Christmas came early

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I got a nice fat manila envelope in the mail today and found two copies of this inside: “Goodness and Light” is a collection of reflections for Advent and Christmas, with writings by Pope Francis, Thomas Merton, Maya Angelou, Kathleen Norris, Harper Lee, James Martin “and many more.” I’m one [Read More…]

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David Gregory writes of losing his job at NBC—and finding his faith

The former anchor of “Meet the Press” has a new book out on the subject—“How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey”—and writes about what sparked that journey in today’s Wall Street Journal:  I’ve spent a career in journalism questioning others, and yet it was three questions asked of me that pushed me to figure out, as [Read More…]

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A beautiful glimpse inside a cloister: “It’s like being around a bunch of young women who were in love”

The New York Times offers this preview of a new book, due out later this month, and the women who made it happen: The idea of a cloistered life strikes some as one of severity and silence, of running away from a broken heart or a broken life. But as Toni Greaves discovered when she [Read More…]

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Deacons, add this book to your library

The book is “The Heart of the Diaconate,” by esteemed deacon and teacher James Keating.  This slim volume is a quick read, but I recommend that you keep a pen nearby. My copy has scribblings, asterisks, underlinings and ink marks on nearly every page.  You don’t want to miss a word. The book has a deceptively simple [Read More…]

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Vatican expresses pope’s gratitude to author of banned children’s book

From The Guardian:  The hippos, kangaroos and penguins adorning the cover of Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg) give little hint of the political and religious storm the children’s book has caused. While following the adventures of an egg may seem harmless enough, its discovery of different family types – including same sex – has prompted a [Read More…]

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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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