A basilica grows in Brooklyn

More on a news item I posted last week, on Brooklyn’s third basilica, with reaction from the pastor and parish: Parishioners in Brooklyn are anticipating the elevation of their Regina Pacis Church as a basilica, with the dedication set to take place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. “They’ve been admiring the beauty of [Read More…]

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Organ donors needed: why many Catholic churches don’t have organists

Is organ music in church doomed to disappear?  Details, from Catholic News Service: If music conservatories are producing a bumper crop of organ performance graduates, why can’t the parish down the street get a substitute organist for the 10 a.m. Mass? There’s no single answer, but liturgical musicians who spoke with Catholic News Service attribute [Read More…]

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Yes, somebody actually said that

“It is unthinkable that any sexual act with an animal is punished without proof that the animal has come to any harm.  We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification. We don’t force them to do anything. Animals are much easier to understand than women.” — Michael Kiok, expressing opposition to [Read More…]

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What’s the only vocation that grew in the United States last year?

Three guesses. From Catholic World News:  The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory. During the same period:  the number of priests fell slightly from 40,271 to 40,203 the number of seminarians [Read More…]

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“The Holy Father has no power to change the nature of the ordained priesthood”

A commentary from Francis Phillips in the Catholic Herald:  Friendly commentators on the question of women’s role in the Church but who are not members of the Catholic Church sometimes pity us because (as they see it) we are subject to authoritarian edicts from Rome, devised by elderly celibate men who are determined to suppress [Read More…]

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Amazing: Japanese firm offers parents 3D model of fetus

Details: Expectant parents in Japan who can’t wait to show the world what their baby will look like can now buy a three-dimensional model of the foetus to pass around their friends. The nine-centimetre resin model of the white foetus, encased in a transparent block in the shape of the mother’s body, is fashioned by [Read More…]

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Canadian Catholic schools approve HPV vaccinations

The bishops are opposed, and the move has not been without controversy. From the Calgary Herald:  Trustees with the city’s Catholic school board have overturned a four-year-old ban on offering the HPV vaccine in its schools, a move greeted by doctors and victims of the disease who have fought the prohibition. The decision was made [Read More…]

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This will save you a TON

Or close to it. Behold, what is reputedly the heaviest item that Amazon will ship for free (or, at least, with a $79 membership in Amazon Prime). Details: “It’s really an amazing deal,” says Amazon spokeswoman Pia Arthur, even if the heaviest items sometimes have to be handled by “specialty shippers” instead of UPS or [Read More…]

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10 reasons why men shouldn’t be ordained

I have to admit: this made me laugh.  It comes from Bosco Peters, an Anglican priest and blogger (and Friend of the Bench) in New Zealand.  He says he doesn’t know where the list originated.  (My favorite is #7.) Enjoy. 10. A man’s place is in the army. 9. The pastoral duties of men who [Read More…]

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The first classic Christmas carol of the decade

Featuring CeeLo Green and …the Muppets! It includes a fun remix of the classic “Mah Na Mah Na,” plus a little jingly jive from CeeLo.  Brace yourself for an earworm. [Read more…]

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Survey: one year on, most Americans have accepted new missal

The world did not end, and people actually seem to be just fine with it.  Details: American Catholics have widely accepted the changes in the Roman Catholic Mass to reflect a closer translation of the Latin that was introduced last year, even if these revisions may signal greater centralization in the church, according to a [Read More…]

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Kidnapped aid worker says Catholic faith helped him survive

From the Catholic Herald:  A Catholic aid worker who was kidnapped for three months in Sudan has told The Catholic Herald that his faith kept him going and that he refused to convert to Islam. Patrick Noonan, a 48-year-old former soldier from Bradford, was kidnapped by anti-government rebels in South Darfur on March 6 and [Read More…]

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No “Christmas” tree in Rhode Island—again

Here we go again:  Rhode Island will go ahead with plans to hold a “holiday tree” lighting ceremony in the state capital despite controversy last year over Governor Lincoln Chafee’s decision to avoid using the word “Christmas” in reference the tree. The announcement on Tuesday that the state would hold a tree-lighting ceremony in Providence [Read More…]

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“What am I called to do?” leads one man to being a deacon

A local paper in Mercer Island, Washington looks at one man’s journey to the diaconate: On Oct. 27, Islander and former Starbucks employee, Frank DiGirolamo, recited vows and allegiance to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church beneath the splendor of the soaring Italian Renaissance ceilings of the 105-year-old St. James Cathedral in Seattle. Amid [Read More…]

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Ka-ching: Vatican seeking funds from tourists for restoration project

From the Associated Press:  Not even the Vatican is immune from the economic crisis. For the first time, the Vatican is seeking funds directly from pilgrims, collectors and tourists to pay for the ambitious restoration of the 17th century Bernini colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office, which sells commemorative coins [Read More…]

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Day’s days: her diary reveals a spitfire saint

I’m working my way through Dorothy Day’s diaries, collected in “The Duty of Delight,“ and among all the mundane details of daily life —whom she met, what she prayed, when she ate—the woman being touted for sainthood by New York’s Cardinal Archbishop reveals a distaste, even a disdain, for some clergy. There’s this, for example, [Read More…]

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Apocalypse? Now!

Elizabeth Scalia at First Things offers some beautiful, hope-filled words of wisdom in the wake of the election: We begin, I think, by giving simple thanks to God for the election—without conditions or sly assumptions that we know anything or are somehow colluding with Providence. That sounds counterintuitive, I know, but whenever I think a [Read More…]

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‘Tis the season: atheists stage “alternative” Nativity scene

Details:  Atheists, clearly agitated that Christians purportedly “stole” various holiday traditions from pagans, have come up with a solution: A potentially-offensive “natural nativity scene” that removes baby Jesus and replaces traditional Bible characters with some eyebrow-raising alternatives. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is behind the spectacle, which emerged this week as part of a diorama inside the Wisconsin state capitol. [Read More…]

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