German bishops will refuse sacraments to those who don’t pay “church tax”

At a time when more Germans are leaving the Church and fewer are being baptized, the bishops have embarked on a bold crackdown. Details, from Huffington Post and Reuters: Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a “church tax” should not be given sacraments and religious burials, getting tougher on [Read More...]

Hanging out with the patriarch

His Beatitude,  Archbishop Foaud Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, stopped by CNEWA today and sat down for a brief interview.  Here he is with Your Humble Blogger and Michael LaCivita, CNEWA’s vice president for communications. I actually had the good fortune of meeting the patriarch last spring (great snapshot here, showing my best side.) You can read [Read More...]

A bishop makes the case for women deacons

From the next issue of AMERICA, retired auxiliary bishop Emil Wcela of Rockville Centre weighs in: Women already minister extensively in the church. Consecrated religious serve in various fields. Thousands of other women serve in diocesan offices; in parishes as administrators, pastoral associates, directors of religious education, in the whole spectrum of parish life; in [Read More...]

Whatever happened to Latin?

That’s a question a lot of Catholics have asked and, while it’s making a comeback, the ancient language of the Church can still be hard to find in some places. Catholic News Service (whose excellent videos are becoming the standard by which all others are measured) offers this very good overview of Latin’s role in [Read More...]

Ordination preview: new deacons for Boston

From the Boston Pilot:  Cardinal Seán O’Malley will celebrate the Rite of Ordination to the Order of Deacon for 10 candidates at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Sept. 22. Louis J. Piazza, a deacon candidate of the class of 2012, explained the significance of the rite and gave a bit of insight into the [Read More...]

Fort Worth’s Bishop Vann tapped for Diocese of Orange

And besides taking over a diocese, he will be taking over a high-profile project: transforming the Crystal Cathedral into the Christ Cathedral. Details over at Whispers in the Loggia.  You can also find a brief write-up at the AP.   [Read more...]

“Top 50 Catholic High Schools” includes one from Queens — UPDATED

In fact, this building is where I studied for the diaconate —for five years, it was my home away from home. Congratulations, to Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens. (Not insignificantly, it also is the last prep seminary of its kind in America.) From the Cardinal Newman Society:  Today, September 20, 2012, the winners of [Read More...]

“Les Miz”: an extended first look

Those who have been waiting for more glimpses of this epic musical — following the sensational trailer released this summer—your wait is over. The producers have just released a mini-documentary/promotional video that focuses on the groundbreaking technique they used for recording the music: actually performing the songs live, with piano accompaniment, rather than lip-syncing. Prepare [Read More...]

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

At last, something to go with my Candy Corn Oreos. There’s a four letter word for this. Bliss.   [Read more...]

Big questions, interesting answers

A few years ago, I gave a Thanksgiving Day homily in which I quoted the Unitarian minister Peter Fleck.  He suggested that perhaps the pilgrims weren’t thankful because they survived; maybe they survived because they were thankful.  As I noted: Gratitude doesn’t always come easily. We all know that generosity – the giving of a [Read More...]


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