Remembering the priests of Dachau—and the roots of the restored diaconate

Dachau entrance, 1945, from National Archives / Wikipedia Lest we forget: Seventy years ago today, the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.  Many countries mark this date as Holocaust Memorial Day.  My blog neighbors Kathy Schiffer, Diane von Glahn and Marge Fenelon have written poignantly about this singular moment, with Marge noting the special connection of Catholic priests to another notorious [Read More…]

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The transformation of Boston’s “Little Rome”

Cardinal’s residence (photo: Boston College) From The New York Times:  The house on the rise has long been a symbol of Catholicism in Boston. When it was built, its grandeur demonstrated the wherewithal of the city’s newly powerful Roman Catholic community. When it was sold, the transaction reflected the straits of a once-powerful archdiocese brought [Read More…]

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Letters reveal Winston Churchill’s family feared he would convert to Islam

Winston Churchill in 1904 (photo: Imperial War Museum / Wikipedia) From The Daily Telegraph:  In the public eye, Sir Winston Churchill’s long political career earned him a place among the greatest of Britons. But what may come as a surprise is that he was a strong admirer of Islam and the culture of the Orient [Read More…]

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An elephant in Galilee?

Details:  There are many amazing characters and creatures described in the Hebrew Bible, but elephants are not among them. Imagine the surprise of a team of archaeologists who were in the midst of their fourth summer of excavations at an ancient synagogue in Israel’s Lower Galilee when they discovered elephants in a mosaic panel where [Read More…]

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“These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc”

Incredibly, this Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Which means this marks the 30th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s remarkable speech commemorating that event. Written by Peggy Noonan—using the skills she honed writing at CBS News Radio—it still stands the test of time. Radio writers like to talk about how their medium occupies [Read More…]

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First priest ordained in the United States

Who knew? From my blog neighbor Pat McNamara: The first Catholic priest ordained within the limits of the original thirteen States of the Union, pioneer missionary of Kentucky, b. at Orléans, France, 17 July, 1768; d. at Cincinnati, Ohio, 21 April, 1853. Educated at Montaigu College, Paris, he entered the Sulpician Seminary of his native [Read More…]

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Is this the Holy Grail?

Just in time for Easter, from The New York Daily News: Two historians claim the search for the Holy Grail is over. The famous cup used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper was identified in a book written by Margarita Torres Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio, titled “Kings of the Grail” and published last [Read More…]

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For President’s Day: surprising facts about presidents and religion

A few fascinating tidbits from Huffington Post:   Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant was never baptized and reportedly got into trouble for not attending religious services while he was a student at West Point? Or that the first national public celebration of Christmas, with the lighting of a national Christmas tree, didn’t happen [Read More…]

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Why are Americans more religious than Europeans?

Good question. One answer, from writer E. Brooks Holifield:  Many Western Europeans think of Americans as hopelessly, bafflingly, and dangerously, religious. Many Americans think of Western Europeans as distressingly, inexplicably, and unrelentingly, secular. In 2009, the German sociologist Hans Joas observed that “it is widely accepted that the United States is far more religious than [Read More…]

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JFK’s rosary goes up for auction

Who knew? Dave Gibson writes:  The black onyx beads, and a sterling silver crucifix with Kennedy’s name engraved on it, were given by the president to his friend and special assistant, David Powers. From the letter of provenance from Powers’ son: “Many consider my father to have been President Kennedy’s best friend and confidant. They [Read More…]

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