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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Pat McNamara talks about “New York Catholics”

NCR has interviewed author (and Patheos blogger) Pat McNamara about his new book “New York Catholics,” which profiles nearly 80 New Yorkers who have filled the pews of my state—including Thomas Merton, Fulton Sheen, Jimmy Fallon, Dorothy Day, Martin Scorcese… and (incredibly) me: A number of contemporary voices noted that Fr. Thomas Merton was a big [Read More...]

Together at last: Jimmy Fallon, Thomas Merton and me

I’m pleased to report that my blog neighbor (and fellow Queens resident) Pat McNamara has just published a new book, “New York Catholics,” with Orbis Books. It’s available today on Amazon.  Check it out.  From the publisher: The historical and spiritual legacy of New York City’s largest denomination comes alive in these biographies of 76 [Read More...]

Quote of the day

From Catholic comedian Jim Gaffigan:  “I watch the faces of single people in their twenties after I bring up that I ‘have children.’ I imagine them taking a small step backward as if to avoid contagion, with a look of ‘Sorry to hear that’ on their face. Like I naively volunteered to contract leprosy, forever [Read More...]