Lifelines: the police who work to save jumpers in New York

It has to be one of the toughest jobs in the world—and for some souls, what these police do is literally a Godsend. A rare look into the work of the men who try to rescue suicide jumpers, from the New York Times: On a concrete ledge off the upper deck of the George Washington [Read More...]

Russian Orthodox demand Apple change its famous logo to a cross

Good luck with that. Details, from the Christian Post: Christians from Russia’s Orthodox community are demanding that the country’s Apple division remove the famous half-bitten apple logo from its products and replace it with a cross, because they find the apple image offensive to their beliefs. In popular culture, an apple is often used to [Read More...]

Congressman on science committee calls evolution a “lie straight from the pit of hell”

Details from the Associated Press: Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior. The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at [Read More...]

Respect Life: Homily for October 7, 2012, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Click here for readings] This Sunday is Respect Life Sunday, beginning Respect Life month. If you want to know what that really means, meet the Hudson family of Wauconda, Illinois, just outside Chicago. The Hudsons are a huge Catholic family – and I do mean huge. Lena and Tom Hudson have eight children, with a [Read More...]

Verdict: guilty

From the Los Angeles Times: A Vatican court Saturday found former papal butler Paolo Gabriele guilty of aggravated theft in the pilfering and leaking of private internal documents in a scandal that brought extraordinary attention to the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. The three-judge panel senteced Gabriele to three years in prison, reduced to one and a half, because they said [Read More...]

The preachin’ deacon

A lot of regular visitors to The Bench probably know Deacon Doctor Bill Ditewig (“Triple D”), who makes frequent appearances here and in the comboxes.  One of his parishioners alerted me to the very impressive website for his parish, which includes its own YouTube page and an archive of homilies, including several by Bill. If [Read More...]

“Remembering Steve”

Those who clicked on the Apple home page today saw this lovely, poignant tribute to the company’s founder, who died one year ago today. [Read more...]

Who we are: the latest statistics on U.S. Catholics

The USCCB has just posted the latest figures. Details: How many Catholics are there in the United States? What was the total enrollment of Catholic elementary and high schools in the United States last year? How many people are served by Catholic hospitals annually? The answers to these questions (77.7 million, 2 million and 88.5 [Read More...]

Archdiocese to parishes: drop support of Komen

Details from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Archdiocese of Atlanta has directed its parishes, missions and schools to end support or participation in activities related to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In a memo dated Monday, the archdiocese acknowledged the beneficial work of Komen to raise awareness about breast cancer and treatment, but it criticized [Read More...]

Awesome: a human Rube Goldberg machine

This is what happens when you have too much free time on your hands. You think up stuff like this. This is brought to you by the advertising geniuses behind Red Bull. Do not try this at home. [Read more...]

Judge rules that cheerleaders can use banners with Bible verses

Details: A Texas judge has decided to continue allowing, for now, a Southeast Texas high school’s cheerleaders to use run-through banners with biblical verses at football games. State District Judge Steve Thomas said Thursday at the end of a day of testimony that he needs more time to issue a final ruling. He extended a [Read More...]

Cardinal Dolan blesses rescued pets for feast of St. Francis

From the New York Daily News: Blessed be the critters. Timothy Cardinal Dolan welcomed some four-legged friends Thursday to St. Patricks’s Cathedral and gave each a blessing. The two dozen cats, dogs and rabbits — all rescued from city animal shelters — got Dolan’s undivided attention in observance of the Feast of St. Francis of [Read More...]

Vatican says it will not hold new talks with SSPX

Details, from Reuters: The Vatican plans no more talks with rebel Catholic traditionalists who insist the Church must revoke modernizing reforms launched five decades ago, Pope Benedict’s main doctrinal official has told a German interviewer. Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who took up his post as head of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [Read More...]

Instruments of peace? —UPDATED

The installation of Salvatore Cordileone as the new Archbishop of San Francisco was not lacking for drama, even before the event began. And on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the atmosphere in the city by the Bay was not exactly peaceable. The Episcopal bishop for the region, Marc Andrus, wrote the following “welcome” [Read More...]

How much does God love us? This much.

This video of dog being rescued in LA just got to me. God tries to reach us the way the rescuers worked to reach this wounded pup: with patience, tenderness and trust.  And, yes, treats, too. Add in a little grace and the occasional minor miracle (cheeseburgers optional) and the next thing you know, we [Read More...]

Jewish players on Catholic high school teams?

Oh yeah.  It may be the ultimate Hail Mary pass (once you remember, of course, that Mary was a good Jewish girl…) Details, from the Los Angeles Times:  It still seems a little strange when the starting quarterback at a Catholic high school is Jewish, but in reality, it has been happening so often that [Read More...]

Using social media to boost vocations

Hot on the heels of Pope Benedict’s announced theme for the next World Communications Day comes this encouraging piece of news, from Catholic News Service: Several religious congregations and organizations are taking advantage of social media to “introduce” individuals discerning a call to a vocation and the seminary, convent or monastery that fits them. With [Read More...]

So what did the New York Times have to say about the debate?

From the lead editorial in this morning’s edition: The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, so long anticipated, quickly sunk into an unenlightening recitation of tired talking points and mendacity. With few sparks and little clarity on the immense gulf that truly separates the two men and their policies,Wednesday’s encounter provided little guidance for [Read More...]


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