Dolan: “Highly possible” next pope will not be from Europe

From the New York Times:  CardinalTimothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, said on Tuesday that he believed it was “highly possible” that the next pope could come from a non-European country. “When I was growing up, it was presumed the pope would be an Italian,” Cardinal Dolan said, discussing next month’s [Read More…]

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Pope Benedict’s farewell to be broadcast live

Details, from Zenit:  On the last day of his pontificate, Benedict XVI will be filmed live by television cameras during his final hours in the Vatican, according to Monsignor Edoardo María Viganó, director of the Vatican Television Center (VTC), who explained that the Pontiff’s departure to Castel Gandolfo by helicopter “will be a historic moment.” [Read More…]

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Was I shaking the hand of the next pope?

Hey, you never know. I wrote about it here.    With all the O’Malley buzz being generated, Elizabeth Scalia has a great take on Pope Sean…or maybe, Pope Patrick:  For those of us who claim a connection to the auld sod, that would be a pondering just too Irish-delightful for words: In the Year of [Read More…]

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Benedict’s legacy: here come more Episcopalians

Just got this e-mail about some big news in Maryland: Following several months of prayerful discernment, the majority of members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Catonsville, Maryland, have decided to enter the Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Two other churches in the Baltimore area, Christ the [Read More…]

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Woman who helped develop NFP dies

Details, from CNS:  Dr. Evelyn Billings, who with her husband, John, pioneered research that led them to develop a form of natural family planning supported by the Catholic church, died Saturday after a short illness. She was 95. The Australian pediatrician joined her physician-husband’s team in 1965 as he was researching a more reliable method [Read More…]

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Report: the man in white will stay that way

A report this morning, quoting his brother, indicates that the Holy Father will continue to wear his signature white cassock after he’s retired.  (If you’re wondering why the pontiff wears white, Rocco had a good explanation a few years back: it is in honor of Pius V, who died in 1572.  Writes Rocco: “As a [Read More…]

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Great moments in liturgy: the priest who has Superman on his vestments

Details:  Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No … it’s SuperPriest! Catholic padre Humberto Alvarez of Saltillo, Mexico, is getting plenty of online love because of these images showing him wearing robes covered in superhero images when he celebrates children’s Mass. Not many members of the clergy would sport pictures of Superman, Batman [Read More…]

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Historic: photographer Steve McCurry shoots the last roll of Kodachrome film ever produced

I suspect there’s a good homily buried in here somewhere. But check this out: photographer Steve McCurry’s online album of images from the last roll of Kodachrome.  (cue the Paul Simon music!) Below is an intriguing video account of his journey.  How would he decide what shots to take, with only 36 images to choose [Read More…]

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VIDEO: The people and places of the conclave

Robert Duncan over at CNS in Rome has put together this lovely meditative video, featuring some of the people and places that we’ll be hearing much about in the weeks to come. Consider this a preview of Coming Attractions, if you will—and, quite possibly, a peek at the next pope. Check it out below. [Read more…]

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Cardinal Roger Mahony, Suffering Servant

Seriously? Mark Shea drew my attention to the cardinal’s blog post yesterday, in which the archbishop of Los Angeles continues his Lenten meditation on, well, himself. From the cardinal’s blog:  The poem of the Suffering Servant is important for all of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ since we are called to imitate his words, [Read More…]

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A hearty “Welcome” to another piece of furniture!

The Bench is pleased to welcome The Couch—and Greg the Deacon welcomes Greg the Doctor, too! I invite you to pay a visit to Patheos’ newest blog, “Faith on the Couch,” presided over by the esteemed Dr. Greg Popcak.  The good doctor has some wisdom on psychology, culled from his years of experience, and all [Read More…]

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So just how do they pick a pope?

Wondering just what goes on inside the Sistine Chapel?  Where do the cardinals stay?  How is the vote carried out?  There’s an excellent interactive graphic at Vatican Insider that explains it, with some fascinating nuggets of history, to boot. Try it out and see.    [Read more…]

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O’Malley rising?

John Allen this morning has some buzz surrounding the cardinal archbishop of Boston: While the U.S. media has focused on Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York as the most plausible, if still remote, American prospect, another name has generated a surprising degree of buzz in the Italian press: Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, partly on [Read More…]

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Gomez and Mahony, a study in contrasts—UPDATED

With both men making headlines recently, the Los Angeles Times takes a closer look at their distinctive styles: In more than two decades leading the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Cardinal Roger Mahony headlined immigration rallies, marched for worker rights and made national news by announcing he would defy a congressional bill he regarded as anti-immigrant. But [Read More…]

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Pope Benedict, pensioner

He’ll have a little spending money, it seems.  Details:  Pope Benedict XVI does not, officially, have an income. The head of the Catholic Church doesn’t really get paid, the Vatican has said repeatedly in response to inquiries from the press over the years; he has his every need provided for by the Holy see. But we know what [Read More…]

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“‘The church is alive,’ he said, and he set out to keep it that way…”

A comprehensive and interesting roundup of reaction to Benedict’s resignation, from the terrific Ann Rogers in Pittsburgh: Pope Benedict XVI, the German pope who some feared would spend his pontificate scourging liberal Roman Catholics, focused on preaching about God’s love. “His greatest legacy is his spiritual hunger and thirst to bring people closer to God,” [Read More…]

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New Ohio church uses glass salvaged from other churches

From the Columbus Dispatch:  When planners asked St. Paul the Apostle parishioners what they wanted in a new church, their preference was clear: a return to the traditional. The Romanesque-style Catholic church in Westerville, with its arches and columns, cross-shaped floor plan and Jerusalem stone throughout, filled the bill. The church received some help achieving [Read More…]

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Report: Benedict may be blind in one eye

From the Los Angeles Times, more details are emerging about Pope Benedict’s health: Peter Seewald, a German journalist who has interviewed Benedict on numerous occasions, said that when he last saw the pope 10 weeks ago, his hearing had deteriorated and he appeared to have gone blind in his left eye. “His body had become [Read More…]

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