A new church reality: heightened security

From The New York Times: Armed guards, security patrols and surveillance cameras — at the Potter’s House of Denver, they are just another part of Sunday services, like prayer, psalms and sermons. Much of the security effort is hidden so it does not interfere with worship, but church leaders insist that the military-style protocols are [Read More...]

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Gallup: pope’s favorability rating falls, with conservatives fueling the drop

From Gallup:  Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope. After Pope Francis [Read More...]

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Muslims raise over one hundred thousand dollars to rebuild black churches in the South

From Huffington Post, some news that should get wider circulation:  Three Muslim organizations have raised over $100,000 to rebuild black churches in the South. In the days following the shooting of nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, a string of church fires at black worship centers in the South raised alarm on social [Read More...]

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Bishops: “Culture of life” demands end to death penalty

From CNS:  The Catholic faith tradition “offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment, one grounded in mercy and healing, not punishment for its own sake,” two bishops said in a statement renewing the U.S. Catholic Church’s push to end the death penalty. “ No matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself [Read More...]

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“Flat Francis” does Epcot

The paper pontiff hit a few of the sites in Orlando yesterday, starting out at the Basilica Shrine of Mary Queen of the Universe. Somehow, he found his way to Epcot. He didn’t meet the height restrictions on the rides—which require that you be taller than 11″—but I did sneak him onto Test Track on [Read More...]

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Fr. Robert Barron named auxiliary bishop to Los Angeles

Sensational news in the world of Catholic communications—and, really, for the American church— via Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis on Tuesday named three new auxiliary bishops to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the United States. Among them was Father Robert E. Barron, the Rector of the University of St. Mary and Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. [Read More...]

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Military archdiocese plans to hold first ever “discernment gathering” for possible chaplains

From CNS:  This fall, the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services plans to hold its first discernment gathering for Catholic priests to encourage them to consider becoming military chaplains. The archdiocese regularly holds several retreats a year for young men who are thinking about the priesthood and the chaplaincy, but this will be the first [Read More...]

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Gänswein on Francis: “There is continuity with Benedict XVI”

A fascinating interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein, secretary to both Francis and Benedict, from Zenit:  Q: How do you manage to collaborate with two Popes? It doesn’t seem easy to adapt oneself to two such different personalities … Archbishop Gänswein: They are certainly very different between them: and for me, after a long experience as [Read More...]

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Welcoming “Flat Francis” to Florida

This email landed in my in-box yesterday: Pope Francis is coming to America for the first time in September. Since Catholic Extension has been supporting the Catholic Church in America for 110 years, we want you to help us show him the face of American Catholicism. Take a photo with this cutout of Pope Francis [Read More...]

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More church vandalism reported in Providence

Hot on the heels of the attack on a church pulpit comes this news:  In the capital city of the most Catholic state, parishes were tagged with scrawlings on walkways in front of church buildings. On the steps from the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the words “JESUS IS FALSE GOD” are written on [Read More...]

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Remembering Jan Karski, the Catholic spy who warned about the Holocaust

A new documentary is telling his remarkable and courageous story:  “He’s the only person I ever met whom I considered truly noble,” says noted Holocaust scholar, filmmaker and writer Michael Berenbaum, referring to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who warned Western leaders of the impending genocide of Europe’s Jews during World War II. Speaking [Read More...]

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Who was Stephen?

Over at Christian Crier, at the Patheos Evangelical Channel, writer Jack Wellman has some thoughts that may be of interest to deacons: Stephen’s name is derived from the Greek name “Stéfanos” and means “honor,” “wreath” or “crown” and Stephen may have been the first Christian martyr in the church. Stephen was a deacon in the [Read More...]

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Snapshot: in one diocese, survey reveals majority want divorced, remarried to receive commuion

Details:  A recent survey by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso suggests many Catholics would like to see the church be more flexible on this sacred celebration, stating it is causing people to leave the church… …The findings are part of a 25-question survey by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso at the request of [Read More...]

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More than 200,000 Catholics left the German church in 2014

The massive exodus continues: Germans who are officially enrolled in congregation are subject to a “church tax,” and so disaffected Catholics have an incentive to drop their registration, rather than simply stop attending Mass. The number of Catholics taking that step has increased sharply in recent years. In 2013, 178,805 Catholics formally dropped off the [Read More...]

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Boom: priestly vocations rising in the U.S. What gives??

From Rome Reports:  It’s a call to serve…a vocation to dedicate one’s life to the Church. But the question iswhat influences these seminarians to pursue the priesthood? A recent study in the U.S, shows that at least in the U.S, one of the main factors is the influence of local parish priests.  Check out the [Read More...]

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Stunning: church made entirely of trees

It’s in New Zealand:  Nature can be a spiritual place for many, and in the Christian tradition, references to the environment abound. New Zealand businessman Barry Cox decided to turn his spiritual connection to nature into a literal sanctuary by building an entire church out of trees. Cox lives on a three-acre property on the country’s north island, and got [Read More...]

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Another reason why Caitlyn Jenner is no Arthur Ashe

  View image | gettyimages.com Last month, when it was announced that Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner would receive the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN, I surveyed the remarkable life of Ashe and noted: It has to be said:  bestowing this prize on the likes of Caitlyn Jenner—whose life is now a clanging carnival [Read More...]

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Padre Pio’s remains to be displayed in Rome

From Rome Reports:  The remains of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina,  commonly known as the Padre Pio, will be exhibited in St. Peter’s Basilica from February 8th to 14th, 2016 to mark the Holy Year of Mercy. It was announced on the website of the Convent Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. According to the post, the Pope [Read More...]

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