The peculiar Catholicism of Roger Ebert

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic takes note of recent papal news, waxes nostalgically about his Catholic upbringing (complete with Dominican nuns) and then concludes: I consider myself Catholic, lock, stock and barrel, with this technical loophole: I cannot believe in God. I refuse to call myself an atheist, however, because that indicates too great a [Read More…]

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California diocese requires teachers to sign agreement on “modern errors”

Details: The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese is requiring its 200 schoolteachers to sign an agreement affirming that “modern errors” such as contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia are “matters that gravely offend human dignity.” The move is an effort by Bishop Robert Vasa to delineate specifically what it means for a Catholic-school teacher — whether [Read More…]

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Gallup: Catholic Hispanic population shrinking

Details: According to a new Gallup poll, young Latinos are shedding the Catholic faith of their parents and some are turning to Protestant alternatives with fervor. Most Hispanics are still Catholic, the poll found, but they are significantly less religious than their Protestant peers. And Hispanic Protestants are not only more religious, they’re far more religious [Read More…]

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What’s wrong with giving out blessings during communion? —UPDATED

Lots. Especially if the one doing the blessing is a lay person. Fr. Z rants about it again this morning. I posted on this topic last year. With Easter approaching, and more people crowding into churches (and more EMHCs likely being pressed into duty), it’s worth revisiting this thorny issue. As a priest mentioned last [Read More…]

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Catholicism’s explosive growth in Africa: “The church…is protector, feeder, healer.”

The New York Times looks at the continent that some think could be the home of the next pope: The young woman slept soundly on the cool marble floor before the altar, a break from the chaos at home. In the courtyard, neighborhood teenagers filled giant jerrycans with purified water from a stone fountain. In [Read More…]

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Split: Survey shows U.S. Catholics hoping for change, yet embracing tradition

From the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:  As the pontificate of Benedict XVI winds down, many American Catholics express a desire for change. For example, most U.S. Catholics say it would be good if the next pope allows priests to marry. And fully six-in-ten Catholics say it would be good if the next [Read More…]

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“Ashes to Go”: Episcopalians take to the streets for Ash Wednesday

An interesting glimpse at how our Episcopalian siblings marked the beginning of Lent—and their foreheads—in Maryland, from the Baltimore Sun: Leta Dunham got her breakfast order to go at a Roland Avenue Starbucks Wednesday morning: a grande triple skim latte in her cup and, on her forehead, an ashen reminder that we are all destined to become [Read More…]

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ESPN viewer: “Tony Rially has black ink smirred across his forehead…”

Ash Wednesday still befuddles some people (and, evidently, offers a few spelling challenges.)  The headline comes from Twitter, and reaction to the image above, seen yesterday on countless TV screens. The website Deadspin notes: For years, Around The Horn host Tony Reali has proudly worn the mark of Ash Wednesday upon his forehead while hosting that day’s [Read More…]

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Bishop Paprocki tells a lapsed Catholic: “Why you should return to the Church…”

The bishop of Springfield responds to a newspaper columnist with a column of his own:  In her Jan. 25 guest column, Elaine Boardman asked, “Why should I return to the Catholic Church?” Since she asked publicly, I would like to answer her question publicly. Elaine, let me say first that I am grateful you took [Read More…]

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Sanctuary: San Francisco church opens its pews to the homeless

Huffington Post has a longer look at this project this week, but the San Francisco press has been covering it for a while. The undertaking is, in a word, remarkable: The ornately painted ceiling, stained-glass windows, huge marble columns and organ pipes high above the wooden pews could make St. Boniface Church a stop on any San Francisco [Read More…]

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