“Sometimes you just have to shut up…”

When was the last time this happened with an American politician? Read on, from the Catholic Herald:  A Catholic MP has revealed that a month’s retreat helped her in her decision to quit politics. Sarah Teather MP, told the Guardian that she decided to attend a Jesuit retreat while she struggled with her decision whether [Read More...]

How NOT to take Communion to the homebound—UPDATED

After igniting some lively discussion on Facebook—and a fair amount of criticism for her approach—Michelle Arnold of Catholic Answers has just removed the Q&A that sparked this post, with the explanation: Sometimes apologists try out new means of making their point—sometimes the new means work, sometimes they don’t. In this case, evidently the word picture I [Read More...]

A pastor’s investment: give each parishioner $50—and a challenge

Photo: Dan Gross/The Gazette What a great idea:  It was like a collection basket in reverse. Instead of collecting money to help the church’s outreach programs, Pastor Anne Benefield of Geneva Presbyterian Church in Potomac put money and a challenge in the hands of her parishioners. At the end of her Sept. 8 sermon, each [Read More...]

CDF: SSPX in schism

From Catholic Culture:  The leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are in schism, and remain suspended from the sacraments, says the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Gerhard Müller said that although Pope Benedict XVI lifted the [Read More...]

Catholics in the Age of Francis

A snapshot of reactions and insights from a variety of people in The Boston Globe:  After one of the worst decades in Roman Catholic church history, marked by a devastating sexual abuse scandal, internecine turf battles at the Vatican, and a widening chasm between the hierarchy and the people, Pope Francis is changing the conversation [Read More...]

Missionaries on the streets of New York City

On a snowy weekend, the Basilica of Old St. Patrick’s in New York’s Little Italy undertook a notable evangelization effort, which they’ve recounted on their Facebook page:  In the spirit of Advent, and following the call of Cardinal Timothy Dolan for every parish to have Confessions available during this time, members of Regnum Christi joined [Read More...]

The “consumer mentality” of American parishes: Want fries with that?

An episcopal priest, Fr. Tim Schenck, has some interesting observations on his blog, and I think they apply to Catholic parishes, as well: My only living predecessor as rector at St. John’s (they all stay 30 years) has a theory about free-standing altars. He says the unintended consequence when they pulled them out from the [Read More...]

Dutch bishops give bleak report to Pope Francis

Details:  Dutch bishops visiting Rome this week have given Pope Francis a dramatic snapshot of the steep decline of Roman Catholicism in its European heartland. Both Catholic and Protestant Christian ranks have shrunk dramatically across Europe in recent decades, and hundreds of churches have been sold off to be turned into apartments, shops, bars or [Read More...]

What Catholics with developmental disabilities bring to the Church

Photo: Karen Callaway Here’s an aspect of parish life that doesn’t get much attention. From U.S. Catholic:  Like many other lifelong Catholics, Danny Benavidez, a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Chula Vista, California, helps out at his parish in a number of ways. On Thursdays he serves as a eucharistic minister. Every [Read More...]

Flip this abbey: six Catholic couples buy South Dakota monastery

Here’s an interesting update on a story I posted on The Bench back in January:  Six Catholic couples from South Dakota and Minnesota have purchased a 108-bedroom rural monastery and now hope to raise enough money to keep it open as a quiet place of renewal. Blue Cloud Abbey near Marvin in northeast South Dakota, [Read More...]