14-year-old boy executed for 1944 murder is exonerated

From CBS News:  A 14-year-old South Carolina boy who was quickly convicted of murder and then executed in 1944 has been posthumously exonerated. Judge Carmen Tevis Mullen vacated George Stinney, Jr.’s conviction on Wednesday, stating that the boy’s prosecution was marked by “fundamental, Consitutional violations of due process.” According to the judge’s order, Stinney, who [Read More...]

“We can do anything. We could be heroes…”

This is guaranteed to make you gasp, squeal, swoon, and maybe even feel a lump in your throat. People are awesome. And a little bit nuts. But mostly awesome. Crank up the volume and enjoy! [Read more...]

Vatican diplomacy and release of Alan Gross: “Pope Francis personally issued an appeal in a letter to Obama and Castro…”

From The Washington Post:   Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) received a phone call on Tuesday night from White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice that “just knocked me off my feet.” After more than five years of captivity, Alan Gross was coming home. Durbin was in the midst of wrapping up the Senate’s tumultuous year, [Read More...]

Thousands celebrate pope’s birthday at Vatican with flash mob tango

Well, how else would you celebrate? See for yourself below. Details from Carol Glatz at CNS:   Pope Francis always asks for prayers, especially for his birthday, but this year he also got some tango. Thousands of tango dancers, mostly from Italy, flocked to St. Peter’s Square to wave their white scarves “A Tango for Pope [Read More...]

Church of England names first female bishop

From the BBC:   Reverend Libby Lane has been announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England, just a month after a historic change to canon law. She will become the new Bishop of Stockport, a post that has been vacant since May. Mrs Lane has been the vicar at St Peter’s [Read More...]

Elf on a shelf? What are you, meshugenah??

You need a Mensch on a Bench! But somehow I don’t think it’s a deacon’s bench. Details:  Elf on a Shelf has quickly become a part of many families’ Christmas celebrations over the past few years. When Neal Hoffman’s young son Jacob asked if they could have an Elf, Hoffman came up with an idea [Read More...]

Now THAT’s Christmas caroling!

Get a load of what happened when those clever people at Improv Everywhere went caroling in New Jersey. “Epic” doesn’t quite do this justice. I wonder what the neighbors thought…? And you can read about how it all came together right here.  [Read more...]

Meet the deacon who was sheriff

From the Kane County Chronicle  in Illinois: The Kenneth Ramsey most people know is a tough guy. He was a lawman for 35 years, first in Batavia, then as a sheriff’s deputy, eventually serving as sheriff of Kane County from 1994 to 2006. Ramsey also was a soldier, with 41 years in the U.S. Army and [Read More...]

For first time, Boston will admit gay group to St. Patrick’s Day parade

First New York. Now, Boston. From the AP:  For the first time in its history, the sponsors of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will allow a group representing the gay community to participate, drawing cheers from Mayor Martin Walsh, who boycotted the event last year over the exclusion. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which has long [Read More...]

Is the pope trying to tell us something?

With all the debate raging in the Catholic world about admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to communion, I couldn’t help but think Pope Francis was trying to telegraph a message in his homily Monday:  In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in [Read More...]