Most Americans say they believe in miracles

Details: A new study finds that the number of Americans who definitely believe in religious miracles increased 22 percent in the past two decades, with 55 percent now certain of this supernatural phenomenon. Overall, some four in five Americans believe miracles definitely or probably occur, researcher Robert Martin of Pennsylvania State University reported at the [Read More…]

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“When October goes…”

While we wait for the storm here at The Bench, a little seasonal music — to my mind, the best thing Barry Manilow ever wrote, to accompany a gorgeously melancholy lyric by the late Johnny Mercer. Here’s Rosemary Clooney, with the Glenn Miller orchestra, performing “When October Goes” in 1988. [Read more…]

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Canadian priest’s unorthodox evangelization drawing people to the pews

Details, from the Catholic Register: A financial analyst turned priest, Fr. Mario Salvadori is marketing an unorthodox and unapologetic formula of evangelization — and youth are flocking to it. Salvadori, the only priest at Thornhill’s St. Joseph the Worker parish, jokes that he has “more degrees than a thermometer.” He has a bachelor’s degree in [Read More…]

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The coming storm didn’t worry me until I saw this

Tape on the windows in the lobby of our building. From James Martin, S.J. at America: God of the Universe, at the dawn of creation, your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. You created the oceans and rivers, and all that dwell within them, and at your word the [Read More…]

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Horror: suicide bomber strikes at Catholic church in Nigeria

Details: A suicide bomber drove a jeep full of explosives into a Catholic church during morning mass in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least eight people, wounding more than 100 and triggering reprisal attacks that killed at least two more. There was no claim of responsibility but Islamist sect Boko Haram has bombed several [Read More…]

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How one newspaper decided to endorse Romney

It raised some eyebrows when the Des Moines Register announced its endorsement for president this weekend and for the first time in 40 years picked a Republican.  What got less attention, however, is an accompanying story in the paper, which I found especially interesting and useful.  In a remarkable act of transparency, the paper’s editors [Read More…]

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“All people have a right to know Jesus Christ and his Gospel…”

From the Holy Father’s homily today, marking the close of the Synod on the New Evangelization: The new evangelization applies to the whole of the Church’s life. It applies, in the first instance, to the ordinary pastoral ministry that must be more animated by the fire of the Spirit, so as to inflame the hearts [Read More…]

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Just when you thought ads couldn’t get more offensive…

…along comes this one, promoting a bar in New Zealand. [Read more…]

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Patheos peeps!

Blogging has been light the last couple days, but not because I’m battening down the hatches for Stormageddon or Frankenstorm or whatever they’re calling this year’s meteorological catastrophe (though drawing the curtains and breaking out the rosary might be a good idea).  No.  I’ve been away from the keyboard because I took part in a [Read More…]

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Scaring the sin out of you: the Christian “haunted house” industry

Huffington Post takes a peek inside the Halloween phenomenon and introduces readers to the man behind it. Keenan Roberts didn’t invent the idea of scaring Christian youth into salvation, but he has done more than anyone else to turn it into an industry. For $299—and with the Denver-based pastor’s approval—you can build your own “Hell [Read More…]

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Deacon and future deacon

Well, look who I ran into at the conference of Catholic Social Scientists this weekend: the National Catholic Register’s ace film critic Steven Greydanus, who is also in the first year of his formation for the diaconate in the Archdiocese of Newark. He promised to invite me to his ordination. [Read more…]

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You’ve got to hear this

A group of cloistered nuns has recorded an album of chant, and and the preview (see the video below) is just gorgeous. From the press release: They are young. They are hidden. They are extremely musical. And now they have a worldwide album distribution deal. But they don’t set foot beyond Northwest Missouri’s rolling farmland. [Read More…]

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“There is no room for pessimism…”

The Synod of Bishops released its final message today.  Catholic News Service has a write-up.  Below is a snip.  Full text can be found here. Our world is full of contradictions and challenges, but it remains God’s creation. The world is wounded by evil, but God loves it still. It is his field in which [Read More…]

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A deacon who grows pumpkins? I’m sold

Kudos to that great deacon’s wife, Kathy Schiffer, for finding and posting this gem: “I carve prayers in the pumpkins when they’re small,” says Sharon Trabbic, “and as they grow, the prayers grow as well.” Deacon Ken Trabbic and his wife Sharon are the owners/operators of the Trabbic Family Farm, where they produce over 20 [Read More…]

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Great moments in democracy: an ad that says voting is like losing your virginity…to Barack Obama

Remember when the most shocking political ad of all time was a little girl picking daisies?  This may trump that. And this is supposed to appeal to young, undecided women?  Really?  Really. [Read more…]

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Kansas City’s first deacons, one year later

An interesting look at how the men, and the diocese, are adjusting, from The Leaven newspaper: The first cadre of the archdiocese’s permanent deacons has found ministry to be pretty much what they expected — with an occasional curveball. “There have been no big surprises,” said Deacon Jim Lavin, assigned to Holy Spirit Parish in [Read More…]

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Chaput: “We’re Catholics before we’re Americans”

Details:  Church teaching against abortion “requires absolute adherence” on the part of Catholic voters, who must “stand united” in opposition to the practice regardless of party affiliation, said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia. “(Abortion) really is a big issue today, and I think what it requires of Catholics is a loyalty to the church [Read More…]

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VIDEO: Seminarians rock on!

This may be the ultimate boy band: a group of seminarians from Joliet, Illinois performing at a vocations event earlier this year. This is New Evangelization like you probably haven’t seen it before.  Enjoy. [Read more…]

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