Episcopal Church approves ordaining transgender people

Details: The Episcopal Church on Monday overwhelmingly voted to allow the ordination of transgender people. At its triennial General Convention in Indianapolis, the church House of Deputies approved a change to the “nondiscrimination canons” to include “gender identity and expression.” The move makes it illegal to bar from the priesthood people who were born into [Read More…]

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They remember Nora

The stars came out in the afternoon in New York City today — all to pay tribute to writer/director/friend to everyone, Nora Ephron. Details: Of course there were recipes — different recipes in the programs the ushers handed out. One was for coconut macaroons. “Makes about 22,” it said. That would not have been enough [Read More…]

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Katie Holmes reportedly returns to Catholic Church

Details: Five years after revealing that she had started to study Scientology, Katie Holmes has officially returned to the Catholic faith, registering as a parishioner at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. “Everyone is thrilled to have Katie join us,” a member of the church’s choir told me. “She has not [Read More…]

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Assault on religious freedom in U.S.: “Unbloody but far-reaching”

A succinct reminder of what’s going on these days, from Sister Mary Ann Walsh at the USCCB: Look in the United States, where freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, and you see a sophisticated type of assault.  It is unbloody, but far-reaching.  Ironically, the assaults are not from some guerilla group [Read More…]

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“The go-to person for reporters and followers of the Catholic Church”

The Philadelphia Daily News has a brief profile this morning of the ubiquitous Rocco Palmo: Rocco Palmo is only 29. The born-and-bred South Philly guy, thin at 5 feet 11 inches, is the go-to person for reporters and followers of the Catholic Church. The New York Times quoted him last month after the verdicts in [Read More…]

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“God is the greatest liberal”

That seems to be the headline-making quote from a fresh interview with the new head of the CDF, Gerhard Muller.  Details, and translation, from Catholic Church Conservation: This is a long interview with the Mittelbayerische Zeitung- now complete. Relaxed and at ease, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller returns a week after his appointment as prefect of [Read More…]

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RIP, Ernest Borgnine

The TV icon died today at 95. Like Andy Griffith —another recently departed figure who became a fixture in our living rooms doing frothy episodic television—Ernest Borgnine possessed a talent that was darker and deeper than many got to see.  Check out the clip below from his Oscar-winning turn in Paddy Chayefsky’s “Marty.” [Read more…]

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Are the Episcopalians really about to approve transgender ordinations?

It’s looking that way. Details: A day after a legislative body of the Episcopal Church voted to sell the denomination‘s New York headquarters amid budget cuts and declining membership, church leaders on Saturday adopted legislation to give transgenders the right to become lay and ordained ministers. At the church’s ongoing week-long General Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., [Read More…]

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“There is misogyny in the church…women are angry!”

In an interview sure to raise eyebrows — and blood pressures — one of the most prominent Catholic lay women at the Vatican,  L’Osservatore Romano contributor Lucetta Scaraffia, has opened up about the role of women in the Church, and she doesn’t hold back. From Whispers: In an interview with Agence France-Presse published yesterday, Scaraffia (left) amplified [Read More…]

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“Honesty Shouldn’t Go Unrewarded”

That’s the theme behind this delightful ad campaign from a credit card company in Australia. They placed a pair of sunglasses just outside the entrance to a shopping mall.  Watch what happens when some honest souls take them to the Lost and Found. [Read more…]

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Woman tries to sell soul on eBay

It sounds like something from The Onion, but no, it’s true: People can sell their souls on eBay? A New Mexico woman named Lori is doing just that, and bidding has already jumped from $100 to $405 in just a day. Describing it as a “slightly used soul,” Lori is offering buyers a “Carfax” so they can see [Read More…]

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Reminder: “There’s no vacation from Sunday Mass”

Miami’s Archbishop Thomas Wenski published this column in his diocesan newspaper this week, and it bears reprinting: When I was a young seminarian, the rector, before dismissing us for our summer break, would admonish us: remember, guys, there’s no vacation from a vocation. This was certainly wise advice — we were after all still seminarians even [Read More…]

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Useless on the battlefield, but very helpful for winning fans on YouTube

That would be these kind of spectacular precision moves, performed here earlier this week by soldiers on parade in Belarus. Are these guys available for children’s parties? [Read more…]

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Worth a thousand words: cowboy confession

The picture above was taken in 1966. Forty-six years later, the picture below depicts a brother, a priest and a bishop on a cattle drive in the same corner of the country. Read the story behind all this here, in a terrific post by Wyoming’s blogging bishop, Paul Etienne. [Read more…]

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How to plot like Pixar: “Brave” animator tweets secrets of storytelling

If you have a hankering to make a blockbuster classic animated film, one of the people behind the new Disney/Pixar hit “Brave” has been tweeting what he learned at the drawing board.  From the Wall Street Journal: For the past five years, Pixar has served as my film school. As a storyboard artist, working mainly [Read More…]

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Homily for July 8, 2012: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time — UPDATED WITH AUDIO

For audio of this homily, click the green arrow below. [audio:http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/deaconsbench/files/2012/07/HOMILY070812.mp3|titles=HOMILY070812] [Click here for readings] Last week, you’ll remember, the gospel told us what faith could achieve – miracles that could even restore health and give life. But this week, we’re reminded of what happens when we lack faith. What happens is…nothing.   When Jesus returned [Read More…]

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Cardinal Burke: five years on, work remains to make Latin Mass accessible

Five years ago today, 7 July 2007, the pope issued an apostolic letter expanding the use of the Tridentine Mass.  Now a leading advocate for that Extraordinary Form of the Mass is sizing up the success of that effort so far. Details: Five years after Pope Benedict XVI lifted most restrictions on celebration of the [Read More…]

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Political discourse in 2012: #!*&%$!

The soaring rhetoric of ages past has crashed to earth. From the AP: What the $?&(! is going on with our politicians? The mayors of New York and Philadelphia and the governor of New Jersey let loose with a few choice vulgarities over the past two weeks in otherwise G-rated public settings, including a town-hall [Read More…]

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