The “alternate universe” of Wisconsin’s Holy Wisdom Monastery

This group of disaffected Catholics got a big spread in the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday: Alice Jenson’s faith took an irreversible turn six years ago. It was Nov. 5, 2006, and she was contributing to Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Madison as a lay person, reading Bible passages from the lectern. The [Read More...]

Maryland priest denies communion to lesbian at funeral — UPDATED

Details: It’s been an extremely difficult week for Barbara Johnson — perhaps the most difficult week of her life. It all started on Saturday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, where friends and family had gathered to say goodbye to Barbara’s mother, who died last week after a brief illness. Just a few [Read More...]

“How can we deacons best serve the common good of all peoples?”

“I have the sense that we Catholics, this Lent, have some serious soul-searching to do during this period of Purification and Enlightenment (as we refer to it in the RCIA).  Anyone who has followed the blogosphere or any number of media outlets covering the latest scandals, the latest lawsuits, the latest public debates on religious [Read More...]

Another cardinal launches a blog

It’s Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who this week introduces his contribution to the blogosphere, “Seek First the Kingdom”: While I have enjoyed for many years writing articles and even doing a weekly television program, this is my first venture into the world of blogs. What I would like to do in this blog is to talk [Read More...]

And the winner for Best Song…

…is right here: this hilarious tribute to self-awareness, “Am I A Man or A Muppet?” from “The Muppets.” If Mother Dolores Hart didn’t have her moment on the Oscar stage, I’m glad that the Muppets did.  And I was cheered to hear the composer thank the late, great Jim Henson.   [Read more...]

Mother Dolores at the Oscars: “This is very different than being in the monastery…”

Hollywood’s most famous nun since Julie Andrews returned to her old stomping grounds last night: It wasn’t hard to spot Elvis Presley’s old co-star on the Oscars red carpet. She was the one wearing the nun’s habit. Mother Dolores Hart, who left Hollywood 49 years ago to pursue a religious life, made a dramatic return [Read More...]

New call for divorced and remarried Catholics to be able to receive communion

It’s something the pope himself has said needs a closer look.  And now a leading theologian is adding his voice to those calling for “re-evaluation.”  Details: At the seminar in Salzburg by Austrian Catholic Action, the German theologian Eberhard Schockenhoff, a professor of moral theology at the University of Freiburg, has launched an appeal for [Read More...]

Dolan: “I asked Jesus to help me fight the same temptations he did”

The new cardinal of New York gave a stemwinder of a homily Saturday night — repurposing some material from the homily we’d heard on Thursday — and it’s just too good not to share.  Looking for something to kickstart your Lent?  Take 20 minutes and watch one of the greatest preachers in the American church.   [Read More...]

Santorum on Kennedy speech: “That makes me throw up”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country. This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free [Read More...]

How’s this for a Lenten fast: nothing but beer and water

Yep. J. Wilson did exactly that last year, and reflects on what the experience taught him: About this time last year, I set off down a path that hadn’t been traveled for centuries. I fasted on beer and water for the duration of Lent. While that sounds like a frat boy stunt, my “Diary of [Read More...]

Sainthood cause to begin for Boys Town founder Father Flanagan

The Archdiocese of Omaha will start the ball rolling next month to have Father Edward J. Flanagan declared a saint. Details: Flanagan dedicated much of his life to ministering to orphans and troubled youth, and is best remembered for establishing in 1917 the Omaha orphanage Father Flanagan’s Boys Home. The archdiocese will formally open the [Read More...]

Don’t give up your iPhone: here are some apps for Lent

Need a little help this Lent?  Look no further than your smartphone: We’re a few days into the Lent 2012 season and what a better way to have an excuse tonot give up your iPhone and iPad than collecting a few apps that help, encourage, motivate, and inspire you to give up something else during [Read More...]

Who’s that nun at the Academy Awards?

Anyone asking that question clearly doesn’t know about Dolores Hart — Hollywood starlet who left the movies to become a cloistered Benedictine nun in the early 1960s.  Now her story has been made into an acclaimed documentary called “God Is Bigger Than Elvis,” which is up for an Oscar.  And Dolores Hart — now known [Read More...]

Seeing red

In tribute to New York’s new Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the city’s other new landmark — the soon-to-be-finished One World Trade Center — is wearing red.  (Take that, Empire State Building…)  A tip of the red biretta to Rocco for the snapshot.  Read more about it here. [Read more...]

Homily for February 26, 2012: 1st Sunday of Lent

[Click here for readings.] Last week, my wife and I went to see one of the movies that’s up for an Oscar this weekend: “The Artist.”  It’s a terrific movie, and something altogether different: a silent black-and-white film about the end of the silent movie era.  It focuses on a fabulously successful movie star of [Read More...]

Cardinal reportedly ordered list of abusive priests destroyed

The latest bombshell from Philadelphia: A Philadelphia archdiocese official on trial for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of children has asked a court to throw out charges against him based on a 1994 memo showing Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ordered a list of suspected abusive Catholic priests to be destroyed. Attorneys for Monsignor William Lynn [Read More...]

When was the last time you heard a homily like this? — UPDATED

It’s passionate.  It’s political.  And it’s angry. I’m curious to hear what people think. Give a listen. UPDATE: For another perspective, it’s instructive to read Blessed John Paul’s 1993 statement “Priests Do Not Have A Political Mission,” which notes: The presbyter’s right to express his own personal choices is limited by the requirements of his [Read More...]

Now playing: holy medals at the movies

From the In My Backyard Desk — and this really is in my backyard, just four blocks from my apartment and three blocks from my church — comes this story about a local movie theater mixing holiness with Hollywood: Among the Pikachu and Spider-Man charms that roll out of vending machines at the Midway Theater [Read More...]


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