John Allen on “What We Learned About the Pope in Brazil”

He filed this for the CNN Beliefs blog: Francis was elected at 76, so he doesn’t exude the animal magnetism of the early John Paul II, the last pope to command this kind of popular affection. Elected at 58, John Paul delivered dramatic gestures like the actor he once was. For instance, he would kiss [Read More...]

“Mend a Quarrel:” A Message of Mercy We Need to Hear

Over at the CNEWA blog, (where I toil as part of my day job) there’s a heartfelt remembrance of a Mercy Sister, Christian Molidor, who worked for the agency for many years.  She died yesterday after a long illness. The piece quotes Sister Christian’s final e-mail, sent to her friends when she retired a couple [Read More...]

New Website Offers Updates on Thomas Peters

I knew this was in the works, and my blog neighbor Lisa Hendey got the scoop: You can now follow Thomas Peters’ recovery at a new website that just launched this afternoon. First entry: The halo has been installed but we are in one of the waiting rooms waiting to be allowed to go back in. [Read More...]

Vatican Grants Indulgences for Following the Pope on Twitter—UPDATED

Details:  In an effort to lure the shrinking flock of young Roman Catholics to a more wired religious world, a Vatican court has ruled that following Pope Francis online and on Twitter can earn believers time off from their sentence to purgatory for confessed and forgiven sins. The granting of “indulgences” to those who use the Internet [Read More...]

Prayers for Thomas Peters—UPDATED

The young blogger (and son of longtime Bench friend, canon lawyer Ed Peters) was seriously injured in a swimming accident. Catholic Vote notes: The entire team here at CatholicVote asks that you to pray for our dear friend, Thomas Peters. Thomas was involved in an accident yesterday evening and has sustained major injuries. He is [Read More...]

Stuff I Did in Denver

As you may recall, I spent most of last week at the 2013 Catholic Media Conference in Denver. If you missed my Facebook posts — what, you weren’t hanging on my every word? —here’s a quick photographic recap. Moments after we landed at the Denver International Airport on Tuesday, a tornado hit. They sent everyone [Read More...]

A Deacon Writes of His Own Conversion: “What a Difference a Habit Can Make”

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has invited Deacon Richard Ballard as a guest blogger this week over at Standing on my Head.  He writes of a chance encounter with a habited nun at a hospital when he was seven-years-old — a meeting that may well have changed his life: With a variety of comic books in hand, [Read More...]

“I think I owe some apologies…”

Mark Shea strikes a poignant tone of contrition and humility in this morning’s post. Listen closely and you can hear the fervent thumping of his fist against his chest. Snip: The past week has not been a pleasant one, but it has been a fruitful one.  I won’t bore you with a lot of autobiography, [Read More...]

My American Idol

It’s a weird thing to do, but I have to start this post on the evil of idols by talking about my idol. Her name is Elizabeth Scalia. She’ll hate that. She can’t stand it when people make a fuss over her. And she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a miserable, worthless, slobbering [Read More...]

Meet a Pro-Life Democrat: Patheos’ Rebecca Hamilton Profiled by CNS

Behold:  Oklahoma State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton sees no conflict between her pro-life views as a Catholic and being a stalwart Democrat who has served 18 years in the state Legislature. Hamilton, who represents South Oklahoma City, told Catholic News Service during a break this morning in the 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington that her pro-life stance [Read More...]