That sound you hear is the moving van backing up into my driveway. Beginning Sunday, November 1, you will find this blog over at Aleteia.  Fittingly, the move is happening on the feast of All Saints. (I’m hoping a few of them will help with the wrapping and packing…) I owe a tremendous debt to all at Patheos and beyond who helped make “The Bench” what it is today—including, first and foremost, my pal Elizabeth Scalia. We go way back—I like to say… Read more

Our entrance hymn this weekend is “For All the Saints” and it left me feeling nostalgic for church music that is vigorous and, in a way, muscular. Read some of my thoughts on church music right here.  But for now, crank up the volume and listen to this spectacular version below. They really don’t write them like this anymore. Dammit.   Read more

I grew up around horses in Maryland. My sister, Karen, loves them; we spent our family weekends heading off to horse shows, fox hunts, and pony club meetings.  The scents of my childhood were the intermingled perfume of horse sweat, leather saddle soap, and freshly manufactured manure. Ah. Good times. Now retired, my sister spends her free time following horses and horse lovers with a camera.  This weekend, she attended the opening day for The Potomac Hunt club in Maryland and snapped a couple hundred… Read more

When I’m doing a baptism, the first question that is asked in the ritual is: “What name do you give your child?” Everyone answers that perfectly. But the second question is trickier. “What do you ask of God’s church for your child?” The correct answer, of course, is “Baptism.” Even though we’ve gone over this in the baptism class, sometimes people’s nerves get the best of them. They’re stumped. So I repeat: What do you ask of God’s church for your… Read more

  Variety has this review:  Yes, the various researchers and psychics who went into the haunted house — which provided the inspiration for the movie “The Exorcist” — spoke often of feeling cold and strange. But as is so often the case with these exercises, viewers at home simply had to take their word for it. Frankly, the producers seemed to squander an opportunity with their taped packages, which relied heavily on over-the-top dramatic recreations, which looked pretty pallid compared to clips from… Read more

View image | Fron AP: A toddler dressed like the pope and pushed along in a popemobile got the top prize at President Barack Obama’s White House Halloween. Upon seeing the costume, Obama turned to the news media and declared “top prize.” Read more and see more pictures.  Read more

Behold, how they are marking Pastor Appreciation Month at the Elevation Church in North Carolina. Read more about it here.  Did you do this for World Priest Day? Hmmm?  (I won’t even mention World Deacon Day. Oh. Wait…) Oh, and I love the “Holly Spirit” line—which, I guess, refers to the pastor’s wife. Read more

From St. Louis:  The cable network “Destination America” reportedly plans to air a purported exorcism live on national television on Friday, October 30, from a home in St. Louis which was associated with the well-known exorcism of “Roland Doe” in 1949. Given the public nature of this event, the Archdiocese of St. Louis – which is not involved in this dangerous endeavor – deems it necessary to educate and warn the public about the dangers of participating in such activities…. Read more

From CNS:  Bob Simon fell in love with two things at the age of 5 — the Catholic Church and building with Lego. Now, as a 51-year-old priest, Father Simon has discovered a way to merge both of these passions. The pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Moscow finds that his Lego-building hobby not only provides him with a diversion from his ministry at a busy parish, but that it enriches his prayer life and offers him a… Read more

It just might be. Given some of what I’m reading around the interwebs these days, an alarming number of us Catholics seem temperamentally incapable of practicing Christ’s great commandment, to love the enemy (or even just someone with whom I have sharp ideological or theological disagreements). So this piece from  Notre Dame’s Timothy O’Malley really struck a chord: To love thy enemy is not to accept a benign and beige tolerance where serious disagreement is passed over. But it is to remember… Read more

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