A descendant of Muhammad calls for an end to violence in the name of religion

Remarkable and noteworthy: In a region and world of increasing polarization and intolerance, Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal has for decades been a beacon of tolerance and understanding in the Middle East. As founder and chair of the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies and Co-founder and chair of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural [Read More...]

Confirmed: Francis to Philly in ’15

From CNS:  Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Pope Francis has accepted his invitation to attend the World Meeting of Families in the U.S. next year.Archbishop Chaput made the announcement July 24 before giving his homily during the opening Mass of the Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo. “Pope Francis has told me that he is coming,” [Read More...]

Camden bishop authorizes deacons to wear the collar

Details:  Bishop Dennis Sullivan, in consultation with the Presbyteral Council and Deacon Council, has instituted a change in the Diocese of Camden’s practice concerning clerical attire for permanent deacons. Effective Aug. 1, clerical attire consisting of a grey clergy shirt with white collar may now be worn by the 136 permanent deacons in the diocese [Read More...]

RIP, Fr. Pat Malone: “Nothing seems to stop the force of compassion”

I read today of the death of Fr. Pat Malone, S.J.—a man my own age, lost to leukemia. His obituary tells of a life well-lived, one that touched so many, especially workers at Ground Zero in the weeks after 9/11. He maintained a blog. Shortly after Easter, probably knowing that his life was drawing to [Read More...]

Holy Land finds itself empty of tourists, as fighting escalates

From Bloomberg News:  Omer Benjoya took a job this summer selling drinks, snacks and postcards on a hill that offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of Jerusalem. Now all the 17-year-old needs are customers. Since hostilities flared this month between Israel’s army and Palestinian militants in Gaza, tourists have been scarce. U.S. aviation [Read More...]

Arizona execution: As Joseph Wood died, a deacon prayed

The accounts of yesterday’s botched execution are horrifying. But a deacon was with him as he died: A convicted double murderer snorted and gasped some 600 times as it took him almost two hours to die during a botched Arizona execution Wednesday. An attorney for Joseph Wood filed an emergency stay of execution about 70 [Read More...]

Picture of the Day: Meriam Ibrahim meets Pope Francis

Frank Weathers has the scoop. Details from CNS:  Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told journalists that the encounter in the pope’s residence was marked by “affection” and “great serenity and joy.” They had “a beautiful conversation,” during which the pope thanked Ibrahim for “her steadfast witness of faith,” the priest said. Ibrahim thanked the [Read More...]

At last: NY Times editorial condemns attacks on Christians in Iraq

From today’s paper:  The Sunni extremists who control large swaths of Iraq recently presented Christians in Mosul with an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or die by the sword. The militants gave them until July 19 to comply, and by the deadline hundreds of the city’s remaining Christian families had fled from this [Read More...]

U.S. religious leaders embrace cause of immigrant children

From The New York Times:  After protesters shouting “Go home” turned back busloads of immigrant mothers and children in Murrieta, Calif., a furious Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, sat down at his notepad and drafted a blog post detailing his shame at the episode, writing, “It was un-American; it was unbiblical; [Read More...]

“We have to ask the world: ‘Why are you silent?’”

From Vatican Radio:  “Where is the respect for the rights of Christians?” the Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni asks Vatican Radio. “We have to ask the world: Why are you silent? Why do not you speak out? Do human rights exist, or not? And if they exist, where are they?  There are many, many cases [Read More...]

Having trouble staying awake at Mass?

Then this post by Cardinal Dolan is for you: “Mass is so boring!” How often have you parents heard that from your kids on Sunday morning?  How often have our teachers and catechists heard it as they prepare our children for Mass?  And, let’s admit it, how often have we said it to ourselves? What [Read More...]

“Religious cleansing” in Iraq—UPDATED

From CNS:  Backed up by death threats and property seizures, the expulsion of the entire Christian community from Mosul is “a crime against humanity,” said an archbishop from Mosul. Chaldean Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona said the Islamic State, which took control of Iraq’s second-largest city in early June, is carrying out “religious cleansing.” “It’s an [Read More...]

Obama administration to revise part of contraception rule

With everything else going on, somehow this news got buried. From The Wall Street Journal: The Obama administration said Tuesday it will revise a compromise arrangement for religiously affiliated universities and charities that object to providing contraception in workers’ health insurance plans, in response to a Supreme Court order earlier this month.A majority of Supreme [Read More...]

Boom: America magazine announces expansion

Having a Jesuit pope has evidently been very good for the venerable weekly.  The announcement yesterday: Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor in chief of America, announced today the appointment of America correspondents in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Beijing. This first round of appointments is the latest move in the most dramatic expansion of America‘s domestic and international coverage in [Read More...]

Throw away your canes and dance!

This is how we should live. This video popped up Facebook over the weekend. Posted by Edgard Eleuterio Daza, it’s titled  Eternamente Joven, which means “Forever young.” Enjoy. I dare you not to smile. [Read more...]

The diakonia of Mary Magdalene

My friend and brother deacon John Gerke, from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, preached the Mass at NDICE this morning, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. The congregation was full of deacons and their wives.  I had a plane to catch and missed the Mass — but John sent me his text. It’s too good not [Read More...]

A hymn for Mary Magdalene?

Someone posted this lovely hymn on Facebook this morning, noting that it was written in the early 20th century from the point of view of Mary Magdalene (whose feast we mark today). I haven’t found any other citation for that, but I suppose it’s a plausible interpretation. Wikipedia just has this: “In the Garden” (sometimes [Read More...]

John Paul II, Gianna Beretta Molla to be patrons for World Meeting of Families

Details:  Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia announced Sunday that St. John Paul II and St. Gianna Beretta Molla will be patron saints of the 2015 World Meeting of Families, being held in his cathedral city. “Saint John Paul II and Saint Gianna have been chosen as the two worthy Patron Saints to guide all in [Read More...]