Vatican Grants Indulgences for Following the Pope on Twitter—UPDATED

Details:  In an effort to lure the shrinking flock of young Roman Catholics to a more wired religious world, a Vatican court has ruled that following Pope Francis online and on Twitter can earn believers time off from their sentence to purgatory for confessed and forgiven sins. The granting of “indulgences” to those who use the Internet [Read More…]

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Prayers for Thomas Peters—UPDATED

The young blogger (and son of longtime Bench friend, canon lawyer Ed Peters) was seriously injured in a swimming accident. Catholic Vote notes: The entire team here at CatholicVote asks that you to pray for our dear friend, Thomas Peters. Thomas was involved in an accident yesterday evening and has sustained major injuries. He is [Read More…]

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Report: More Hispanic Women Converting to Islam

Details:  For Zainab Ismail, a Bronx-born Hispanic woman, the turning point came in March 2009 after a wedding ceremony at a Catholic church. “For some unknown reason, obviously now I know it was Allah–God–putting that thought and feeling in my heart, I no longer wanted to be Catholic. I didn’t know what I wanted to be but [Read More…]

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Former Anglican Priest Installed as Catholic Bishop in England

From the BBC:  The new Roman Catholic Bishop for the diocese of East Anglia, who previously served as a Church of England priest, has been installed. The Right Reverend Alan Hopes, 69, was welcomed at the West Door of the Catholic cathedral in Norwich before the two-hour Mass of Installation. Bishop Alan will lead Roman [Read More…]

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Pope’s Message for Day of Life: “The Glory of God is Seen in a Living Human Being”

From the Vatican news site:  Pope Francis sends message of support for human life to Catholics in Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales. Below is a communique from the Bishops ‘Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) attached with the Pope’s message signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. In a special message to Catholics [Read More…]

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Catechists Announced for World Youth Day—Including a Bishop from Brooklyn

To the surprise of no one east of the Hudson, it’s Auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano (whom I first knew as plain old “Father Frank” a decade or so ago, when he was the director of my diocese’s diaconate program and I was a wide-eyed aspirant.) Details:  During World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, more [Read More…]

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Catholic Nun Gang Raped in India: “This Wasn’t a Random Act of Barbarism”

Details: “I condemn this gang rape of this young nun in the strongest possible terms.  This is gang rape is physical and emotional terrorism against our woman” Card. Oswald Gracias, president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) tells AsiaNews reacting to the attack on a nun in Orissa. The religious of the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph, [Read More…]

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Bear Necessities: A Great Moment in Journalism

What can you do if you spot a bear this summer?  Here’s everything you need to know, from a local TV station in Rhode Island. The last 30 seconds of this report are, trust me, priceless. You’re welcome. [Read more…]

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“It’s Been a Real Joy”: Popular Baltimore Deacon Retires

From the Catholic Review in Baltimore: Deacon Charles H. Hiebler spent his college years in seminary – first at St. Charles College Seminary in Catonsville, then at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg. He decided to leave after his first year of theology. “For me personally, I felt I could do more for people without [Read More…]

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God Bless Brooklyn…

…where we still do stuff like this. It’s Giglio time again! For the uninitiated: In Italian Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the residents of the community look forward to the annual Giglio  Feast held every July.  Since 1903, when the Nolani  immigrants  first held their transplanted feast in this Brooklyn neighborhood, this festa has attempted to maintain many [Read More…]

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A Jesuit Says Goodbye

Here’s something you don’t see every day: in a letter, a priest nearing his 80th birthday explains his decision to leave both the priesthood and the Jesuit order after nearly half a century. Details:  In a lengthy, moving letter to friends and colleagues, veteran Jesuit priest Bert Thelen explains his reasons for leaving the order [Read More…]

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Ordination Update: 14 New Deacons for Davenport

One of the newly ordained dropped me a note about this today. It happened on Saturday. The Catholic Messenger had some details last week: Twelve men will be ordained to the permanent diaconate and two men to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Davenport during Mass July 13 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Permanent deacons [Read More…]

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Meet Harvey and Eddie

If they’re looking for a third musketeer, I think I’d fit right in. [Read more…]

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“Let Us Dedicate Ourselves…to Make Gentle the Life of This World”

Sunday morning in the rectory kitchen, we scanned the headlines. Someone asked me what I thought of the Zimmerman story.  “There are no winners,” I said.  “It’s awful for everyone.” I really have nothing else to say about this story that hasn’t already been said by people a lot smarter than I. But reading and [Read More…]

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Hindus Angered Over Depiction of Virgin Mary in Sari

Details:  The issue of Christian missionaries proselytizing in India has taken a bizarre turn after a church in the eastern state of Jharkhand installed a statue of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus depicted as “tribals,” the indigenous people of the state. With dark brown complexions and sporting traditional Indian tribal clothing (white sari with red [Read More…]

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Pope Francis, Early Riser

From Vatican Insider: Francis’ alarm clock goes off at 4:45 every morning in room 201 in St. Martha’s House, when everything is still pitch black. Such an early start to the day means Francis has to have a siesta after lunch. Juan Perón called this time of rest an “almost liturgical must” which made it [Read More…]

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The Salesian Who Baptized Jorge Bergoglio

A fascinating detail from his early life: The Italian daily Il Cittadino has unearthed the story of Father Enrico Pozzoli, a Salesian missionary from the province of Lodi who baptized young Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is today Pope Francis. The newspaper published an account of various episodes in the life of Bergoglio, including his baptism, [Read More…]

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Is Pope Francis the Catholic Princess Diana?

That’s the provocative question at the heart of this piece over at CNN’s Belief blog:  There are obvious differences between a Catholic pontiff and a princess. But watching Francis’ first few months in office, it’s hard not to notice that he seems to have taken a page from the late Princess Diana’s playbook. The Princess [Read More…]

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