This past week, as we’ve watched the news unfolding on our southern border, we’ve been hearing one phrase again and again: “We are better than this.” But on Friday, something happened that put that phrase into a different context for me. I was reading about the great writer and commentator Charles Krauthammer, who died Thursday, far too soon, after a battle with cancer. As many of you may know, it wasn’t the only battle he fought. When he was just… Read more

Here’s a great piece from The Witness, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, noting that an increasing number of men are being ordained to the priesthood when they are older. One of them, by the grace of God, will be my friend Deacon Sean Smith, among others: Deacon Sean Smith of Cedar Rapids is no stranger to the title “father.” As the dad to three adult children, it is one he has held for many years. But that title… Read more

This broke yesterday, on his return flight from Geneva. From CNS:  The question of allowing Protestants married to Catholics to receive Communion at Mass in special cases has to be decided by each individual bishop and cannot be decided by a bishops’ conference, Pope Francis told reporters after a one-day ecumenical journey to Geneva. During an inflight news conference June 21, the pope was asked about his recent decision requesting the Catholic bishops’ conference of Germany not publish nationwide guidelines… Read more

This really is some great detective work. The terrific CBS News correspondent David Begnaud (whose Facebook profile proudly notes “I’m Catholic, Cajun”) gets to the bottom of it — and it’s not what some may think:  The picture of a Honduran girl crying as she and her mother are detained in Texas has grabbed worldwide attention and come to symbolize the intense debate about separating children from their parents. Time magazine put the young girl on this week’s cover, but the Border Patrol… Read more

I was delighted to find the shiny new incarnation of Deacon Digest online earlier today — with Galveston-Houston’s Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, current president of the USCCB, noting of the restored diaconate’s 50th anniversary: After 50 years, the presence of deacons in our parishes, Church institutions, educational works and justice and peace ministries is no longer a novelty. In an archdiocese like my own, in fact, that presence is an expectation. Because their work and activity is so varied, and because… Read more

I was just reminded that the great NBC News reporter Tim Russert died 10 years ago this month. Has it been that long? They day after he died in 2008, I preached about him in a homily:  Like a lot of people, I was saddened yesterday to learn of the death of Tim Russert. Journalism is poorer without him. I never had the privilege of meeting him, or working with him, but I know a lot of people who did,… Read more

From Pew:  Restrictions on religion around the world continued to climb in 2016, according to Pew Research Center’s ninth annual study of global restrictions on religion. This marks the second year in a row of increases in the overall level of restrictions imposed either by governments or by private actors (groups and individuals) in the 198 countries examined in the study. The share of countries with “high” or “very high” levels of government restrictions – that is, laws, policies and actions by… Read more

From Catholic New York newspaper: Nearly 800 New York Catholic priests received a message about how to maintain their moral integrity from Pastor Rick Warren, who used Scripture passages and his experiences from 40 years as an Evangelical Christian pastor, to speak personally to fellow pastors. His talk, “Maintaining the Moral Integrity of the Ministry to Which God Has Called Us,” was delivered during the archdiocese’s biennial Safe Environment Convocation at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie June 6-7. “Brothers, what… Read more

Bombshell, from NCR:  In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse were found “credible and substantiated.” “The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” according to a statement from the… Read more

Last week, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson made headlines at the USCCB meeting for suggesting that “canonical penalties” may be appropriate for those who facilitate separating children from their parents at the border. Now, he puts that proposal in context, and addresses some of the moral issues and statements surrounding this present crisis. From an op-ed piece in the Arizona Daily Star: As the nation’s bishops continue to confront the issue I believe it is critical that we answer certain… Read more

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