How come more people don’t go to church?

It may not be the reason you think. Details:  The Rev. Stephen Fichter understood just how dominant a role sports has assumed in the culture when a family told him they would be out of town Good Friday to Easter Sunday to attend their child’s volleyball tournament. “It’s truly sports that has become like the [Read More…]

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Meet the pope’s sister

NCR’s John Allen has arrived in Argentina, and wasted no time tracking down the most important interview subject in the country: the pope’s sister. A snip:  Though there aren’t yet hard numbers to back it up, it’s a good bet that the single most interviewed human being on the planet since March 13, 2013, has [Read More…]

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Historic: First U.S. teen with Down syndrome reaches Mt. Everest base camp

Awesome:  A courageous young man from Oregon made history with the first recorded account of an American teenager with Down syndrome to reach a base camp of Mt. Everest. After nearly two weeks of walking, 15-year old Eli Reimer reached 17,600 feet. Eli’s father, Justin, joined his son for the ascent in an effort to raise funds [Read More…]

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Judge rules that deacon’s company will not have to provide contraception coverage

Details:  Greg Hall is safe from government fines – for now. The Catholic deacon who owns American Manufacturing Company in St. Joseph has received a preliminary injunction protecting him from provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The injunction was issued Tuesday in the 8th Circuit of the federal district courts by U.S. District Court Judge [Read More…]

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“I always ask God to grant me a meek heart…”

Carol Glatz at CNS has unearthed some fascinating tidbits about the new pontiff, culled from a book of interviews published in Argentina three years ago. (It’s not yet available in English.) To wit: — Favorite dance style: tango, which he said he loves “very much. It’s something that comes from within.” He said he danced [Read More…]

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“Women have a special role in opening doors to the Lord”: Pope Francis speaks on women in the Church

Text from the Vatican:  Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women [Read More…]

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North Carolina may declare an official state religion under new bill

Details:  Republican North Carolina state legislators have proposed allowing an official state religion in a measure that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state “is sovereign” and courts cannot block a state “from making [Read More…]

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Praying for Syria in Brooklyn

Further proof that God never ceases to surprise us. Tonight, I found myself continually surprised—and moved, uplifted and inspired at an interfaith prayer service for Syria and the Middle East at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral in Brooklyn.   There, clergy and laity representing Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, prayed a variation of [Read More…]

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Leap of faith: Russia’s parachuting priests!

Now for something completely different, from CNEWA’s blog One-to-One:  The Russian military unveiled an unlikely new weapon in its arsenal this month — an army of parachuting priests. The unit of chaplains, who have joined the Russian Airborne Force to train in parachute jumping and vehicle assembly, will operate out of flatpack churches that can [Read More…]

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Why doesn’t the pope sing? Here’s an answer.

From CNS:  Previously, [Vatican spokesman] Father [Federico] Lombardi dispelled rumors that the 76-year-old pope’s singing capacity or current state of health was impaired by an operation he had when he was 21 in which the upper half of his right lung was removed after cysts caused a severe lung infection. More recently, Father Lombardi said [Read More…]

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Great moments in journalism: for Easter, the NY Times lays an egg

I was otherwise engaged on Sunday, and didn’t check out the NY Times.  But other sharp-eyed readers caught this doozy:  Elisabetta Povoledo is a Rome-based reporter for the paper’s international edition, but either she or her copy editor made a mortifying mischaracterization of the meaning of Easter in an online story on Pope Francis posted [Read More…]

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A papal first: Pope Francis tours area near St. Peter’s tomb

Details:  Pope Francis became the first pope to tour the excavated necropolis where St. Peter is buried, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. With explanations from the two directors of the necropolis, the pope walked down the central path between the mostly second-century burial chambers April 1, then went up a slight incline toward [Read More…]

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Vatican on World Autism Day: “Recognize the Risen Christ every time that he makes himself our neighbor”

From EWTN: “The Council wishes to share with people who suffer because of autism, the hope and certainty that adherence to Love enables us to recognize the Risen Christ every time that he makes himself our neighbor on the journey of life,” said the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, Archbishop Zygmunt [Read More…]

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“The Ordinariate has finally arrived”

So says Britain’s Damien Thompson, who blogs:  There’s plenty of scepticism about the Ordinariate – especially since the careful circulation of a quote attributed to former Cardinal Bergoglio saying he didn’t see the need for it. Well, we shall see. Pope Francis – who would never have encountered Anglicans in the Catholic tradition in Latin [Read More…]

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Oldest priest in Scranton dies on Good Friday at 99

Details:  The Diocese of Scranton’s oldest and longest-ordained priest, Monsignor James T. Clarke, died on Good Friday at age 99. Monsignor Clarke was ministering to others even on his deathbed, said the Rev. Thomas Muldowney, the vicar general/director of clergy personnel of the diocese. With his health failing, Monsignor Clarke was admitted Wednesday to Wilkes-Barre [Read More…]

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After Ezra: a must-read story about how a Hindu and Baptist joined the Church at Easter

Honestly, my headline doesn’t do justice to this piece.  Just drop everything and take the time to read this. I can’t remember the last time a secular publication (in this case, the Des Moines Register) offered such a beautiful and inspiring story of Catholicism, told with a tone that is not only respectful, but actually [Read More…]

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Jimmy Kimmel, Catholic

And he’s planning a wedding for this summer: Jimmy Kimmel will marry his fiancée, Molly McNearney, in the first week of July, Page Six can reveal. The talk-show host, who proposed to his longtime girlfriend last August, has sent out save-the-date cards for the ceremony, which we are told will be on the weekend after July 4. [Read More…]

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Who will be Francis’ #2?

That’s the question on the lips of a lot of Vatican-watchers, including Francis X. Rocca at Catholic News Service:  As he moves beyond words and gestures to the stage of substantive actions, no decision that Pope Francis makes will be of greater consequence for reform of the church’s bureaucracy than his choice of a secretary [Read More…]

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