New Jersey man charged with vandalizing Catholic churches

Details from Philly.com: On Wednesday, Curtis Condell, 41, of Magnolia, was arrested during a meeting with authorities, Evesham Township Police Lt. Walt Miller said. Condell, a drywall worker, has been charged with nine counts of criminal mischief and nine counts of bias intimidation, police said. He was held on at least $100,000 bail at the [Read More...]

Pope Benedict on 9/11: "The tragedy is compounded by the perpetrators' claim to be acting in God's name"

Archbishop Dolan’s office released this letter from Pope Benedict today: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! On this day my thoughts turn to the somber events of September 11, 2001, when so many innocent lives were lost in the brutal assault on the twin towers of the [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words, teddy bear edition

Behold, the “Pope Benedict XVI Teddy bear” in a show room of the Hermann-Spielwaren GmbH, a manufacturer of fine German Teddy bears, in Coburg, yesterday. The special edition on the occasion of the second visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Gemany comes with growler and is limited to only 111 pieces worldwide. Read more. (AP [Read More...]

Ten years later

Patheos is publishing a number of essays to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Mine begins on the morning after: On the morning of September 12, 2001, I awoke to the sound of sirens. My first thought, in bleary half-sleep:“Where am I?” And then I knew. I looked around at the pale walls of a [Read More...]

Remembering 9/11: the final moments of Fr. Mychal Judge

From the documentary “9/11.” I’d forgotten that this was online.  The documentary shows the last minutes in the life of Fr. Judge — moments, clearly, spent in prayer.   H/T to The Anchoress for reminding us about this. [Read more...]

On clergy being excluded from Ground Zero: "New York is the epicenter of secularism"

The simmering dispute over clergy being omitted from Sunday’s ceremonies at Ground Zero has finally landed on the pages of the New York Times, which provides some interesting comment and context: The second Sunday after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, New York clergy members of many faiths joined elected officials at Yankee Stadium in a [Read More...]

"Forgiving is an act of love"

A longtime FOB (Friend of the Bench) and FOD (Friend of Deacons) has just published a very good book on one of the most challenging aspects of the Christian life: forgiveness. Fr. R. Scott Hurd, from the Archdiocese of Washington, serves as the executive director of the archdiocese’s Office of the Permanent Diaconate.  (The Father [Read More...]

"Life is super short"

The Anchoress has accused me of “blubbering” over stuff like this.  Wrong.  I never blubber.  I sniffle. But now she’s gone and posted the video below, which may be one of the most potent and unexpected pro-life (and pro-living) testaments you’ll see on television. And I have to admit: I’m blubbering. Just watch. [Read more...]

Remembering 9/11: US bishops call for "remembrance, resolve, renewal"

The USCCB President Timothy Dolan released the following statement late Thursday, in advance of this weekend’s commemoration: “As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, it is a time for remembrance, resolve and renewal. We reverently recall those who were most directly affected [Read More...]

Mel Gibon's next movie?

I find this hard to believe.  But two high- profile Catholics with troubled pasts — Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas — are reportedly teaming up on a biblical epic. Details: Warner Bros has set up an untitled drama that teams Gibson and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas on the telling of the heroic story of Jewish warrior Judah [Read More...]

Quote of the day: "God is with us!"

“In the unfolding of Scripture, Mary’s birthday is ultimately about the birth of her son. The Gospel for today is the story of how Jesus was conceived. And we honor Mary precisely because she gave birth to Jesus, our messiah and Lord. The Gospel focuses on Joseph’s goodness and fidelity, and on Mary’s perfect surrender [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words

Spotted on the E train tonight: an ad for a storage company. [Read more...]

Remembering 9/11: "Love is more powerful than hate"

Over at CNEWA’s blog ONE-TO-ONE, Fr. Elias Mallon, our Education & Interreligious Affairs Officer, has just posted his own personal reflections about 9/11 — with some thoughts, in particular, about this Sunday’s Mass readings: One of the most difficult aspects in Christianity — and also one its foremost characteristics — is the challenge of Jesus [Read More...]

"Faithful Citizenship"? What's that?

With another presidential election year looming, a new poll suggests most Catholics are unaware that America’s bishops have published guidelines for voting — and those who do know about it, don’t care: Every four years, the Catholic bishops of the United States publish a detailed statement about how Catholics should think about key political issues [Read More...]

Study: grieving parents more likely to die early

Can you really die of a broken heart?  Parents who lose a baby before its first birthday are more likely to die early themselves, according to this report: Researchers at York and Stirling universities said bereaved parents were up to four times more likely to die in the decade following the child’s death. Previous studies [Read More...]

Pro-life voters, take note

During the GOP debate Wednesday evening in California, only one question received applause: it was when NBC’s Brian Williams stated the statistic that Texas Governor Rick Perry had overseen 234 executions. Perry said that he had not lost sleep over any of the executions on his watch. Brian Williams noted the audience’s enthusiastic response to [Read More...]

On Mary's nativity: "Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place…"

“This radiant and manifest coming of God to men most certainly needed a joyful prelude to introduce the great gift of salvation to us. The present festival, the birth of the Mother of God, is the prelude, while the final act is the fore-ordained union of the Word with flesh. Today the Virgin is born, [Read More...]

Remembering 9/11: the seminarian who became a firefighter

From the In My Backyard Desk, some news about a 9/11 hero from the Diocese of Brooklyn.  Chief Joseph W. Pfeifer was featured prominently in the documentary I worked on, “9/11,” (updated and being rebroadcast on CBS this Sunday).  Now, he is looking back on the legacy of that awful day. From CNS: As Chief Joseph [Read More...]


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