Shaken: quake damage at cathedral worse than first reported

The National Journal reports: The original reports of the damage were fairly dismissive. Talking Points Memo did a slide show of damage to buildings in the D.C. area, and led with three pictures of tiny pieces of rubble on the front steps. The sarcastic captions read, “See it?” and “Look closely; it’s there,” and have [Read More...]

Wisconsin: Latin Mass support "vocal and growing"

The local press is reporting on this phenomenon: Ellie Arkin doesn’t speak Latin, so upon entering Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison on a recent Sunday, the 21-year-old UW-Madison student opened a Latin-to-English translation book provided by the church. For the next hour, she and many of the other parishioners followed along in the book [Read More...]

Trying to save lives with "Operation Ceasefire"

A California initiative is seeking to stem the tide of gang-relateed violence, and churches are now playing a role. From Catholic San Francisco: Hugo Chavez was shot four times, falling to the ground in his gravel driveway, while his younger brother drank beer in the back garden on a jasmine-scented July night in East Palo [Read More...]

"It's time to play the music, it's time to light the light…"

Actually, it’s time for a TV theme song so square, it’s suddenly hip! Get a  load of “The Muppet Show” theme song, as re-imagined by  OK Go (with a helpful assist from Kermit & Co.) [Read more...]

Vatican to SSPX leader: let's talk

And they will, on 14 September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. From CNS: The head of a group of traditionalist Catholics will meet with the Vatican Sept. 14 to continue a series of doctrinal discussions. The Vatican confirmed Aug. 23 that Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius [Read More...]

And now, some wise words from the catechism …

We hear a lot around The Bench about what the catechism teaches. Lest we forget: Charity 1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. 1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.96 By loving his own [Read More...]

The pope and the deacon

Below, a shot some may have overlooked from the World Youth Day festivities last week. Pope Benedict, speaking at the monastery of San Lorenzo de el Escorial  — alongside an image of the great deacon martyr (complete with his dalmatic, ‘natch!).  You can find the text of his address here. [Read more...]

RIP, Jerry Leiber

Half of the great songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, Jerry Leiber has died at the age of 78.  Among other things, he helped give the world “Hound Dog,” “On Broadway,” “Spanish Harlem,” “I’m a Woman,” “Is That All There Is?”  and, in collaboration with Ben. E. King, “Stand By Me.” Below, a blissful reminder [Read More...]

One of a kind: meet the WYD pilgrim from China

Check this out: The final Mass of World Youth Day was a sea of national flags. In the million-strong crowd, however, it was hard to find one particular flag – China. That’s until CNA bumped into Thomas Zeng. “This week has been absolutely fascinating,” said the university student who’s traveled all the way from Shanghai [Read More...]

Where the "pastor" is a woman

Technically, she’s a “Minister of Parish Life.”  But last month, Dorothy Carlson was named to lead a parish in the Diocese of San Jose, California.  While this move is hardly unprecedented, it is unusual. The Diocese of San Jose website has the details: “Minister of Parish Life”…new phrase, new idea, new job description? Yes, and [Read More...]

Give New Yorkers a megaphone to "say something nice" and watch what happens

From those clever folks at Improv Everywhere: [Read more...]

Vatican message to Muslims: "We are spiritually very close to you…"

The traditional message for the conclusion of Ramadan this year includes a plea for peace and an end to fanatacism. Excerpt: Christians and Muslims, beyond their differences, recognise the dignity of the human person endowed with both rights and duties. They think that intelligence and freedom are indeed gifts which must impel believers to recognize these values [Read More...]

Phoenix bans altar girls from serving at cathedral

I imagine this news will stir up some debate around the diocese: The Rev. John Lankeit, rector of the cathedral, said he made the decision in hopes of promoting the priesthood for males and other religious vocations, such as becoming a nun, for females. Made up primarily of fifth- through eighth-graders the altar-server corps in [Read More...]

Happy Monday!

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"My heart was racing, like, majorly…!"

That’s one Maryland pilgrim’s excited response to seeing the pope up close and personal at World Youth Day. What was it like?  She tells us: [Read more...]

Voris responds: "There are many people in the Church who have it out for us…" — UPDATED

Michael Voris has posted a video and text which responds to the Catholic News Agency report about his company and one of his employees. He explains what happened — and also addresses the controversy over the World Youth Day statement, which noted that he lacked official approval to appear at WYD in Madrid. Toward the [Read More...]

"Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness…"

“Yes, dear friends, God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful. We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God. To abide in his love, then, means living a life rooted in [Read More...]

A "dying breed": nuns disappearing from hospitals

Given the dwindling vocations, this shouldn’t be a shock.  But it’s sad news nonetheless: When Sister Mary Jean Ryan entered the convent as a young nurse in 1960, virtually every department of every Catholic hospital was run by a nun, from pediatrics to dietary to billing. After her retirement on July 31 as the chief [Read More...]