Flashback: July 4th, 2006

It was just a little crowded in the Magic Kingdom. (Don’t believe me?  Click to enlarge.  If memory serves, that shot was taken about 90 minutes before the fireworks.) But was it worth it?  You bet. One of my happiest 4th of July memories, ever. Happy Independence Day, one and all.  Have a blast! [Read more...]

Vatican to Africa: involve women in decisions

That comes from Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, seen below, from the Congregation for Evangelization. Details: The Catholic Church in Africa has been urged to support and promote women and encourage their participation in decision making. While addressing hundreds of delegates from Eastern Africa (AMECEA) during the 17th plenary assembly in Nairobi, Archbishop Savio Hon [Read More...]

Quote of the day

“Institutions tend to be strongest when they make significant moral demands, and weaker when they pre-emptively accommodate themselves to human nature.” – New York Times columnist Ross Douthat Read his column on gay marriage for the rest. [Read more...]

Sublime: Chet Atkins plays "Stars and Stripes Forever" on guitar

If we had Chet Atkins in my parish, I’d argue to make every mass a “guitar mass.” (As long as Chet could play ‘em all, of course…) Here he is, from 1978. If you’ve heard this tune a hundred times, you’ve probably never heard it like this. H/T to good ole Austin. [Read more...]

The last Army draftee retires

And we turn another page in history. From the Boston Globe: He didn’t join the Army willingly, but as Command Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger prepares to retire, he is grateful he found his calling. Mellinger, 58, was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, and the Army believes he is the last draftee to retire, [Read More...]

For the 4th: a great story about a surprising war hero who happens to be a horse

Ladies and gentlemen, the story of Sgt. Reckless. (H/T to my sister in Maryland, a lifelong horse lover!) [Read more...]

"I was ordained to proclaim the Good News, and that's what I'm about"

That’s the happy conclusion of this joy-filled deacon from Australia, who shares his enthusiasm for his vocation with the Catholic Leader newspaper of Brisbane: If a barometer existed to measure exuberant faith, Deacon Gary Stone’s reading would be off the charts. “I’m hyperactive,” he admits, grinning, easily elaborating on how ministry as a married deacon [Read More...]

The dance of life

As a July 4th prelude, how about a little George M. Cohan? These two cats weren’t exactly in their prime when they did this, but you’d never know it.  (Bob Hope was 52, James Cagney 56.)  Here’s an exuberant celebration of talent, tenacity, and pure terpsichorean joy.  It’s a reminder that, in the great dance [Read More...]

Vatican: profits up, donations down

The Holy See reports that it is back in the black. Details: The Vatican returned to profit last year after three years in the red but donations from the faithful fell nearly $15 million, or 18 percent, amid tough economic times and the explosion of the priest sex abuse scandal. The Vatican issued its annual [Read More...]

"Women Deacons: Questions and Answers"

That’s the title of a talk that Dr. Phyllis Zagano will be giving out in Long Island this week. A lot of readers will remember the lively discussion she sparked some weeks back with an open letter to the pope on the subject of women deacons.  Those who are in the area are invited to [Read More...]

iBreviary, over easy

A priest friend posted this image on his Facebook page, from the good folks who produce the invaluable (but, evidently, spelling-challenged) iBreviary: [Read more...]

Should we be like Monaco?

Below, a brief report on the Catholic wedding of Prince Albert (not, it seems, in a can) and Charlene Wittstock.  This came a day after their civil ceremony. Given what has just happened in New York State with gay marriage, should the church in the United States get out of the marriage racket altogether and [Read More...]

Pics from Pittsburgh

I know you all have been breathlessly awaiting pictures from the Catholic Media Convention last week in Pittsburgh.  The wait is over. Pittsburgh is a lovely city, and not at all what a lot of us expected.  No rust, no smokestacks.  Lots of hills and ballparks.  Below, the view from my hotel room. There were [Read More...]


Least surprising headline of the year (so far): Maria Shriver files for divorce. [Read more...]

Another American saint?

And a New Yorker, too! The sainthood cause of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai has taken a significant step forward with a Vatican medical board ruling in favor of a miracle attributed to her intercession. Details, from CNS: According to a news release from her religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann [Read More...]

Homily for July 3, 2011: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

If you leave St. Patrick’s Cathedral by the front door, on Fifth Avenue, you can’t help but be jolted by the figure greeting you as you leave. It’s Atlas: a mammoth, four story high statue of the Greek titan, cast in bronze, his arms spread wide has he carries the universe on his back. He [Read More...]

Shock: KC becomes first diocese ever sued over child pornography

The sad story of Kansas City just seems to get worse. Details: The Kansas City Catholic Diocese is defending itself against a groundbreaking lawsuit involving the alleged distribution of child pornography. The attorney representing a family suing the Kansas City Catholic Diocese says this is the first time that someone has sued the Catholic Church [Read More...]

Gasp of the day: squirrel with guardian angel!

Close calls don’t get much closer than this. [Read more...]