Pope to Argentine Pilgrims: “I Want a Mess!”

Details:  Pope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith. It’s a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio’s most violent slums and opening the church’s World [Read More…]

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The Pope with a Chotki

This striking photograph from WYD shows Pope Francis clearly wearing a chotki around his wrist—something I can’t recall seeing with any other pope. What’a chotki?  It’s a kind of “prayer rope,” similar to the rosary, used by the Orthodox and Eastern rite Catholics. From Wikipedia:  When praying, the user normally holds the prayer rope in [Read More…]

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When a Priest Commits Suicide

This tragic news broke earlier in the week: More than 200 mourners gathered Monday at a Cudahy church to remember Father Jan Kieliszewski, who was found dead Sunday morning at nearby Nativity of the Lord Parish. The Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office ruled Kieliszewski’s death a suicide, according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archdiocese spokesman [Read More…]

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Should Priests Endorse Candidates?

With all the frenzy about the unfortunately-named Anthony Weiner, it can be easy to forget that there are other people running for the mayor of New York.  One of them is John Catsimatidis, a Greek American businessman. He’s not that well-known to many New Yorkers, so he’s trying to get his name and image out there [Read More…]

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“I Need to Watch This Guy Closely, Because He’s a Good Example for Me…”

That’s New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, talking about—who else?—Pope Francis. From an interview with NCR’s John Allen: You were one of the cardinals who elected Francis, and presumably you had some idea of what kind of pope he would be. To what extent has it turned out the way you expected? In some ways, it’s [Read More…]

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Out of Kansas: One Man’s Journey from Rastafarian to Orthodox Deacon

And now for something completely different:  He’s been called Muslim, Jewish, a Zen master, even Osama bin Laden. Oftentimes people are just puzzled: What is that guy? Michael Wilson, who has worked at Lawrence’s Liberty Hall for more than two decades, has a long beard that grays the further it grows away from his face [Read More…]

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Archdiocese of New York Hires Outside Organization to Run Schools

Details:  In an unprecedented move, the Archdiocese of New York is trying to save six cash-strapped elementary schools by allowing an outside organization to run them. The Partnership for Inner-City Education — which has a history of working with city Catholic schools — is contracting with the archdiocese to manage the finances and oversee the [Read More…]

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Rest in Peace, Deacon Joseph Cella

Longtime readers of The Deacon’s Bench may remember that I posted a story about Joseph Cella back in the early days of my blog, in 2007.  He was the “deacon with a badge,” the only Catholic deacon in Philadelphia who was also working as a cop. I’ve just gotten some sad news from Philadelphia, from [Read More…]

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“Why Would Conservative Catholics Be So Upset?”

That’s one of the questions Michael Sean Winters poses in this rejoinder to Archbishop Chaput’s comments yesterday in the National Catholic Reporter. An excerpt: Pastors around the world are reporting increased levels of Mass attendance and more frequent reception of the sacrament of reconciliation. Is this not what conservative Catholics have been calling for these [Read More…]

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For World Youth Day, Pope Francis Will Visit Where his Pontificate Really Began

A fascinating insight, via Vatican Insider:  The Church needs to “rid itself from all expired structures that do not favour the transmission of the faith.” This is what point 365 in the concluding document of the last general assembly of Latin American bishops at Aparecida, Brazil’s most important Marian shrine. The meeting set in stone [Read More…]

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