West Point chapel hosts first same-sex wedding —UPDATED

Another sign of the times, from Associated Press: Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday. Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, [Read More...]

Send in the clowns: pope greets circus performers

From AFP: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday held a private audience for several thousand circus artists, urging them to continue offering “healthy entertainment” despite difficulties posed by the craft. “Thanks to the variety of your professions and the originality of your shows, you know how to surprise, elicit wonder and offer opportunities… for healthy entertainment,” [Read More...]

Homily for December 2, 2012: 1st Sunday of Advent

[Click here for readings.] If you wanted to sum up the meaning of Advent, this beautiful and haunting season of waiting, you could do it with just one question: What are you waiting for? Most people, I suspect, would say, very simply, we’re waiting for Christmas, the birth of Jesus. But the gospel this Sunday [Read More...]

How about a series on deacon wives?

This should be interesting:  Think The Real Housewives of Atlanta – the men, the fashion, the drama. Now, just add church.  Premiering on Jan. 1, TLC‘s The Sisterhood takes viewers behind the pews and into the lives of some of Atlanta’s “first ladies,” as preacher’s wives are often known in the evangelical community. The view from inside their world, their [Read More...]

The hills are alive—again: “Sound of Music” redo planned for NBC

And this is a good idea…why??  Huh? From the Hollywood Reporter:  NBC is redoing the classic musical The Sound of Music in a live broadcast, casting Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. To shepherd the live three-hour event, which will air during next year’s holiday season, NBC is re-teaming with Smash producersCraig Zadan and Neil Meron(Chicago, Hairspray), who have also been tapped to [Read More...]

Former rector of nation’s largest Episcopal church becomes Catholic

From Religion News Service:  The Rev. Larry Gipson was dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1982-94 and rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parishioners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, from 1994-2008. Last month, Gipson was accepted as a Catholic into the [Read More...]

Police apologize for arresting deacon by mistake

Details (and thanks to the great deacon’s wifve, Kathy Schiffer!) from the Des Moines Register: As the Des Moines police officer handcuffed him Monday night, Quan Tong was so nervous that he forgot his adopted language. The officer told him he was being arrested for a revoked license. “Revoked?” Tong recalls saying. “What does ‘revoked’ [Read More...]

A basilica grows in Brooklyn

More on a news item I posted last week, on Brooklyn’s third basilica, with reaction from the pastor and parish: Parishioners in Brooklyn are anticipating the elevation of their Regina Pacis Church as a basilica, with the dedication set to take place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. “They’ve been admiring the beauty of [Read More...]

Organ donors needed: why many Catholic churches don’t have organists

Is organ music in church doomed to disappear?  Details, from Catholic News Service: If music conservatories are producing a bumper crop of organ performance graduates, why can’t the parish down the street get a substitute organist for the 10 a.m. Mass? There’s no single answer, but liturgical musicians who spoke with Catholic News Service attribute [Read More...]

Yes, somebody actually said that

“It is unthinkable that any sexual act with an animal is punished without proof that the animal has come to any harm.  We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification. We don’t force them to do anything. Animals are much easier to understand than women.” – Michael Kiok, expressing opposition to [Read More...]

What’s the only vocation that grew in the United States last year?

Three guesses. From Catholic World News:  The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory. During the same period:  the number of priests fell slightly from 40,271 to 40,203 the number of seminarians [Read More...]

“The Holy Father has no power to change the nature of the ordained priesthood”

A commentary from Francis Phillips in the Catholic Herald:  Friendly commentators on the question of women’s role in the Church but who are not members of the Catholic Church sometimes pity us because (as they see it) we are subject to authoritarian edicts from Rome, devised by elderly celibate men who are determined to suppress [Read More...]

Amazing: Japanese firm offers parents 3D model of fetus

Details: Expectant parents in Japan who can’t wait to show the world what their baby will look like can now buy a three-dimensional model of the foetus to pass around their friends. The nine-centimetre resin model of the white foetus, encased in a transparent block in the shape of the mother’s body, is fashioned by [Read More...]

Canadian Catholic schools approve HPV vaccinations

The bishops are opposed, and the move has not been without controversy. From the Calgary Herald:  Trustees with the city’s Catholic school board have overturned a four-year-old ban on offering the HPV vaccine in its schools, a move greeted by doctors and victims of the disease who have fought the prohibition. The decision was made [Read More...]

This will save you a TON

Or close to it. Behold, what is reputedly the heaviest item that Amazon will ship for free (or, at least, with a $79 membership in Amazon Prime). Details: “It’s really an amazing deal,” says Amazon spokeswoman Pia Arthur, even if the heaviest items sometimes have to be handled by “specialty shippers” instead of UPS or [Read More...]

10 reasons why men shouldn’t be ordained

I have to admit: this made me laugh.  It comes from Bosco Peters, an Anglican priest and blogger (and Friend of the Bench) in New Zealand.  He says he doesn’t know where the list originated.  (My favorite is #7.) Enjoy. 10. A man’s place is in the army. 9. The pastoral duties of men who [Read More...]

The first classic Christmas carol of the decade

Featuring CeeLo Green and …the Muppets! It includes a fun remix of the classic “Mah Na Mah Na,” plus a little jingly jive from CeeLo.  Brace yourself for an earworm. [Read more...]

Survey: one year on, most Americans have accepted new missal

The world did not end, and people actually seem to be just fine with it.  Details: American Catholics have widely accepted the changes in the Roman Catholic Mass to reflect a closer translation of the Latin that was introduced last year, even if these revisions may signal greater centralization in the church, according to a [Read More...]


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