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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Ripped from the headlines Archives

Atheists come out of the closet

posted by deacon greg kandra

Does it seem like there are suddenly more atheists around? It may just be that they’re being more vocal about it. The New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein has the scoop: Two months after the local atheist organization here […]

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“Pseudo-ordination”– UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Well, there they go again. A New Jersey woman this weekend took part in a ceremony in which she says she was ordained a Catholic priest. From the Newark Star-Ledger: Last July, Mary Ann Schoettly was automatically excommunicated from the […]

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Carrie Prejean’s church welcomes her as a heroine

posted by deacon greg kandra

A deacon in my diocese sent this my way: more on the swirling Carrie Prejean controversy. She was given a warm welcome Sunday at her local church: Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became the bombshell of the Miss USA pageant […]

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Is this really such a good idea…?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Reading over this latest bit of news, I’m thinking, “Um, no.”

Erin, go pray: Ireland reports surge in mass attendance

posted by deacon greg kandra

The roots for this development may have less to do with piety than with poverty. The Catholic News Service has the scoop: Many Irish parishes have reported an increase in Mass attendance in recent months, with some parishes reporting increases […]

After Columbine: a father spreads a message of compassion to the corporate world

posted by deacon greg kandra

Incredibly, Monday marks the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy known simply as “Columbine.” The New York Times has this compelling look at the legacy of one victim, and how it is spreading into the corporate world: Darrell Scott has told […]

Remembering Fr. Finch

posted by deacon greg kandra

Readers will remember that I took note this week of the sudden death of Fr. William Finch, pastor at my in-laws’ parish in Maryland. The Catholic Standard has more, from the funeral mass: Father Lee Fangmeyer, pastor of St. Francis […]

A (missing) sign of the times? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This is a weird bit of news, but nothing surprises me anymore: When President Obama gave his economics speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday, several folks noticed something was missing. That “something” was an ancient monogram — the letters IHS […]

“I aim to be a happy bishop”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just hours from his formal installation, Archbishop Dolan has already taken a big bite out of the Big Apple, and to show that he’s settling in, he’s penned a column for the city’s fabled “Hometown Paper,” the New York Daily […]

Dolan speaks — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Before he takes The Chair at St. Patrick’s, Archbishop Timothy Dolan sat down in another chair, across from an Associated Press reporter, to share a few thoughts in this AP exclusive: Dolan said he wants to restore pride in being […]

Is the circus coming to South Bend?

posted by deacon greg kandra

One has to wonder, especially after reading this piece of news, from Catholic News Service: Calling the protests against President Barack Obama’s planned commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame “unseemly and unhelpful,” Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort […]

A priest’s “beautiful death” on Holy Thursday

posted by deacon greg kandra

This one hits especially close to home. During the Triduum, I received word that my in-laws’ pastor in Maryland had died moments after celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. He was 55. For his flock, the tragedy added new […]

Bracing for a busy Easter: one priest, six parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

This weekend is an especially exhausting one for Catholic clergy — is it Monday yet? — but it’s more frenetic and harried in regions hard hit by the priest shortage. The Baltimore Sun has a case in point: On Palm […]

The Catholic identity crisis

posted by deacon greg kandra

This writer in today’s New York Daily News offers some trenchant observations on the state of Catholic America, particularly in light of the Notre Dame controversy: If it looks like there’s an identity crisis within the Catholic contingent, there is […]

At Notre Dame: “We are not okay with this”

posted by deacon greg kandra

With all the other things happening on Palm Sunday, it didn’t get much attention, but there was a sizable protest last weekend at Notre Dame. (If you have to ask what it was about, you haven’t been paying attention.) From […]

Egan hospitalized

posted by deacon greg kandra

It was a more-dramatic-than-usual Palm Sunday at St. Patrick’s, as Rocco reports, with updates: Cardinal Edward Egan was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital [late Saturday] after experiencing stomach pains… Doctors were running tests Sunday. Egan was awake and alert. Doctors […]

“De-baptized”???

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not content with simply renouncing their faith — or just ignoring it and sleeping in on Sundays — a number of non-believers have decided to take things a step further: More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded “certificates of de-baptism” […]

“I am greatly pleased that Obama has agreed to speak at my alma mater…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

In the Washington Post this Sunday, you could read this opinion on the Obama-Notre Dame mess: I am an alumnus of Notre Dame. I am adamantly pro-life, independent as a voter — and greatly pleased that Obama has agreed to […]

Is this a crime?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Take a look at the video below: It depicts Baptist pastor Walter Hoye protesting outside an abortion clinic in California, while clinic escorts attempt to block his sign with blank pieces of cardboard. Hoye was arrested and his now in […]

Burke, irked

posted by deacon greg kandra

After visiting with Archbishop Burke a couple weeks back, and videotaping his remarks on communion and pro-choice politicians, passionate pro-lifer Randall Terry probably thought he was doing something noble by releasing the tape to the public. He thought wrong. The […]

Hotel manager fired for Catholic slur

posted by deacon greg kandra

You never know where anti-Catholic bigotry might pop up — and the New York Daily News has the story of an ugly incident that took place at one of New York’s finest hotels: The manager of one of the city’s […]

“I have decided not to attend the graduation…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A short time ago, John D’Arcy, the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend — the diocese of Notre Dame — issued a statement about the Obama commencement speech: On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that […]

Backlash

posted by deacon greg kandra

President Obama’s planned appearance at Notre Dame appears to have sparked a backlash among some on campus — and among a number of Catholics, according to MSNBC: In today’s edition of the student newspaper, The Observer, letters to the editor, […]

The Boston three-party: one priest to oversee three parishes

posted by deacon greg kandra

An archdiocese that for generations had one of the most vibrant and celebrated Catholic populations in America is about to set a surprising precedent. From the Boston Globe: The Archdiocese of Boston, facing a growing shortage of priests but reluctant […]

“What happened here was a financial tsunami..”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A couple weeks ago, I posted on a bill working its way through the New York legislature that would lift the statute of limitations on filing sex abuse claims. The bill could go for a vote before the Empire State […]

And now, the other shoe

posted by deacon greg kandra

Fresh from the hand-wringing and teeth-grinding caused by having President Obama speak, Notre Dame has made another little announcement: At this hour, as the bells of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart toll in Laetare Sunday, the university has announced […]

Obama to give commencement speech at Notre Dame — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This falls under the category of “What Were They Thinking?” From South Bend: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address May 17 at the University of Notre Dame. Obama will be the principal speaker and the recipient of an […]

More on the “excommunications” in Brazil

posted by deacon greg kandra

After all the shock and dismay over the reported excommunications surrounding that abortion in Brazil, Amy Welborn this morning offers us more details. Pay a visit. It’s revealing. I’m sure it will surprise no one that, once again, the press […]

48 days without food: one priest’s Lenten fast

posted by deacon greg kandra

Think giving up chocolate is enough? From Canada comes this story of a priest who is doing something truly counter-cultural — and daunting — for Lent: Eleven days into a 48-day fast, Jesuit Father John McCarthy was feeling pretty good. […]

“The bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Devastating” is just one of the words used to describe a new bill working its way through the New York State Legislature. It has set off alarm bells among the Empire State’s Catholics — and many fear it could even […]

Standing ovation for excommunicated doctor in Brazil

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story just refuses to die down. The Brazilian doctor who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old rape victim is now being hailed as a hero: A doctor excommunicated by the Catholic Church for performing an abortion on a 9-year-old […]

Upon this rock

posted by deacon greg kandra

Pope Benedict is poised to make some history when he visits the Holy Land this spring, according to the Associated Press: Pope Benedict XVI will show solidarity with Jews and Muslims during his first papal trip to the Holy Land […]

BREAKING: Connecticut bill DOA

posted by deacon greg kandra

That controversial bill in Connecticut is — at least for now — dead: Following the biggest political firestorm of the 2009 legislative session, a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday on the financial and administrative management of the Catholic Church has […]

“You cannot tell a church how to govern itself” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story landed like a like grenade yesterday, and the alarm over it is only growing. If you haven’t heard about it by now, take a deep breath and read on: A proposed bill that would take power from Catholic […]

A priest no more: Bozek laicized

posted by deacon greg kandra

The priest who has been at the center of a firestorm in the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been officially stripped of his faculties, according to the Associated Press: A priest who defied his Roman Catholic bishop in 2005 to […]

Losing our religion

posted by deacon greg kandra

America may still be one of the most religious countries in the world — but there’s been a discernible shift in belief, and it’s worrisome. From the AP: A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic […]

Brazil archbishop announces excommunications over girl’s abortion

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story is troubling and upsetting and just sad on so many levels: A Roman Catholic archbishop says the abortion of twins carried by a 9-year-old girl who allegedly was raped by her stepfather means excommunication for the girl’s mother […]

“It’s not called St. Patrick’s Cathedral for nothing”

posted by deacon greg kandra

When the new archbishop for New York was announced last week, it continued the unbroken tradition: an Irish leader for a cathedral named for an Irish saint. Could that one day change? This morning’s Times takes a look: Latinos account […]

On Sebelius: two lay Catholics, two different views

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Congratulations to Governor Sebelius on being nominated to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. It’s an honor for the State of Kansas to have an elected official appointed to the president’s cabinet.” — Sen. Sam Brownback, on the […]

“We have to become a better servant church”

posted by deacon greg kandra

From Pittsburgh comes this item, about a new effort underway to deal with the diminishing number of priests: As head of the Allegheny Valley Deanery in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, the Rev. Frank Almade advises 16 parishes — in addition […]

Vatican says Williamson apology isn’t enough

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Vatican wasn’t impressed with the limp olive branch offered yesterday by the SSPX’s most notorious bishop: The Vatican said Friday that the apology issued by an ultraconservative bishop who denied the Holocaust was not good enough to admit him […]

Williamson: “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologise” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The latest wrinkle in the SSPX/Richard Williamson melodrama: he says he’s sorry. From Reuters: A Roman Catholic bishop who caused an uproar by denying the scale of the Holocaust has apologised for his views in statements carried on a Catholic […]

“A guy’s guy” heads to New York

posted by deacon greg kandra

I missed this when it ran the other day, but this Times piece on Archbishop Dolan zeroes in on part of his appeal — and why he just might be very good news for vocations: The big recruiters talk about […]

The Church’s worst-kept secret… — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

…is finally out. And the Grey Lady has it on page one. UPDATE: Michael Sean Winters has this glowing first review: During his time in Milwaukee, Dolan has been a model of centrism. At the blog “Cheeky Pink Girl” there […]

Scranton threatens to close cathedral on St. Patrick’s Day

posted by deacon greg kandra

After making headlines last fall, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton is doing it again, and upping the ante in the pro-life battle. From the local press: In a letter to the heads of three local Irish organizations, the Roman Catholic […]

Candle becomes a burning issue

posted by deacon greg kandra

A controversial image of President Obama is causing a small war to break out in the California city named for a patron of peace: He may be the Second Coming to many San Franciscans – but one local Catholic priest […]

“He’s throwing out a life preserver, and I’m going to grab it”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last week, my own diocese announced a unique plan to save some Catholic schools threatened with closure: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn unveiled a proposal on Saturday to convert four Roman […]

Confirmed: Pelosi and Benedict on Wednesday — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

From AFP: Visiting US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have an audience with Pope Benedict XVI during her weeklong visit to Italy, a Vatican official said Monday. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, the official told AFP, […]

Intolerance?

posted by deacon greg kandra

This story is causing a small stir in Britain, where it’s raising questions about religious tolerance, Christian persecution — and whether the story is being blown out of proportion. Here’s the BBC’s take: A Devon primary school has denied it […]

Crucifixes in Catholic classrooms: “offensive”? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

That seems to be some of the reaction up in Beantown, at the venerable Boston College. Take a look: Some Boston College professors and students are raising a holy ruckus over the Catholic school’s return to its religious roots by […]

Big families under attack?

posted by deacon greg kandra

That’s the premise of this intriguing piece from the New York Times — and they make a pretty persuasive argument: The comment from the photographer at Sears was typical. “Are these all yours?” she asked, surveying Kim Gunnip’s 12 children. […]

Need quick cash?

posted by deacon greg kandra

“I have school debts and credit cards, and even living in New York, it’s one of the most expensive places to live. “So, when money started dwindling, I started doing a little bit of research on what I could be […]

Churches report drop in Sunday collections

posted by deacon greg kandra

The economic downturn is hitting some churches in their most sensitive area: the collection plate. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: For weeks now, Matt McCarron has been unable to muster the strength to go to Sunday Mass. A lifelong Catholic, he’s […]

“In the face of the media’s intense hatred of our Catholic faith…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s quite a storm brewing out in Illinois, involving allegations of sex abuse, lawyers, the bishop and, it seems, the media: Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky is lashing out at the news media and Illinois courts over the handling of sexual […]

Getting job help from a Higher Power

posted by deacon greg kandra

The grim economic news has led a growing number of churches to become engaged in a special kind of ministry: helping those out of work. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The unemployed in metro Atlanta are turning to churches for help […]

“The baby was just treated as a piece of garbage”

posted by deacon greg kandra

My first thought when I read this was: “What were they thinking?” My second was: “How many times has this happened before, and we don’t hear about it…?” Take a look: Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion […]

Vatican to SSPX bishop: recant — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Vatican has upped the ante in the case involving a prominent member of the SSPX who denies the Holocaust: The Vatican demanded Wednesday that a bishop who denied the Holocaust recant his positions before being fully admitted into the […]

Scandal at Legionaries? — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

For several days there have been dark suggestions that something was up, and now American Papist confirms it: The Ex LC Blog is claiming that Marcial Maciel is being renounced as the spiritual founder of the Legionaries of Christ, at […]

More SSPX fallout: “It’s particularly disturbing, in that he is also a German pope” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Monday, there was still more fallout now from the pope’s decision to lift the excommunications of four SSPX bishops: A leading member of Germany’s Jewish community said Monday that Benedict XVI, the German-born pope and leader of more than a […]

Octuplet mom “obsessed” with having kids

posted by deacon greg kandra

If anyone had any lingering doubts about the peculiar details surrounding the octuplet story, this latest item should put them to rest. This family needs prayers. Lots of ’em.

SSPX website: “Judaism is inimical to all nations in general”

posted by deacon greg kandra

If the Vatican hoped the controversy about the SSPX would just quietly go away, well, it won’t. The Society’s official website has some eye-opening, jaw-dropping statements that indicate that anti-Semitism isn’t just a passing fancy with one or two members. […]

Octuplets: pro-life, to the max — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The woman who just had eight babies has a few more at home — which may give new meaning to the phrase “Freedom of choice act.” Her choice was remarkable, in many ways. From the LA Times: The woman who […]

States of faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Is religion an important part of your daily life?” The good people at Gallup asked that question and came up with an interesting snapshot of which parts of America are most devout: Want to be almost certain you’ll have religious […]

SSPX leader: Jews are “a people of deicide”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another member of the SSPX has decided to share his thoughts about the Holocaust with the world: In the wake of a global furor triggered by Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to lift the excommunication of four traditionalist Catholic bishops, including […]

Here come the Anglicans?

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s starting to look that way. From Catholic Online’s Deacon Keith Fournier: For many years I have been covering the stories of members of the Anglican Clergy who have been so deeply disappointed with the move away from orthodoxy within […]

Report: Cardinal Mahony under investigation by feds

posted by deacon greg kandra

The sex abuse scandals may no longer be on the front page every day, but U.S. officials haven’t forgotten about them — and this story could have huge repercussions. From the Los Angeles Times: The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles […]

FOCA in focus: how serious a threat?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Catholic parishes are gearing up for another offensive in the war on FOCA (the notorious Freedom of Choice Act that President Obama has promised to sign): On the past two Sundays, parishioners at the Holy Family Church in Nutley, New […]

Well, this is a start

posted by deacon greg kandra

That big fat stimulus bill evidently won’t include money for contraceptive programs. From CNA: A $200 million provision for contraception programs is being dropped from the $825 billion stimulus package following criticism from pro-lifers and Republican congressmen. President Barack Obama […]

“It is scandalous that someone of this stature in the Church denies the Holocaust” — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

“The reinstatement is an internal Church matter. However, it is scandalous that someone of this stature in the Church denies the Holocaust. Denial of the Holocaust not only insults the survivors, memory of the victims, and the Righteous Among the […]

Feeling the heat: developing a “Catholic Climate Covenant”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Is there a Catholic stance on climate change? A group of concerned Catholics evidently thinks so and is launching a new effort to raise awareness of it: During the Easter season, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change plans to publicly […]

A country without Catholic schools?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of this news in the Diocese of Brooklyn last week, the New York Times has taken a longer view of what’s happening in Catholic schools around the country: It is a familiar drill in nearly all […]

Ricardo Montalban, RIP

posted by deacon greg kandra

The wires reported yesterday the death of Ricardo Montalban, at 88. Among other things, he was the brother-in-law of legendary Hollywood Catholic Loretta Young. Those of us Of A Certain Age remember the strange and smooth stylings of Ricardo Montalban […]

USCCB corrects “misleading” FOCA novena

posted by deacon greg kandra

Like a lot of people, I’ve gotten e-mails and notices about a FOCA novena tied to the inauguration and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But now the USCCB has taken the unusual step of alerting Catholics to the fact […]

School closings in Brooklyn: “You’ve already hit the iceberg and you’re waiting for the lifeboat”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Yesterday, I posted an item about how the economy is affecting private schools and families. Later in the day, that news hit close to home. From the New York Times: The Diocese of Brooklyn has proposed closing 14 elementary schools […]

Seeing Mary? Keep it to yourself — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Vatican is reportedly preparing to issue new rules about Marian apparitions: Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have […]

Obama picks gay bishop to deliver invocation at the Lincoln Memorial

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in: the president-elect has invited an outspoken Episcopalian cleric to give the invocation at a key inaugural event next weekend: An openly gay bishop will deliver a prayer for President-elect Barack Obama in an inauguration event on Sunday […]

The dwindling clergy: it’s not just a Catholic thing

posted by deacon greg kandra

If you thought that the vocation crisis was just a Catholic problem, think again. This comes from the Erie Times News in Pennsylvania: Is there a Protestant clergy shortage? Yes and no. The answer, as in the Catholic Church, often […]

Pulling kids from Catholic school: “We just couldn’t keep writing the check”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Tough times are taking a toll on Catholic schools. There are increasing reports of school closings and consolidations in my own state, and now the Washington Post is taking a look at what’s happening in private schools around the country: […]

Praying “that all shall be well…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

People crowd into a job fair in New Brunswick, New Jersey on January 7, 2009. From AP/Mel Evans The economic news this morning went from grim to grimmer, with unemployment hitting a 16-year high. Yesterday, the Concord Pastor offered this […]

A “cancer-free” baby is born

posted by deacon greg kandra

The brave new world gets braver, and scarier, every day. From the world of medicine: The first child in Britain known to have been screened as an embryo to ensure she did not carry a cancer gene was born Friday, […]

Bilked: a Ponzi scheme that took aim at Catholics

posted by deacon greg kandra

Hot on the heels of the Madoff scandal comes this story about a businessman who allegedly bilked investors out of millions using a similar scheme — and who specifically targeted Catholics: An 82-year-old businessman was charged Thursday with running a […]

A bitter pill

posted by deacon greg kandra

Oops. The inventor of the pill — or, rather, The Pill — now says his famous creation was a mistake: Eighty-five-year-old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill, now says that his co-creation has led to […]

“Neuhaus is gone”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those were the words in the subject line of an e-mail just sent to me by The Anchoress. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died early this morning from cancer. He was 72. Over at First Things, there is this poignant note: […]

Believe it or not: atheists who advertise

posted by deacon greg kandra

I’m not sure if atheists have a bandwagon, but they do have some buses. Ads for atheism are suddenly cropping up on public transportation. From the New York Times: The advertisement on the bus was fairly mild, just a passage […]

Thou shalt not steal: Brooklyn bishop victim of identity theft

posted by deacon greg kandra

From the My Own Backyard Desk (on the Bishop Beat) … some startling news about a modern crime hitting very close to home. According to the New York Daily News: Thieves stooped to a new low over the Christmas holiday, […]

Virgina’s new Congressman Perriello and “the Service Generation”

posted by deacon greg kandra

There’s a new breed of congressman in Washington, says the Washington Post, which offers us this heartening profile of one of them: In his new Capitol Hill office, Rep. Tom Perriello, 34, displays a diverse collection of mementos. There’s the […]

Church sit-ins: arrests in New Orleans, perseverance in Boston

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some may remember the stories of churches being occupied by unhappy parishioners in Boston and New Orleans. Now police have made some arrests in Louisiana: At least three people have been arrested today after the Archdiocese of New Orleans sent […]

Catholic teacher loses job for marrying without annulment

posted by deacon greg kandra

A Catholic school teacher in Texas has just lost her job — and is now considering suing the school. The issue: an annulment. Or lack thereof. The local paper has the story: Less than a week before Marquis LaFortune was […]

Adopting frozen embryos: one family’s story

posted by deacon greg kandra

The Church’s recent document Dignitas Personae is posing a lot of challenges to some people — including the couple profiled in this story by CNS: As committed Catholics, Timothy and Dawn Smith respect Vatican pronouncements, but recent statements about frozen […]

“It is equal in dignity to have either an elephant or a priest in the family”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The New York Times concludes its series on foreign priests in America by traveling to the other side of the world, India. In Tuesday’s installment, we find that one of the world’s leading exporters of priests is having second thoughts: […]

“We sent missionaries to Africa, and now they’re sending them here”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Continuing its series on “priests without borders,” on the influx of foreign priests into the U.S., the New York Times today has this inspiring, poignant profile of one African priest who has settled in Kentucky: The Rev. Chrispin Oneko, hanging […]

Priests without borders

posted by deacon greg kandra

Photo: by James Estrin, the New York Times The New York Times has taken notice of something many of us here in the U.S. have known for a while: more of our priests are not American. Here’s a snip: Sixteen […]

Priest pulls Obama books from Catholic school library

posted by deacon greg kandra

This bit of news strikes me as excessive — and just a bad idea: A priest has removed two books about Barack Obama from a Missouri Roman Catholic school’s library because of the president-elect’s abortion position. “I am very pro-life,” […]

Catholics in Congress: the numbers are growing

posted by deacon greg kandra

Some figures from Catholic News Service offer an interesting snapshot of the new Congress: When the 111th Congress is sworn in Jan. 6, more than a quarter of its members will be Catholics, roughly matching the percentage of Catholics in […]

“These people are just like me”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The recession is growing — and so are the needs of the faithful. The Catholic Review in Baltimore offers a glimpse at what is happening in that archdiocese: Not so long ago, Oredolapo Roberts lived in a four-bedroom house, owned […]

The “Walking Sisters” walk away from their historic home

posted by deacon greg kandra

Sad news from the pages of this morning’s New York Times: Behind the red-brick walls encircling the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn, generations of nuns have taught the illiterate, sheltered the homeless and raised orphans. They are known as the […]

Nuns issue letter of support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois

posted by deacon greg kandra

The controversy over Maryknoll’s Roy Bourgeois shows no signs of quieting down any time soon. A group of nuns has now issued a statement of support for Bourgeois: More than 100 Roman Catholic nuns from 22 religious congregations have written […]

Settlement reported for man who sued priest over homily

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last year, I posted this eye-popping story about a man who sued a priest over a homily. Now, an alert reader has sent me an update: An Algonquin man will get a formal apology, but no financial reward, as part […]

Why bad times are good for churches

posted by deacon greg kandra

The current economic woes seem to bear out the old idea that tough times can lead to crowded pews. (There are no atheists in foxholes and all that). From Sunday’s New York Times: The sudden crush of worshipers packing the […]

Avery Dulles, “a man for others”

posted by deacon greg kandra

As expected, the tributes to Avery Dulles are beginning to pour in, and one of the sweetest and most personal comes from a frequent visitor to The Bench, James Martin, S.J., who has blogged about his friend and colleague. He […]

Avery Dulles dies

posted by deacon greg kandra

This just in from the Jesuits: This morning, we received this announcement from the New York Province of the Society of Jesus: “This is to inform you that Avery Cardinal Dulles died this morning at about 6:30 at Murray-Weigel Hall. […]

Medina vs. Madonna

posted by deacon greg kandra

When this item clicked across the wire, I wasn’t surprised by the first sentence: Madonna is causing “crazy enthusiasm” and “impure thoughts” on her first concert visit to Chile, a prominent retired cardinal complained on Wednesday, as he paused in […]

Couple leaves $30 million windfall to Diocese of Syracuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

At a time when many parishes, and many dioceses, are facing serious financial problems and looming deficits, this sort of news is downright miraculous: For the last few months, St. James Roman Catholic Church in Johnson City has seen a […]

Bishops’ document urges prayer rooms for other faiths in Catholic schools

posted by deacon greg kandra

Once, this kind of suggestion would have been laughable, or just plain silly. But no more. From London: A document issued by the Catholic Education Service said facilities for other faiths should be made available in all primary and secondary […]

Solace in stone

posted by deacon greg kandra

How do you commemorate a nightmare? The Los Angeles Times this week has this poignant and, I think, important piece on how various dioceses around the country are honoring and remembering the victims of clerical sex abuse: Oakland’s new Cathedral […]

RIP: minister who urged adding “under God” to pledge

posted by deacon greg kandra

A man most Americans have never heard of — but who had a profound impact on our counry’s culture — has died. From the Washington Post: The Rev. George M. Docherty, the former pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian […]

What the hell is wrong with people?

posted by deacon greg kandra

You gotta wonder.

The threat of FOCA

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s more than just a threat to the unborn, as Melinda Henneberger suggests in this piece from Slate: Though it’s often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to […]

To be or not to be: a woman decides whether to perform abortions

posted by deacon greg kandra

You’ll find few stories more harrowing or heart-rending or sobering than this one, from Sunday’s Washington Post, which chronicles the journey of a medical student named Lesley Wojick, as she decides whether or not she wants to perform abortions: “Abortion […]

The non-Catholics who are keeping Catholic schools afloat

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s a phenomenon that most of us have seen: the growing number of students at Catholic schools who aren’t Catholic — and in some cases, not even Christian. A paper in Pittsburgh has more: When it came time for the […]

“The family that prays together…” priest up for sainthood

posted by deacon greg kandra

Archbishop Fulton Sheen isn’t the only gifted Catholic communicator in line for canonization. USA TODAY has the latest on the fabled and much-beloved Fr. Patrick Peyton: Recognized widely for his catchphrase — “the family that prays together stays together” — […]

Affliction: Nordstrom removes controversial t-shirt after complaint

posted by deacon greg kandra

A department store known for its stellar customer service has lived up to its reputation, and taken an offensive t-shirt off the shelves: The department store chain Nordstrom says it has removed a shirt from its shelves that shows a […]

“We just looked around. We were in shock.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

One of the treasures lost to the California fires was a Benedictine monastery. And the New York Times this morning sizes up the aftermath: On Tuesday the monks met with their insurance agent. Like thousands of other residents of Southern […]

Losing your savings, keeping the faith

posted by deacon greg kandra

The tough economic times are taking a toll — and churches and synagogues are facing challenges of their own, just trying to offer support. From the New Jersey Star-Ledger: Rabbi Benjamin Adler hasn’t felt particularly helpful lately. Older couples have […]

Priest apologizes over Obama sign incident

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may recall last week’s story about a woman who charged that she was ordered to leave church over the Obama signs on her car. Now the priest at the center of the storm has two words to add: I’m […]

Soul man: a 3,000-year-old monument to belief

posted by deacon greg kandra

Archeologists have discovered evidence that at least one ancient culture, hundreds of years before Christ, believed in the separation of the body and the soul. From the New York Times: In a mountainous kingdom in what is now southeastern Turkey, […]

South Carolina priest: “I wrote my column in haste.”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The South Carolina priest who made national headlines by calling on Obama voters to go to confession before receiving communion had more to say on the subject this weekend at mass. And he drew quite a crowd of supporters. From […]

You’ve lost your job. Now what?

posted by deacon greg kandra

With more Americans facing that harsh reality during these harsh times, a number of Catholic parishes are stepping in with help. A glimpse, from Catholic News Service: The impact of the wave of layoffs in firms, factories, financial companies and […]

Catholic schools in “crisis”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Grim tidings this morning in the New York Post (does that paper have any other kind of tidings, by the way?) on the state of Catholic schools in New York City: In the Archdiocese of New York – which operates […]

Panel votes in favor of life, not death

posted by deacon greg kandra

In my home state of Maryland, a panel has taken a strong stand for life — and voted in favor of completely abolishing the death penalty. From the Baltimore Sun: While executions in Maryland are infrequent, the issue is being […]

Barack rings up Benedict

posted by deacon greg kandra

The man who will be president had his first phone conversation with the man who is pope. And Vice President-elect Biden’s bishop has a few things to say, too, about the most famous Catholic in his diocese. From The Times […]

“Any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion”

posted by deacon greg kandra

The bishops meeting in Baltimore is about to produce its most important and timely document, probably later today. From the Washington Post: The nation’s Catholic bishops Tuesday approved a statement declaring that if the Democratic-controlled Congress and the incoming Obama […]

Priest who preached at woman’s ordination threatened with excommunication — UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

You may recall the celebrated (and in some quarters, notorious) Maryknoll priest who took part in a woman’s ordination service some weeks back. Well, he’s in the news again: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been threatened with excommunication by the […]

A prayer for the unemployed

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The headline of the day: Unemployment Rate Leaps to 6.5%, 14-year High.   I suspect, in the months ahead, that number will get higher before it goes lower.  And so, a prayer: O Saint Joseph, we pray to you for […]

B16: “Congrats!”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The man elected yesterday to be the leader of the free world received a congratulatory message today from someone who’s above his pay grade: Pope Benedict XVI sent a personal message to President-elect Barack Obama Nov. 5, congratulating him and […]

The Catholic vote, the morning after — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco called it, aptly, a “repudiation,” and now others are weighing in with their thoughts about how Catholics voted yesterday. Here’s Thomas Reese, SJ, from the Washington Post: Catholic voters ignored the instructions of a group of vocal bishops and […]

“I am a man”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

On CBS News tonight, Bob Schieffer spoke of how he attended segregated schools when he was growing up in Texas. “A black person had never attended any of my schools,” he said. Correspondent Byron Pitts told Katie Couric about how […]

The small white casket

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hours before we cast our votes, here’s a sobering reminder of what is at stake, from Florida Catholic: More than two years after her ignominious death at an abortion clinic, baby Shanice Denise Osbourne was laid to rest at Our […]

Allam: “Extremism and terrorism” are mature fruits of Islam

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

You probably remember the Muslim Who Became A Catholic earlier this year, when baptized by Pope Benedict during the Easter Vigil. He hasn’t forgotten his Muslim roots, and is speaking out: The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at […]

Secular chaplains?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This morning’s New York Times has an interesting glimpse at a new wave in chaplaincy care — which isn’t always pegged to one particular faith: Some of the hospice patients talk about their impending deaths, or about God. Most just […]

The vanishing “Catholic vote”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Rocco has dug up this fascinating nugget from the LA Times, regarding the “Catholic vote”: National polls have shown for some time that, although Catholics are personally opposed to abortion, they believe it ought to be legal in nearly identical […]

Solomon’s mines?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Scholarly skeptics who have doubted that King Solomon ever existed are being told: “Not so fast.” New archeological discoveries are casting new light on the ancient culture of the Middle East: A massive copper smelting plant in the biblical land […]

“Closing the adultery gap”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Whatever happened to fidelity? You have to wonder. And this analysis from the New York Times doesn’t provide any easy answers: A handful of new studies suggest surprising changes in the marital landscape. Infidelity appears to be on the rise, […]

Pharmacists for Life: just what the doctor ordered

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From Virginia comes this impressive story about a pharmacy rooted in faith: A new drug store at a Virginia strip mall is putting its faith in an unconventional business plan: No candy. No sodas. And no birth control. Divine Mercy […]

Finally, the subject nobody wanted to talk about

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I speak, of course, of abortion. It finally came up during last night’s debate — very deftly moderated, I thought, by Bob Schieffer, who showed how an old hand does these things — and Michael Paulson has a summary at […]

Catholic voters split on key issues

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new survey is out about Catholics and the upcoming election — and this one may of particular interest because it was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. From USA TODAY: U.S. Catholic voters are split on the issues of […]

Randall Terry arrested at Catholic cathedral

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the most outspoken anti-abortion activists in America found himself under arrest last week — at a Catholic church. Catholic Online has the story, and a press release about the incident: Randall Terry, the Founder of Operation Rescue and […]

Protesting nuns branded as terrorists

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What happens when you break the law while protesting at a nuclear facility? Two Catholic nuns found out — and it wasn’t quite what they expected. From the Washington Times: For decades, Sister Carol Gilbert and Sister Ardeth Platte have […]

Sarah Palin’s bully pulpit

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

As the election heads into the home stretch, the Associated Press dug up these interesting nuggets about Sarah Palin’s tenure in Alaska, particularly in the realm of religion: The camera closes in on Sarah Palin speaking to young missionaries, vowing […]

What really matters

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It may not be what you think. Or so it seems, according to this latest Gallup poll, which tracks what most Americans are concerned about. No wonder life issues and abortion aren’t getting much attention.

In a rabbit hole

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It’s going to be a long, cold winter, and I can’t help but fear we’re going to be seeing more stories like this one, from California: Karthik Rajaram had fallen hard. The 45-year-old Porter Ranch financial manager who once made […]

Fresno priest: “I know that these words of truth will cost me dearly”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m surprised this little earthquake near Fresno, California hasn’t sent more aftershocks across the country. But Sunday, a Catholic priest there defied his bishops and spoke out against a bill that would ban gay marriage. Oh: and he also announced […]

Take two images of the Virgin, and call me in the morning

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Some people might file this under the category of “Dog Bites Man” — not news, and not all that surprising. But it’s interesting that the subject of prayer and contemplation is generating some serious study. This comes from a Catholic […]

Affairs of state, French edition

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Even as the world celebrates the feast of one of France’s greatest saints, the country known as the church’s “eldest daughter” is roiled in an embarassing diplomatic mess. From a French news service: France has settled on an envoy to […]

The Wall Street broker who became a monk

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What could be more timely than this story of a financial broker who found life on Wall Street spiritually empty — and became, instead, an Orthodox Christian monk? Reuters has the tale: Brother Nikanor, a Nasdaq broker turned monk, advises […]

“God cannot be left in the pew”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s some timely and thought-provoking advice on faith and politics, from the place that reminds us all that we are summoned to be instruments of peace. This comes from Zenit: Catholics need to wake up when it comes to politics, […]

“I don’t have room for all the Catholics who want to be here”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From the Right In My Own Backyard Desk, we have this interesting report on the only all-boys Catholic high school on Long Island: Unlike most Roman Catholic schools in the New York area, which embrace students regardless of their religion, […]

Prayer’s power on the frontal lobes

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

What effect does prayer have on the brain? Michael Gerson at the Washington Post has an intriguing take: Elin Danien quietly listens to a meditation tape, eyes closed, as the radioactive tracer is injected into her IV, freezing a picture […]

Tony Blair on faith

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the world’s most famous converts spoke recently about his faith and the importance of understanding other religions. Here’s the London Telegraph: Tony Blair spoke candidly of how studying other religions had strengthened his Catholic faith as he took […]

Faith, values and the economy

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

How is the economic news playing across the religious spectrum? The Associated Press takes a gander this morning: In Parma, Ohio, an organizer for Barack Obama arrived at a recent “Catholic house party,” a campaign-sponsored chat about values, prepared to […]

Could England again have a Catholic king?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

In what could be a historic development, Great Britain may be poised to make dramatic changes to the most famous monarchy on earth. From AFP: The British government is drawing up plans to end a 300-year-old exclusion of Catholics from […]

“Happy porn-writing Sodomite” removed as lector from church

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This sort of news doesn’t often make national headlines — but it’s generating a lot of ink, and I can’t help but wonder if a predictable outcry will follow. Here’s how the Boston Globe is reporting it: St. Anthony Shrine […]

Saudi leader: “Mickey Mouse is one of Satan’s soldiers”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Regular readers may remember that The Deacon’s Wife and Your Humble Blogger spent several days back in June at Disney World. (My account of the trip can be read right here.) So imagine my horror when I read this news: […]

“Money is like sex, another gift from God that is frequently misused”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the next Great Depression, a Catholic author has published a book about using money wisely. From CNA: Many in our society view money as a “necessary evil.” Instead, entrepreneur and author, Frank Hanna explains, “money is […]

“You are our Rock, O Lord”: a prayer in times of economic crisis

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Economically, it seems like we have walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon and peered over and watched pebbles fall noiselessly to the bottom. And all we can do is clutch a nearby railing and feel the tug of […]

Is this the grave of Eve?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That is what some Middle Eastern people believe, and USA TODAY published this piece from the AP on that subject a few days ago: On a sweltering August morning, a small group of Iranians crowded outside the green metal door […]

Remembering Dean Hoge: “He treated others with an easy grace”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A man many American Catholics may not have heard of — but whose work shed new light on their lives and practices — passed away over the weekend. From the National Catholic Reporter: Dean Hoge, an unparalleled figure in the […]

What’s that strange sound coming from Staten Island?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

It has to be Dorothy Day, turning over in her grave. To understand why, read this. “True obedience is a matter of love, which makes it voluntary, not compelled by fear or force.” -Dorothy Day

Biden on abortion: “For me to impose my judgment is inappropriate”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

First, Pelosi, now Biden. Another prominent American Catholic politician is wading into deep — and hot — water over the issue of abortion. And it happened, once again, in remarks made on “Meet the Press.” This time, it was Delaware […]

The Speaker accepts: Pelosi to meet with her archbishop

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Hours after San Francisco’s Archbishop published a letter, inviting the most prominent member of his flock for a friendly chat about abortion, the Speaker of the House accepted. This, from the AP: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under fire from U.S. […]

Niederauer on Pelosi

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Better late than never: Nancy Pelosi’s archbishop has finally weighed in with his response to her controversial and much-criticized appearance on “Meet the Press.” Near the end of his long statement, after pointing out the mistakes, misstatements and outright falsehoods […]

More trouble for Medjugorje — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

For over two decades, the Virgin Mary has allegedly been appearing in Medjugorje — and visitors there have numbered in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. (My wife is one of them; she made a trip there herself several […]

Forgiving abusive priests: Sr. Camille D’Arienzo speaks out

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Late last month, I linked to a controversial piece in America by Sister Camille D’Arienzo, on forgiving abusive priests. Sunday, the Boston Globe published an interview with Sr. Camille: Two weeks ago, she wrote an essay for America magazine, the […]

When Benny met Ingrid

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The world’s most famous former hostage finally met with Pope Benedict on Monday, in a dramatic encounter full of emotion. From Reuters: Freed French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt hugged Pope Benedict on Monday and told him how she was overcome with […]

“A priest who doesn’t get at least three complaints a day isn’t doing his job”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

One of the most familiar faces in my corner of New York is Msgr. James Lisante, former head of The Christophers. He pops up a lot on television, offering analysis and commentary, and he has a popular interview program on […]

What causes the abortion rate to drop?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new study has some interesting answers. This comes from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. And the National Catholic Reporter this week has the details: A study of the effects of public policy on abortion rates during the […]

The principal behind “the pact” gets a new job

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Remember the astonishing (and later debunked) story of The Pact? The teenage girls of Gloucester, Massachusetts who pledged together to get pregnant and have babies? The high school principal who first spoke to the media about that has a new […]

A Catholic on the ticket

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

To the surprise of almost no one, Barack Obamaa picked Delaware Senator Joe Biden for his running mate. Last summer, I linked to a Christian Science Monitor piece about Biden and his faith. (The article is perhaps the definitive glimpse […]

New poll: churches should stay out of politics

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The results of a new Pew Research Center poll point to a subtle but discernible shift in how Americans view the intersection of politics and religion. Take a look: Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion […]

Rhode Island bishop: stop the raids

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The bishop overseeing America’s smallest state is making some big news this morning. This crackled over the wire a short time ago: Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop is calling on U.S. authorities to halt mass immigration raids and says agents […]

Roiling over Ruether: “How much more anti-Catholic can you get?”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Should a theologian who has publicly stated her support for abortion rights be allowed to teach at a Catholic college? That’s not a trick question. It’s at the center of a debate now swirling in California. From the San Diego […]

Will Bourgeois recant? “No way.”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The priest who took part in a women’s ordination ceremony has met with his superiors. And this afternoon, the National Catholic Reporter filed this summary: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who concelebrated a Mass at a women’s ordination ceremony earlier this […]

Shrouded in mystery

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

An issue that some scientists claimed is settled — the age of the iconic Shroud of Turin — may not be. From the Los Angeles Times: The tie that binds John and Rebecca Jackson is about 4 feet by 14 […]

New Minnesota chancellor: “The faithful have the right to approach suspended priests for the sacraments” — UPDATED

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a new chancellor for canonical affairs joining the staff next week: Jennifer M. Haselberger, bishop’s delegate for canonical affairs of the Diocese of Fargo, N.D., will join the Archdiocese of St. Paul […]

“I feel we are tampering with the sacred…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

The Maryknoll priest who participated in — and preached during — the ceremony ordaining a woman has been called out to the woodshed. CNS has the details: Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois will meet Aug. 18 with the three members of […]

Walking the plank: the Democrats and abortion

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When I looked over the proposed new language about abortion in the Democratic party platform, I shrugged. That’s it? Is that the best they could do? The plank still “strongly and unequivocally” endorses Roe v. Wade and the right to […]

NFP: It’s not just a Catholic thing

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, here’s some surprising news: some of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters are riding the Natural Family Planning (NFP) wave. This comes from the Austin American-Statesman in Texas: Phaedra Taylor abstained […]

Catholic mother gives new meaning to being “pro-choice”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A Catholic mother is making news this week out on Long Island, for refusing to have her son vaccinated. A deacon friend and classmate sent this my way, and it’s an eye-opener. From Newsday: A Bayport mother has asked the […]

Is an entire Episcopalian diocese about to cross the Tiber?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This is a pretty amazing piece of news, especially coming from a secular newspaper in Texas: an entire Episcopalian diocese may be preparing to become Catholic. From The Dallas Morning News: A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid […]

Priest concelebrates, delivers homily at woman’s ordination

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A deacon friend sent me this startling story, about a priest who took part in a ceremony ordaining a woman — and even delivered the homily: Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, long associated with the cause of Christian non-violence and attempts […]

Baltimore and the Legionaries of Christ: an update

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After weeks of sometimes high-profile controversy, it appears that the Archdiocese of Baltimore is cracking open the door to the Legionaries of Christ: Warned by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien that its closely held activities must become more transparent if they […]

Priest who planned papal visit charged with sex abuse

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s happened again. A priest has been accused of sex abuse and removed from ministry. This time, though, he has an unusually high profile. From the New York Times: It may not be the most heavily attended church in the […]

Welcome back!

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

This slipped under the radar, but it’s worth noting. The Archbishop of St. Louis has lifted a widely reported order of excommunication. From Zenit: Three leaders of a former St. Louis parish who incurred excommunication for hiring a suspended priest […]

The Pope v. The Pill

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

There’s been a lot of ink spilled lately on the 40th anniversary of the landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae. But one of the most insightful and objective examinations of the subject, I think, seems to be this one, from John Allen, […]

Another wall is breached – UPDATED

posted by deacon greg kandra

Just when you thought the world couldn’t sink any lower…it did. Someone took Barack Obama’s prayer out of the Western Wall, and published it. A private communication, between a man and The Almighty, is now public. And a few of […]

Randy Pausch, 1960-2008

posted by deacon greg kandra

This gifted man — who was himself a gift — is gone. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor whose final lecture inspired millions, has died of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Pausch, 47, who turned […]

“We’ve wrapped the Gospel in this man-repellent package”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

When was the last time you saw a church — Catholic or otherwise — packed with more men than women? USA TODAY takes note of a curious phenomenon, and what some churches are doing to change it: Women outnumber men […]

Anti-Catholicism, R.I.P.?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A writer at the New York Times wonders if the prejudice that stalked Al Smith and John Kennedy is dead. He uses as his starting point a panel discussion on the topic held the other day at the Museum of […]

Just another day at the beach

posted by deacon greg kandra

The pictures are disturbing, and so is the story surrounding them, from Italy: Italian newspapers, an archbishop and civil liberties campaigners expressed shock and revulsion on Monday after photographs were published of sunbathers apparently enjoying a day at the beach […]

Ave Maria, one year later: “It’s impressive”

posted by deacon greg kandra

It’s been a while since we heard any news about the “Catholic town” of Ave Maria in Florida. It’s been up and running for a little over a year now — and all indications are, it’s doing well, despite some […]

“A sacrilegious parody of Holy Orders”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Another group of women claims to now be validly ordained as priests — this time, in one of the most storied centers of American Catholicism, Boston. From the Globe: A group advocating for the ordination of women this afternoon held […]

“I am deeply sorry”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Those four words were spoken by Pope Benedict Saturday, in a dramatic and widely anticipated gesture that may help heal some deep wounds in the Australian church. The AP has the story right here: Pope Benedict XVI apologized Saturday to […]

On Snow: “The true measure of a man lies in his efforts to please God”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A few people I know made it down to Washington for Tony Snow’s funeral yesterday; I hope to get a fuller report later today. But Rocco has posted the text of the homily, delivered by Fr. David O’Connell, President of […]

“A truly remarkable development”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

After focusiing for a few weeks now on all the turmoil roiling the Anglican Communion in England, Damien Thompson has found some big news on the other side of the pond. In New Jersey, in fact: The Catholic Church will […]

Vocations fair? No. Vocations very good.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Here’s an interesting sidebar on the World Youth Day activities: it seems more and more young people are gravitating to booths promoting religious vocations. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I provided some material for […]

WYD: secular or sacred?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Not every Catholic in Australia is thrilled about World Youth Day — and one leading critic is taking the time to make sure the press knows about his displeasure: A group of Catholic priests opposed to church modernisation has condemned […]

What would an agreement with the Anglicans look like?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

That shrewd observer of the Anglican scene, Damien Thompson, has posted some thoughts on what a sudden influx of Anglicans might mean for the Catholic Church — and how it might happen: The really good news, from the Catholic point […]

The bishop and the beach house

posted by deacon greg kandra

Duty demands that I once again post a picture of Anne Hathaway. It seems her ex-boyfriend was not only involved in some shady dealings with the Vatican. He also bought the beach home of a bishop. My paper of record, […]

Tony Snow’s funeral

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A blogging friend sent this bit of information my way: details for Tony Snow’s funeral on Thursday. This comes from the website for the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington: Mass of Christian Burial for Tony Snow Thursday, […]

A world without Snow

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

I’m wrapping up a long weekend in Maryland, where my wife and I have been celebrating my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary; yesterday, there was a small mass for the family, with about 20 kinfolk — children, grandchildren, extended family — […]

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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