“I have seen the love of Christ shine through them”: check out this beautiful video on the priesthood

A thoughtful reader sent this along: it’s the video that was shown last night at a fundraiser for retired priests in the Archdiocese of Boston. It is superb. The YouTube description: The Celebration of the Priesthood dinner on September 24, 2014 raised more than $1.6 million in support of the health, welfare, and retirement needs [Read More...]

Why do Catholics stop going to Mass?

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is getting some interesting answers: Professors Phillip Hardy, Kelly Kendra and Brian Patterson surveyed 575 lapsed Roman Catholics from November 2012 to March 2013, asking them why they had stopped attending Mass or had left the church altogether; what might motivate them to return; and whether the church’s stance [Read More...]

“Deacons’ significance lies as much in who they are as what they do…”

You may remember the story from several days ago in Ireland, where a bishop bowed to protests and decided not to introduce the permanent diaconate in his diocese. Br. Martin Browne, OSB, has written excellent response in The Irish Catholic:  Some of those who were most vocal in their criticism of Bishop O’Reilly seemed to imply [Read More...]

“Singing Nun” Sister Cristina releasing an album for Christmas

Details:  Sister Cristina is back! Though in reality she never went away. After her breakout performance of Alicia Keys’ “No One” on Italy’s “The Voice,” Sister Cristina Scuccia went on to not only win the final competition but land herself a recording deal with Universal. With the world stunned and wooed by her explosive vocal talent, the young nun [Read More...]

Diocese unveils new design for Orange County’s Christ Cathedral—UPDATED

From Orange County Catholic:  Outwardly, the familiar structure, with its 10,000 panes of glass, will look much the same as it always has, albeit with a necessary dose of maintenance and restoration. Inwardly, however, the changes will be dramatic: –The former theater-style seating will give way to pews arranged antiphonally on either side of a [Read More...]

Chicago church gives flock $500 each to spend on a good cause

From Reuters:  Churchgoers grumble that they always get hit with pleas for money. But congregants at a Chicago church this month got a surprise – they each received a check for $500, with instructions to go out and do something good with it. “I was just in disbelief,” said Valency Hastings, 42, when she got [Read More...]

They don’t: Marriage rates continue to plummet

From The New York Times:  Of all the milestones on the road to adulthood, Americans are increasingly forgoing one of the biggest: marriage. Twenty percent of adults older than 25, about 42 million people, have never married, up from 9 percent in 1960, according to data in a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday. The trend has [Read More...]

A dal-what? The story behind the deacon’s vestment

  Wearing the dalmatic for Midnight Mass a few years ago, with my late pastor, Msgr. Joseph Funaro. Periodically, people ask me about that “robe” I wear during Mass. How come it has sleeves? What’s up with that?? My blog neighbor Kathy Schiffer, thankfully, has found some interesting answers, courtesy Zenit and Fr. Edward McNamara. [Read More...]

Vatican ex-envoy arrested, will stand trial on sex abuse charges

Details:  The Vatican put its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic under house arrest Tuesday after opening a criminal trial against him, the first time a high-ranking Vatican official has ever faced criminal charges for sexually abusing youngsters. Josef Wesolowski had already been defrocked in June after the Vatican’s canon law court found him guilty [Read More...]

Poll: Americans want more religion in their politics

From The New York Times:  The Pew Research Center reported Monday that 72 percent of Americans believe religion is losing its influence on American life, a striking development in a nation where religious arguments, religious leaders and religious voting blocs have long played an important role. While the​ ​declining influence of religion is, perhaps, a natural side [Read More...]

That radical Pope Francis makes more shocking appointments

Details:  Pope Francis has nominated new members of the International Theological Commission, in addition to renewing the five year mandate of several previously serving members. One of two Americans is Capuchin friar Fr. Thomas Weinandy, about whom Wikipedia notes: Father Weinandy assisted in the development of content for an iPhone app to guide Catholics through the act [Read More...]

“Let us pray this evening for reconciliation and peace…”

“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:12, 18, 21, 25). The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: “It is good”. This, dear brothers and sisters, allows us to enter [Read More...]

There she is: Miss America, bully?

This is what we have come to. Details:  Miss America Kira Kazantsev was reportedly kicked out of her Long Island college sorority for abusive hazing. According to Jezebel.com, the newly crowned pageant queen was kicked out of Hofstra University’s Alpha Phi sorority last year after allegedly hazing pledges. The report maintains that pledges were called names, criticized [Read More...]

Shock: Thomas Aquinas on CBS?

Tony Rossi picks up on a few great details in last night’s premiere of “Madame Secretary.” I caught the episode and thought it was fresh, funny, astute, brilliantly written—and sublimely, surprisingly Catholic. Tony notes:  Outside of the Washingtonian intrigue, the show’s strongest feature is Elizabeth’s strong and happy marriage to her husband Henry (Tim Daly), a [Read More...]

Blase Cupich: “You cannot base your decisions on a past era where things were different”

NCR has an exclusive interview with him this morning. It sheds more light on his thinking, particularly his ideas about Pope Francis and challenges facing the Church today. Snip: I know Chicago, just like many other dioceses in the U.S., is facing a number of issues — downsizing, priest shortages, population changes. What lessons have [Read More...]

“The new archbishop of Chicago is no moderate…”

That’s the thesis of writer Charles Camosy, who offers some analysis of Blase Cupich, based on his own writings. Camosy concludes the archbishop-elect is neither liberal nor conservative. But he is, in his way, radical.  He sums it up: In addressing his fellow bishops Cupich said, “A prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin. We need a prophecy of [Read More...]

What about Cupich and deacons?

A reader from Chicago wrote in this morning, wondering if anyone knows what sort of relationship the new Archbishop-elect has with his deacons. A little Googling turned up some diaconal news, like this story from a couple years ago: When he came to Spokane in June 2010, he left 12 years of experience as bishop in [Read More...]

Barbie as the Virgin Mary?

This image has been popping up around social media, with the news that Argentina is producing a Virgin Mary Barbie Doll: But before you run out to Toys-R-Us to pick one up, check out the rest of the story: Pool Paolini y Marianela Perelli are the artists behind the controversial “Barbie, The Plastic Religion” exhibit which will be [Read More...]