Who is the most influential Christian? You might be surprised

The findings of a new poll show a split, with several prominent people in the running, including the pope and the president.  Take a look: A new Barna Group study illustrates that no single Christian leader captures the attention of the nation’s population. When asked to identify the single most influential Christian leader in the [Read More...]

Cardinal O’Malley on controversial editor: “He has done an extraordinary job…”

The editor who pilots The Pilot — the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Boston — was profiled this weekend in the Boston Globe: He published a column two weeks ago suggesting that homosexuality is caused by the devil. The uproar had barely faded when, a week later, The Pilot enraged priest abuse victims with a [Read More...]

Me and my Kindle Fire

A couple weeks ago, after much hemming and hawing, I took the plunge and pre-ordered the much-ballyhooed Kindle Fire. Last week, it arrived.  Lots of people have been asking me what I think of it.   Here goes. This is my first foray into the world of tablets (aside from the paper kind that I [Read More...]

“They prefer the bunker to the banquet…”

That’s the trenchant phrase Canadian writer Michael Coren uses to characterize some of the Catholics he encounters online — and I know what he means. Snip: There are those who describe themselves as being Catholic, but reject much if not most of what the Church teaches. They have little influence outside of ostensibly Catholic schools [Read More...]

Cardinal Law resigns Rome position

One of the most famous — or infamous — leaders of the American Catholic Church has retired: Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in disgrace as Boston’s archbishop in 2002 after the priest sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States, has retired from his subsequent job as head of a major Roman basilica. The Vatican [Read More...]

Torn: Catholic priest learns he’s a Jewish Holocaust survivor

That’s the compelling premise behind a new documentary shown recently in a New York film festival. Details: Imagine you are a Catholic priest in your 30s. Suddenly, at your mother’s deathbed, your world is turned completely upside-down. This was Polish Father Romuald Waszkinel experience when he learned that his real name is Yaacov (Jacob) Weksler [Read More...]

Was the first Thanksgiving a religious celebration?

Scholars are starting to pick over that question with a large fork and carving knife. Details, from Religious News Service: Despite their reputation as buckle-belted killjoys, the Puritans and Pilgrims knew how to have a good time. They brewed beer, feasted on fowl and enjoyed sex — all in moderation, of course. That’s why some [Read More...]

Behold: five minutes of exquisite humility and grace

I found this deeply moving: a short video about Our Lady of the Stars, a small community of young men in France with Down Syndrome. I was unable to find more about this group online.  Does anyone know more? UPDATE: A couple readers found a link to their website.  Check it out. [Read more...]

“What does an old, celibate, Catholic bishop have to say about marriage?”

If anyone was wondering about that when they attended a recent talk by Bishop R. Walker Nickless in Sioux City, they may have gotten some surprising answers: He provided several examples of his experiences dealing with marriage. “I am one of 10 children. I watched my parents grow in their married love for 57 years,” [Read More...]

“Life’s a happy song”

I just got back from a diaconal retreat in scenic East Flatbush, Brooklyn — the junkyards are lovely this time of year, by the way — and thought I’d share this little day-brightener, while I’m still enjoying a little post-retreat serenity. From “The Muppets” movie, due out this week, the opening number performed by the [Read More...]

Crystal Cathedral: was the Holy Spirit the highest bidder?

Get a load of these intriguing details, courtesy Kathy Schiffer at Seasons of Grace: According to Tim Busch, one member of the Crystal Cathedral’s board told him as the court proceedings drew to an end, “I like the way you guys have handled this, and I’m going to convert to Catholicism.”  Wednesday evening in the [Read More...]

Deacon at work

A parishioner took this and sent it my way: receiving a blessing from retired Brooklyn Bishop Thomas Daily before proclaiming the gospel at our parish’s Founders Day Mass last Sunday, a kickoff to the celebration of our parish centennial. [Read more...]

What it means to be Black and Catholic

A new study breaks ground and adds insight: The African-American community’s relationship with the Christian faith is well known and has been thoroughly documented, but a new study focusing on Black Catholics specifically, challenges common assumptions about one of the Black community’s less popular Christian churches. Overall, the findings show that the U.S.’s estimated three million Black Catholics [Read More...]

Worth a thousand words: here’s hope

From the  National Catholic Youth Conference now underway in Indianapolis.  Photo: from CNS. (See more pics here.) A local TV report: More than 23,000 Catholic youth are converging on Indianapolis for a gathering focused on faith, prayer and community. The National Catholic Youth Conference is a three-day event for high schoolers with workshops and service [Read More...]

Speaking of speaking …

While browsing the interwebs this morning, I stumbled on this bit of advice for public speakers in Forbes.  I think it has some timely applications for those who speak from the ambo. In a nutshell, it offers five important tips: Meet the audience where they are Make a heartfelt human connection Show respect for the [Read More...]

So just what is a “Patheos,” anyway?

Put simply, it’s a newfangled word that describes following the “path” to “theos” — the path to God. That and other intriguing nuggets can be found in this magazine piece that takes a look at how this website got started, and what it aims to do. Snip: [Founder Leo] Brunnick wanted to create a place [Read More...]

Wearing your faith on your back: the Tim Tebow “Jesus” shirt

It’s the latest sensation for some devoted — and devout — football fans: Tim Tebow delivered another miracle for the Broncos on Thursday night – at least that’s what many of the quarterback’s devout fans believe. After doing next to nothing all game, Tebow took his team the length of the field, scoring the winning touchdown [Read More...]

Sold: Catholic diocese buys Crystal Cathedral for $57.5 million

The bidding war is over, and the Diocese of Orange will soon have a new cathedral in one of the most famous worship spaces in America. Details: In the end, 2,000 years of tradition carried the day. An Orange County bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that the Crystal Cathedral, a monument to modernism in faith and [Read More...]


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