Bring him home: Hugh Jackman talks about modeling Jean Valjean on his own father’s conversion

And, perhaps fittingly, the star is literally a son of Grace. Details:  His performance is both a tribute and a thank you to his father Chris, who brought him up after his mother walked out of the family home in Australia when Hugh was just eight years old. Both parents are English-born, but settled in [Read More...]

SSPX head: Jews are “enemies of the church”

Details:  The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said he has been receiving mixed messages from the Vatican for years over if and how the group might be brought back into full communion with the church. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, claimed that top Vatican officials told him not [Read More...]

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” re-imagined for Christmas

We’ve all heard Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung in a variety of styles — from the sweetly simple to the epic and grandiose.  But you’ve probably never heard it quite like this, beautifully re-imagined for the Christmas season by the band Cloverton.   Purists will blanche.  But I loved it.  See for yourself and decide. Consider [Read More...]

The remarkable journey of Atlanta’s new auxiliary bishop—UPDATED

He’s got quite an unusual background—and was influenced by the writings of Thomas Merton : Msgr. David Talley, a former Southern Baptist who became a Catholic at the age of 24 and has served at various archdiocesan parishes, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. At [Read More...]

“He felt led by God to the diaconate”

From Philadelphia comes this remembrance of a deacon who died just after Christmas: Paul Michael Parchinski was a chemical engineer who over a 34-year career worked his way up the echelons of the petroleum industry, retiring from Citgo in 2001 as senior environmental adviser. It was then that he decided to take a job with an [Read More...]

Meet the man who plays “Taps” for his neighbors every night

From my former colleague Steve Hartman at CBS News, a lovely slice of American life: Every evening, for two years now, Don Brittain walks out onto his porch with his trusty trumpet and plays the famous 24 notes for Taps. Now, it has become a nightly ritual for his entire neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington to [Read More...]

What will religion in America look like in 2060?

The conservative American Family Association offers its prediction: A conservative religious group is warning that 2060 will be a grim time, when Christians are treated “like African Americans were prior to civil rights,” the family unit is dissolved and America has a Muslim president. Christian organization the American Family Association issued the warning to members on [Read More...]

What the angel REALLY told the shepherds …

Ha! [Read more...]

How targeting “Les Mis” to Christians paid off

Though some were shocked, simply shocked to see fleeting moments of sexual congress (one involving a guy in a Santa suit), other Christians have embraced the movie’s message. From CNN:    “Les Miserables” is booming at the box office, and that financial success can in part be traced to a group of its biggest boosters: [Read More...]

What’s wrong with gay marriage? Let me count the ways…

Actually, I’ll let Brandon Vogt do it.  He lays out 10 common arguments in favor of same-sex marriage, and then deftly deflates them in Our Sunday Visitor.  As Brandon points out: “This is not an attack on people with same-sex attractions. All people, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Instead, [Read More...]

New cathedral will use old windows

And they’re beauties, as the sample above shows. Details:  The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh has purchased 42  stained glass windows for the new Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. The Diocese has received more than $52 million in pledges so far, it said Wednesday. The majority of the windows were created by Paula Balano, who became [Read More...]

Life with father: a great time lapse video

There’s something delightful and sweet about this: Kansas dad Emio Tomeoni shows how he spent the afternoon at home with his kid. I’m glad he cleaned up after.  (And I bet Mom is glad, too…) [Read more...]

Superman was Jewish? Who knew?

An intriguing little item from today’s New York Times:  Years before Superman could be easily spotted in the sky among the birds and planes — or in motion pictures, or on billboards or lunchboxes or the many other pop-cultural artifacts he now occupies — his co-creator Joe Shuster met him in person on the street. In 1945, [Read More...]

“Ordain a lady!”

My blog neighbor Marc Barnes posted the video below at his joint, “Bad Catholic” and noted: This might be the greatest video ever to happen to the Catholic Church. If I had tried to stick my tongue out at the kids who think a female priest isn’t a contradiction in terms, I wouldn’t have been [Read More...]

Open thread: blessing for a cadaver??

Here’s a new one on me.  I got this e-mail today, from a campus minister at a large university: We have a big Nursing program here and I was recently asked by one of the professors to do a blessing over the cadaver they will be using this semester.  I was wondering: is there any [Read More...]

Ping-pong prodigy withdraws because final match fell on Sabbath

How many kids do you know who have this kind of devotion? Details:  She doesn’t spin on Shabbos. Ping-pong prodigy Estee Ackerman, an 11-year-old from Long Island, was disqualified from her final event at the 2012 US National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas last Dec. 21 when her match fell on the Jewish holy [Read More...]

Ordination update: 6 new deacons for Steubenville

Details:  Six men, including Richard G. Adams, Thomas F. Maedke and Stephen F. Miletic of Steubenville, along with Mark A. Erste Sr. of Bloomingdale, recently were ordained permanent deacons for the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville. Daniel P. Murray of Athens and Lee V. Weisend of Marietta also were ordained permanent deacons. Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton [Read More...]

Mother gives 13-year-old son an iPhone—and some rules—UPDATED

Blogger and mother Janell Burley Hoffman gave her teenage son an iPhone for Christmas —and an 18-point contract. To wit: Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present [Read More...]