berning, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has upped his church giving as the economy drooped. “I […]

Take a hike

posted by deacon greg kandra

This has been widely circulated, but it’s well worth reading and pondering: a modern story of pilgrimage and pure, undiluted trust: They’ve been mistaken for Jedi-wannabes headed to a Star Wars convention. They’ve been investigated by police, approached by strangers, […]

Paper apologizes to Canada’s prime minister over communion story

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may remember the flap over this story, which reported that Canada’s non-Catholic prime minister had received communion — but instead of consuming it, pocketed the host. Now, a Canadian paper has apologized: The saga of the missing holy host […]

“Two styles of being Anglican”?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That seems to be what the Archbishop of Canterbury is mulling for his fractured, increasingly splintered church — an idea that sounds, frankly, schizophrenic. From the New York Times: Confronting rifts among his followers over gay clergy and same-sex unions, […]

Medjugorje priest “defrocked”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Controversy has long swirled around one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the world — and now one of its most visible and outspoken advocates has decided to leave the priesthood. From CNA: Pope Benedict XVI has approved the […]

A deacon scam?

posted by deacon greg kandra

We’ve all gotten those e-mails from Nigeria. Now, here comes one from a Catholic deacon. (No, it’s not me…) Read on: Each message was the same. A deacon of the church was stranded in England without his wallet or money, […]

Sea change: the sisters get some company at the Jersey shore

posted by deacon greg kandra

I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, from Chestnut Hill, Pa. (just outside Philly), and remember tales of the black-habit-wearing nuns heading to Cape May for their summer vacation, where they’d sit on the sand, in habit and […]

Death be not cheap: the rise in home burials

posted by deacon greg kandra

To save money, more Americans are evidently choosing to skip the funeral parlor and bury their loved ones from home. Besides cutting costs, this is transforming the experience of death for some families. From the NY Times: When Nathaniel Roe, […]

Oregon’s fashion police (religious division)

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m not sure what implications this might have for Catholics, but it’s a disturbing prospect nonetheless: Should your child’s teacher wear a turban, a hijab, a kippah or other “religious dress’? The state of Oregon doesn’t think so. The Oregon […]

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s sermon

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some months back, I remember reading about a wave of homiletic plagiarism that was hitting, of all places, Poland. But it’s more widespread (especially these days) than many people in the pews may think. And it’s not just Catholics, as […]

A culinary star whose recipes are second to nun

posted by deacon greg kandra

The culinary world has a new star — and it’s not someone on the Food Network. Take a look: Emerging from the quiet of her convent, Sister Anastazja Pustelnik was confronted by a jarring image — her smiling face on […]

World’s oldest woman to give birth dies at 69, leaving babies orphaned

posted by deacon greg kandra

Science can do amazing things. But just because it can doesn’t mean it should. A case in point: A Spanish woman who gave birth to twins when she was 67 has died, leaving her two young boys orphaned just two-and-a-half […]

Roots: visiting Sotomayor’s Catholic grade school

posted by deacon greg kandra

Where did the woman who is in line to be the next Supreme Court justice come from? The New York Times visits Blessed Sacrament School in the Bronx: Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 55, was a student at Blessed Sacrament in the […]

Famed conductor and wife die at Swiss suicide clinic

posted by deacon greg kandra

How long until we start seeing more obituaries like this on a daily basis? Read on, from the BBC: Renowned British conductor Sir Edward Thomas Downes, CBE, has died at the age of 85, after travelling to the assisted suicide […]

Obama picks a Catholic as surgeon general — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is big. And impressive: Founder of a rural Alabama health clinic for the poor that was devastated three times (twice by hurricanes, once by fire) since its founding in 1990, Dr Regina Benjamin was reelected to a second term […]

Nuns near death: “We approach our living and dying the same way, with discernment”

posted by deacon greg kandra

We are finding, more and more, many members of religious vocations are growing older, and dying off. Now, those who taught so many of us how to live are also teaching us how to die: Gravely ill with heart disease, […]

Death of a salesman: Billy Mays’ Catholic funeral

posted by deacon greg kandra

I wasn’t aware that celebrated pitchman Billy Mays was Catholic, until I read this account of his funeral this morning: References to television pitchman Bill Mays’ trademark image were everywhere at his funeral Friday near Pittsburgh. Most mourners wore stickers […]

And then there were nuns: benefactor finds work for unemployed sisters

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the In My Own Backyard Desk: a generous and anonymous benefactor is giving back to the Church that gave him so much — and a group of recently unemployed nuns is reaping the benefits. The scoop, in the NY […]

Cutie weds in Episcopalian church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yet another chapter in the unfolding soap opera that is Alberto Cutie: Friday he got married at a historic Episcopalian church. From the Miami Herald: A day after Alberto Cutié walked away from a picturesque Spanish monastery as a married […]

‘Til death: “Every marriage has many more dimensions to it than faithfulness”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A recent high-profile extramarital affair has prompted New York Times to take a closer look at the institution of marriage — and what it finds might surprise you: Despite strong social riptides working against it — the liberalization of divorce […]

Armed and prayerful: pastor sponsors “bring-a-gun-to-church” day — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some people bring bibles to church. Some bring rosaries. One pastor is encouraging his flock to pack heat. From the New York Times: Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church here, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots […]

Of politics and pastors

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s not unusual for a parish to be upset when a pastor is reassigned. But it is unusual for a lot of powerful high-profile local politicians to get involved, as they’ve done in one New Jersey parish. Take a look: […]

“The words he wanted on his headstone are those he lived by each day: ‘parish priest’.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

An alert reader sent this my way: a heartfelt appreciation in a Boston paper for a man who evidently touched many lives. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Year for Priests than with this remembrance […]

A miracle for Emil?

posted by deacon greg kandra

An American chaplain and hero from the Korean war could be on the path to sainthood, if a miracle now attributed to him can be confirmed. The details: People in Colwich like to touch Chase Kear’s arm or his shoulder […]

First military chaplain seriously wounded in Iraq dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sad news out of Minnesota, with word that Fr. Tim Vakoc, a chaplain wounded in the Iraq war, has died: Father Tim, as he was known, was the first military chaplain grievously wounded in the Iraq war. He was injured […]

Relic of St. Therese stolen in Toronto

posted by deacon greg kandra

A bizarre and sad bit of news out of Canada: A Catholic Church in Toronto is hoping for a miracle — that the thief who stole a saint’s relic will have a change of heart and return the holy object. […]

“Illegitimate”

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the word being used by the Vatican to describe planned ordinations by SSPX. Details, from CNS: If the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X ordains new priests at the end of June as planned, the ordinations would be illegitimate, […]

Cutie weds

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, that didn’t take long. From the AP: A telegenic Miami priest who left the Catholic Church amid an uproar over published photos of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach made the relationship official Tuesday, marrying the woman he […]

Here comes the sun

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader sent this my way: a report about a fairly huge Corpus Christi procession in a corner of the country that’s not noted for being Catholic. From Washington state: Kimberly Daniels was busy watering her garden Sunday when hundreds […]

Parents of sextuplets turned down advice to abort

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Catholic couple in the UK gave birth to sextuplets last month — the first set in the UK in more than a quarter century — and, according to news reports, they were told the best thing to do would […]

“It’s missionary work turned into a business”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you’ve ever had a missionary ring your doorbell, you might be surprised to learn that some Mormons are now turning that skill into a second career during these tough economic times: Six days a week, in fair weather and […]

Obama appoints another Catholic to senior health position — and some aren’t happy

posted by deacon greg kandra

Here’s an interesting bit of news, largely overlooked by the mainstream press yesterday: President Obama has announced that Alexia Kelley, founder of the antiabortion group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, will serve as the director of the Health […]

Irish religious orders agree to boost payments to sex abuse victims

posted by deacon greg kandra

In a followup to news I posted a couple weeks ago, it looks like Ireland’s religious orders will indeed be coughing up more money to compensate victims of sex abuse. From CNS: The 18 Irish religious orders implicated in decades […]

Abortion doctor shot and killed at his church

posted by deacon greg kandra

Incredible but, tragically, true: one of the country’s most polarizing and notorious abortion doctors was slain Sunday morning while he was serving as an usher at his church. Details: President Obama said this afternoon that he was “shocked and outraged” […]

Diaz: thumbs up from the nuncio

posted by deacon greg kandra

This little tidbit almost slipped through the radar yesterday, but it’s worth noting: [Papal nuncio] Pietro Sambi leaped to the mic for a second time during this morning’s program to note the “wonderful and unexpected coincidence” of Miguel Diaz’s nomination […]

Something in common: the move toward one Easter for all Christians

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the sharp dividing lines between some Christians is when, exactly, to celebrate Easter. Now, efforts are under way to erase that line: Christianity’s largest ecumenical movement expressed hope Thursday that churches were moving closer to a common Easter […]

Cutie quits: priest leaves Catholic Church

posted by deacon greg kandra

The popular (and recently scandalized) priest has crossed the Tiber — in the other direction: Father Alberto Cutie, a priest and television host who was well-known in the Miami area, has left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopal Church. […]

How about a hug?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’ve often said the world can be divided into two kinds of people: huggers, and everybody else. Now, the New York Times is reporting that, among teengers, it’s become hip to hug: There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills […]

It’s not Caroline: Obama picks Dr. Diaz as Vatican ambassador — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Word came late today that President Obama had named several of his nominees to various ambassadorships. One was to the Vatican: Dr. Michael Diaz. From the Boston Globe: Diaz is a Cuban-American theologian at the College of Saint Benedict and […]

Pay up: Ireland demands religious orders contribute more to abuse settlements

posted by deacon greg kandra

The cost of Ireland’s sex abuse scandal is spiraling — and the country’s government is compelling the cash-strapped religious orders to pick up the tab. From the AP: Ireland’s government announced Tuesday it will summon Roman Catholic orders and demand […]

Our Catholic court — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Michael Paulson at the Boston Globe has picked up on something that may have eluded most Americans — and even, most Catholics: if Sonia Sontomeyer is approved as a justice to the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court will become […]

“We knew, and did not know”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Amid all the reaction to these terrible revelations, I have heard no one address the question of what it means, in this context, to know. Human beings — human beings everywhere, not just in Ireland — have a remarkable ability […]

Praise for Obama from Cardinal George

posted by deacon greg kandra

The leading archbishop who described President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame as “an extreme embarrassment” isn’t saying that anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact. Cardinal Francis George is now lauding one portion of the president’s speech, on the subject of […]

On Notre Dame: “Less the roar of the lion than the silence of the lambs”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Among the most insightful commentaries in the wake of Notre Dame is this one, sent to me from a reader. It comes from the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn: Probably Notre Dame is rich enough that it can safely thumb […]

Obama at Notre Dame: “Open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The first reports are now popping up about President Obama’s commencement address at Notre Dame. This, from the New York Times: President Obama directly confronted America’s deep divide over abortion on Sunday as he appealed to partisans on both sides […]

Protesting too much?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader alerted me to the disturbing video below, showing the arrest of an 80-year-old priest yesterday on the campus of Notre Dame. I was struck by this for a number of reasons. Just this morning, I took part in […]

Who is a real Catholic?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the question being asked by author, convert and FOB — Friend of the Bench — David Gibson in the Washington Post: All you need to know to diagnose the state of the Catholic Church in America today is that […]

What we have come to

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Swedish news agency reports the latest slide down a slippery slope: Swedish health authorities have ruled that gender-based abortion is not illegal according to current law and can not therefore be stopped, according to a report by Sveriges Television. […]

Weakland: Yep, I’m gay

posted by deacon greg kandra

For surprise value, this might be filed under “Dog Bites Man,” but it is noteworthy that a retired archbishop is writing about this part of his life so candidly: A Roman Catholic archbishop who resigned in 2002 over a sex […]

“She’s a faithful Catholic woman”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Falling in love is not something that I chose to do. It’s something I have been struggling with for a long time. This is not something that happened on the beach casually, with no seriousness to the relationship. That’s not […]

National Day of Prayer: the sound of silence

posted by deacon greg kandra

Today was the National Day of Prayer, and if it seems like it was a much smaller deal than usual…well, it was. From the Boston Globe: President Obama’s latest break from his predecessor is drawing some ire among some Christian […]

Swiss Miss: Vatican’s legendary guard may admit women

posted by deacon greg kandra

Could one of the most famous all-male bastions at the Vatican be ready to welcome women into the ranks? Maybe: The Vatican’s Swiss Guards will swear in 32 new recruits Wednesday amid suggestions from their new commander that women might […]

Meet Israel’s “Hebrew Catholics”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With the pope preparing to embark on his much-anticipated trip to the Holy Land, here’s a look at one tiny — and intriguing — slice of that region that is often overlooked: With just 400 faithful, the Hebrew-speaking Vicariate is […]

Celebrity priest suspended over magazine pictures

posted by deacon greg kandra

A high-profile priest in Miami finds himself now embroiled in scandal — and suspended: The Rev. Alberto Cutié, a national figure with movie star looks, was removed from his Miami Beach church Tuesday after photographs appeared in a magazine showing […]

Randall Terry arrested at Notre Dame

posted by deacon greg kandra

Somehow I missed this news last week, but it seems a noteworthy addition to the ongoing Notre Dame story. Catholic Online reports that it’s the first arrest in connection with the controversy: Pro-life activist Randall Terry was arrested Friday afternoon […]

Over easy, with a side order of grace

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just in time for Mary’s month of May comes this little oddity from sunny California: A Mexican restaurant in this border town is drawing the curious and the faithful to see what some believe is a likeness of the Virgin […]

World’s oldest monk dies in Indiana

posted by deacon greg kandra

This amazing news probably got little notice when it happened last week, but attention must be paid: The world’s oldest Benedictine monk died today at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Ind. Father Theodore Heck, 108, died in the monastery’s […]

Agca says he’s now a Catholic

posted by deacon greg kandra

Stranger things have happened. But reports from Italy say the man who attempted to assassinate the pope has converted to Catholicism. From the website CathNews: In a letter written from a Turkish prison, Mehmet Ali Agca, author of the failed […]

Superstar? Superkitsch

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought you’d seen everything, with this tacky bit of shock- art… …along comes this: Evidently, that really is a legitimate design for a license plate in the Sunshine State. According to this account, Governor Charlie Crist said: […]

Why do people change religions?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A new study looks for answers, and Michael Paulson, over at Articles of Faith, has a good wrapup: Americans are changing their religious affiliations at unprecedented rates, but Catholics are much more likely to cite concerns about their religion as […]

BREAKING: Glendon declines honor at Notre Dame

posted by deacon greg kandra

A huge h/t to Amy Welborn, who zapped this item to me moments ago…part of a fax that Mary Ann Glendon has sent to the president of Notre Dame: Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement […]

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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