From horror to hope: Gabby Giffords’ long journey back

Did you see the special edition of “20/20″ last night?  I was riveted, moved and ultimately uplifted.  It told the story of Gabby Giffords’ arduous journey back after being shot in the head last January, and featured her first interview, with Diane Sawyer.  The entire episode is now available online at this link. It’s a [Read More...]

Obama “turns his back on Catholics”

Washington Post opinion writer (and former Bush speechwriter) Michael Gerson is adding his voice to the growing chorus of critics who charge the Obama White House is betraying its Catholic supporters: In 2009, the University of Notre Dame set off months of intra-Catholic controversy by inviting a champion of abortion rights to deliver the school’s [Read More...]

The Digest goes digital

Among the various hats I wear, one is as an editorial advisor to Deacon Digest magazine, the only   publication for and about deacons in the United States. I was delighted to discover today that they have recently revamped their website, and put most (all?) of the current issue online. The November issue is devoted [Read More...]

Study: Catholic men are better paid

Okay.  Show me the money. Details: Catholicism, with all its attendant ceremony, piety and guilt, may well trump a good Protestant work ethic when it comes to earnings potential, according to the authors of a new study. Catholic men between 25 and 54 years were found to benefit from a wage premium of 6.7 per [Read More...]

Pope will light world’s largest Christmas tree with an iPad

Take that, Rockefeller Center … [Read more...]

Go ahead. Take your time.

If I’d known that an extra nine minutes and 50 seconds could make such a difference, I would have  paced myself. Behold, a clever tribute to creativity — and taking your time. [Read more...]

Faith on the frontlines: one deacon’s story

From Catholic News Service comes this story of a vocation that was formed, to a great extent, on the battlefield: When Deacon Catarino Villanueva arrived on Forward Operating Base Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 2005 for a yearlong deployment with the National Guard, he immediately looked for opportunities to practice his Catholic faith. “I wanted to see [Read More...]

Let the fire fall: a new iPhone app may help

How about a little digital evangelization that can — almost literally — spark your spirit? Check this out: Catholics now have a sure-fire way to know when their religious fervor needs some rekindling. A new iPhone application gaining popularity across the country tracks users’ religious activity — everything from reading Scriptures to posting prayers — [Read More...]

Nun spared jail time for gambling, embezzlement

And it nearly landed her in jail.  Details: Sister Marie Thornton gambled her life away playing the one-armed bandits in Atlantic City, losing nearly $1 million she pilfered from the coffers of upstate Iona College, where she worked as a trusted financial officer. Sister Susie, as she is known, was spared three years in federal [Read More...]

Another way to Occupy Wall Street: meet the Sisters of St. Francis

They’re finally getting their due, in the pages of the New York Times: Not long ago, an unusual visitor arrived at the sleek headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Lower Manhattan. It wasn’t some C.E.O., or a pol from Athens or Washington, or even a sign-waving occupier from Zuccotti Park. It was Sister Nora Nash of [Read More...]

Three become one: historic merger of seminaries in New York

This ambitious move has been in the works for many months, but yesterday it became a reality.  From the In My Backyard Desk (with a cheerful diaconal bow in the direction of The Anchoress): Archbishop Dolan and his brother bishops of the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre Nov. 10 jointly signed [Read More...]

Dolan meets privately with Obama

I had gotten wind of this earlier in the week, but this is the first I’ve seen it in print: President Obama met quietly with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan Nov. 8, the White House has confirmed. Dolan is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The men discussed a range of issues [Read More...]

Doing a 180: Phoenix reverses communion decision

A surprising change of course, reported in the Arizona Republic: Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has backed away from his ban on using consecrated wine for Communion at most Masses, a decision that was originally met with widespread outcry. In an explanation of his decision in a letter to the priests of the diocese, [Read More...]

Medical study discovers a powerful anti-depressant: church

It’s something a lot of us have known for a while, but now there’s scientific proof of a connection: People who go to religious services routinely are 56% more likely to view life positively and 27% less likely to have symptoms of depression, researchers from Yeshiva University reported in the Journal of Religion and Health. [Read More...]

The Christians of Occupy Wall Street

Some Christians are making their voices heard in the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York, and the New York Times spoke with some of them: At Occupy Wall Street and the allied events, there are police officers in the symbolic 99 percent, wearing uniforms. There are self-proclaimed mothers in the 99 percent. There are [Read More...]

Waiting for Christmas

A British department store has come up with a sweet commercial for the Christmas season (and, in fact, Advent) that will resonate with anyone who has ever been 8 years old. [Read more...]

Catholic college sues HHS over contraception mandate

The college is arguing — correctly — that the requirement to give out contraceptives violates its religious beliefs. Details: Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., said Thursday (Nov. 10) that the mandate, ordered in the health care bill passed last year, is unconstitutional because it violates the school’s freedoms of religion and speech. Hannah Smith, [Read More...]

Update: Muslim CUA students slam Banzhaf

The Catholic University students are not pleased with the complaint filed by a lawyer, alleging discrimination, and made it clear in the student newspaper that they don’t support him: University Muslim students have announced their opposition to the recent lawsuit against the University proposed by George Washington University professor John F. Banzhaf, who claims that [Read More...]


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