Vatican diplomacy and release of Alan Gross: “Pope Francis personally issued an appeal in a letter to Obama and Castro…”

From The Washington Post:   Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) received a phone call on Tuesday night from White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice that “just knocked me off my feet.” After more than five years of captivity, Alan Gross was coming home. Durbin was in the midst of wrapping up the Senate’s tumultuous year, [Read More...]

For first time, Boston will admit gay group to St. Patrick’s Day parade

First New York. Now, Boston. From the AP:  For the first time in its history, the sponsors of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will allow a group representing the gay community to participate, drawing cheers from Mayor Martin Walsh, who boycotted the event last year over the exclusion. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which has long [Read More...]

It’s here: Vatican report on U.S. nuns

From CNS:  A massive, detailed Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious ended with a call to the women themselves to continue discerning how best to live the Gospel in fidelity to their orders’ founding ideals while facing steeply declining numbers and a rapidly aging membership.Although initially seen by many religious and lay Catholics [Read More...]

Slaughter in Pakistan: there are no words for this kind of evil

Breaking news this morning from Pakistan:  At least 126 people, most of them children, were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen stormed a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, taking hundreds of students hostage in the bloodiest insurgent attack in the country in years. Troops surrounded the building and an operation was underway to [Read More...]

Cardinal Dolan severs ties with Fr. Frank Pavone’s Priests for Life

From Religion News Service:   In the latest clash between the Catholic hierarchy and one of the church’s leading anti-abortion crusaders, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan accused the Rev. Frank Pavone of continuing to stonewall on financial reforms, and Dolan said he is cutting ties with his group, Priests for Life. In a Nov. 20 letter to other U.S. bishops, [Read More...]

“The war on Christmas is over. Jesus won.”

That’s the eye-catching headline of this item in The Washington Post, summarizing a new report from those folks at Pew: A new Pew Research Center survey finds nearly three-quarters of Americans — 73 percent — believe that Jesus was literally born to a virgin. This is especially surprising when you consider that only one third of Americans say that [Read More...]

“Busting at the seams,” Phoenix adds another church to serve growing Catholic population

This speaks to the vibrant faith of the American southwest—and the burgeoning immigrant population. Details:  A longstanding Catholic parish in Chandler is moving forward with plans to build a second church at the southern end of the city. The new church, called St. Juan Diego…will be part of the existing parish at St. Mary’s Catholic [Read More...]

Church council says “celibacy may have contributed” to sex abuse crisis

From Australia:  Celibacy could have contributed to the instances of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church, a report by the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council in Australia has found. The report, released on Friday as a response to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, said “obligatory celibacy” for Catholic priests [Read More...]

Pew: Pope Francis enjoys broad support, positive image across much of the world

Some highlights of a new survey:  Pope Francis, leader of the world’s nearly 1.1 billion Catholics, enjoys broad support across much of the world, according to a new survey report by the Pew Research Center. A median of 60% across 43 nations have a favorable view of the pontiff. Only 11% see the pope unfavorably, [Read More...]

Great moments in academia: College president regrets writing “All lives matter”

Details: Smith College President Kathleen McCartney led a vigil attended by 130 people Monday afternoon three days after she apologized for her original wording in an email she sent to the campus community in reaction to the recent police killings of three blacks. McCartney sent two emails Friday, which were obtained by the Gazette from [Read More...]


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