“What God means in practice is the act of compassion…”

“We live in a selfish age, obsessed with how we project various versions of ourselves. But you have to tell this story from the point of view that God exists. And what God means in practice is the act of compassion, the struggle of living your life in a moral way. Les Miz is the [Read More…]

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What to say—and not—to someone who is grieving

I found this interesting, and helpful: a brief blog post at Huffington by grief expert Gloria Horsley, on how to help those struggling with grief.  We’ve all been there, and a lot of us find ourselves ministering to those in mourning. What to do: • Show up. – I used to send a card. Now, I [Read More…]

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Dissent of the day: “The permanent diaconate is not a primary vocation…”

Some weeks back, I posted an e-mail that took issue with the vocation of permanent deacon.  I opened up the comments section for discussion.  We got some interesting feedback, including just yesterday, this one: The permanent diaconate is not a primary vocation. The permanent deacon’s vocation is to marriage and fatherhood, and NOT to the [Read More…]

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Israeli government plans to build military base on Mount of Olives

Details:  Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular commentators have condemned plans by the Israeli government to build a military base on the Mount of Olives. The area, which includes the site at which Jesus is believed to have been arrested, has sacred and historical significance in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is also in East Jerusalem, [Read More…]

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National Catholic Reporter endorses women priests—UPDATED

But somehow, this doesn’t surprise me. How much longer until the name becomes the National Christian Reporter? Details:  In an editorial published Monday morning, a prominent Catholic newspaper endorsed the controversial movement to ordain women priests. Calling the priesthood a “gift from God … rooted in baptism,” the National Catholic Reporter says that “barring women from ordination [Read More…]

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On “Les Miserables”: “This is me honoring that this pain lives in the world…”

My blog neighbor Tony Rossi has a terrific posting up today about the new movie of “Les Miserables,” and some fascinating quotes from the stars about the show’s message and meaning, particularly for today: For her role as Fantine, the young mother forced to work as a prostitute in order to earn money to support [Read More…]

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See this and smile: some kind words on a public street

In a culture too willing to snipe, backstab, gossip, bitch, whine, snark and kvetch, it’s nice to hear a good word every now and then or get a  reassuring pat on the back.  The charming experiment below fits the bill. They set up a booth on a street corner and invited people to give and [Read More…]

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AUDIO: “Love Cannot Be Silenced”

Sunday, I posted the story of the nun who has composed a kind of anthem in support of sisters.  Turns out, there is a recording of it available via YouTube, complete with a slideshow. Here it is: [Read more…]

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Vatican introduces new security measures

It’s sounding more and more like what is happening in corporate America: Vatican clergy and employees will be issued with an identity card complete with a microchip-tracking device in sweeping new security measures designed to prevent a repeat of the Vatileaks scandal. Much tighter controls have already been introduced for anyone seeking access or photocopies [Read More…]

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The zinging nun: sister writes anthem against Vatican rebuke—UPDATED

Instead of spotlighting a group like, say, these sisters, (who just knocked “50 Shades of Gray” off the top of the Billboard classical chart), the New York Times has decided to go in another direction in writing about Catholic music this holiday season. The result is below. Details: When Kathy Sherman was in college during [Read More…]

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Why every deacon needs to read the pope’s latest letter

It is all about diakonia. As Rocco described it: Released by surprise at Roman Noon this Saturday, the following is the Vatican’s official English translation of a motu proprio letter of Benedict XVI on the Catholic identity and ecclesial oversight of the church’s charitable efforts. Initially published in Latin by the Holy See, the text is [Read More…]

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West Point chapel hosts first same-sex wedding —UPDATED

Another sign of the times, from Associated Press: Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday. Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, [Read More…]

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Send in the clowns: pope greets circus performers

From AFP: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday held a private audience for several thousand circus artists, urging them to continue offering “healthy entertainment” despite difficulties posed by the craft. “Thanks to the variety of your professions and the originality of your shows, you know how to surprise, elicit wonder and offer opportunities… for healthy entertainment,” [Read More…]

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Homily for December 2, 2012: 1st Sunday of Advent

[Click here for readings.] If you wanted to sum up the meaning of Advent, this beautiful and haunting season of waiting, you could do it with just one question: What are you waiting for? Most people, I suspect, would say, very simply, we’re waiting for Christmas, the birth of Jesus. But the gospel this Sunday [Read More…]

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How about a series on deacon wives?

This should be interesting:  Think The Real Housewives of Atlanta – the men, the fashion, the drama. Now, just add church.  Premiering on Jan. 1, TLC‘s The Sisterhood takes viewers behind the pews and into the lives of some of Atlanta’s “first ladies,” as preacher’s wives are often known in the evangelical community. The view from inside their world, their [Read More…]

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The hills are alive—again: “Sound of Music” redo planned for NBC

And this is a good idea…why??  Huh? From the Hollywood Reporter:  NBC is redoing the classic musical The Sound of Music in a live broadcast, casting Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. To shepherd the live three-hour event, which will air during next year’s holiday season, NBC is re-teaming with Smash producersCraig Zadan and Neil Meron(Chicago, Hairspray), who have also been tapped to [Read More…]

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Former rector of nation’s largest Episcopal church becomes Catholic

From Religion News Service:  The Rev. Larry Gipson was dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1982-94 and rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where his parishioners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, from 1994-2008. Last month, Gipson was accepted as a Catholic into the [Read More…]

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Police apologize for arresting deacon by mistake

Details (and thanks to the great deacon’s wifve, Kathy Schiffer!) from the Des Moines Register: As the Des Moines police officer handcuffed him Monday night, Quan Tong was so nervous that he forgot his adopted language. The officer told him he was being arrested for a revoked license. “Revoked?” Tong recalls saying. “What does ‘revoked’ [Read More…]

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