Uproar at Duke: “Cultural pluralism will lose its value if students aren’t allowed to follow their beliefs”

This story garnered some attention a few days ago: Some new Duke University students are very unhappy with a summer reading option that has gay themes. Incoming freshmen began posting on the Class of 2019 Facebook page, saying they had decided against reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by New York Times best-selling author Alison Bechdel, according to [Read More...]

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What they’ve said: a brief roundup of reaction to Laudato Si’

Here you go. John Allen: Laudato Si seems destined to go down as a major turning point, the moment when environmentalism claimed pride of place on a par with the dignity of human life and economic justice as a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching. It also immediately makes the Catholic Church arguably the leading moral voice [Read More...]

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Thank you, William Zinsser

When I was in college—wearing pretentious tweed caps and drinking gallons of bad coffee and sneering at freshmen while fancying myself a writer—there were two books that were always close at hand: Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” and “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. They held the keys that unlocked the treasure chest of [Read More...]

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Actress Maria Bello: “I’m proud to call myself a Catholic”

The star of “ER” and “The Cooler” has just published a series of personal essays on the “labels we give ourselves,” in which she discusses, among other things, being bipolar and bisexual. She was born and raised Catholic, and talked about that in an interview with The Daily Beast:  What might surprise a lot of people is [Read More...]

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What a small town obituary writer learned about living

This is something to read and share—and, I suspect, there is abundant material here for a good homily. From Huffington Post: In the healthiest sense possible, Heather Lende has an intimate relationship with death. She is the longtime obituary writer in her small Alaska hometown of Haines, having memorialized some 400 departed locals, neighbors, friends. She volunteers [Read More...]

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Just published: the pope’s daily homilies

A perfect Easter gift: Each morning when Pope Francis celebrates Mass he offers a short homily for fellow residents and guests in the chapel of St. Martha’s Guesthouse, where he has chosen to live. Now, Morning Homilies makes it possible for everyone to experience his lively interpretations of Scripture and his uncanny capacity to engage [Read More...]

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After bookstore pulls “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Catholic college has it returned to the shelves

It happened last week at Boston College. The explanation, via The Boston Globe: BC spokesman Jack Dunn told us the decision to remove the book was made by Follett Corp., the Illinois-based company that operates the BC store (and about 950 other campus booksellers), not by BC. He said the school urged the company to reconsider its decision, reminding [Read More...]

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Octavia Spencer from “The Help” to star as God in “The Shack”

Yes, they’re making a movie from the best-selling book. Variety has the scoop: Octavia Spencer is in final negotiations to play God in Lionsgate’s adaptation of the bestselling novel “The Shack.” Stuart Hazeldine is directing the pic, with Gil Netter producing through Netter Productions along with Brad Cummings. Production is set to start this spring. [Read More...]

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John Allen: “Mercy is the spiritual bedrock of this papacy”

Crux has just published the introduction to a new book by John Allen, “The Francis Miracle.” One compelling detail describes the pope’s May 2013 visit to a parish on the northern outskirts of Rome: The pontiff was scheduled to arrive at 9:30 a.m., but the pastor, a balding, amiable Romanian immigrant named Fr. Benoni Ambarus, heard the rotor [Read More...]

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This is huge: another novel by Harper Lee to be published

Readers rejoice! From AP:   “To Kill a Mockingbird” will not be Harper Lee’s only published book after all. Publisher Harper announced Tuesday that “Go Set a Watchman,” a novel the Pulitzer Prize-winning author completed in the 1950s and put aside, will be released July 14. Rediscovered last fall, “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially [Read More...]

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