Vatican population: 572

It’s the tiniest country in the world, and most of its citizens are overwhelmingly male. Details, from CNS: Millions of citizens of countries from all over the world enter Vatican territory every year to visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica or catch a glimpse of the pope on a Sunday in St. Peter’s [Read More...]

Receiving ashes: it's not just a Catholic thing

And it seems a lot of Protestants are embracing the penitential practices of the season, too: Although receiving ashes on the forehead as a visible sign of penance has been a traditional Roman Catholic practice for centuries, many Protestant denominations have adopted the tradition, too. “Lutherans receive ashes at Ash Wednesday services,” said the Rev. [Read More...]

This is disgusting. I want some.

Just in time for Lent, here’s something new to give up: a new flavor of Ben & Jerry’s, named in honor of late night host Jimmy Fallon and dubbed “Late Night Snack”: Previously, Ben & Jerry’s flavors have saluted such show-biz figures as Stephen Colbert (Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream), Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road), [Read More...]

Battling Satan with…joy?

The joyful Fr. Dwight Longenecker takes a look at doing battle with evil in a way you might not expect: Each one of us is called to engage in the spiritual battle, and we will succeed best when we take the battle seriously, not ourselves. During Lent, that battle intensifies. As Christ went into the [Read More...]

Turning a church into a home: making God's house their house

From deep in the heart of Texas, a mission church becomes a family’s home… Details: Arlene and Bob Kampmann have discussed downsizing. Those 4,000 square feet are a lot for two people. But then they wonder, who would honor the history of their house the way they have? The Kampmanns, members of St. Philip Parish [Read More...]

Quote of the day

This marks the feast of an American original: St. Katharine Drexel, a woman of our own time (she died on this date in 1955) who was an heiress — and nun. “If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and [Read More...]

Have you prayed for the souls in purgatory lately?

Good question. We have a tendency, I think, to forget — and to worry, instead, about our own personal concerns: the kid who is failing chemistry, the bills that are past due, the anxieties that keep all of us up at night, staring at the ceiling, whispering to God, “Help me.” But blogger Kathy Schiffer [Read More...]

Death for Gosnell?

Clear-thinking pro-lifers know that’s not the answer. The Anchoress has details: Prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announced today they will seek the death penalty for abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who faces charged related to killing a woman in a botched abortion and killing babies infanticides.” [. . .] prosecutors notified his attorney, Jack McMahon, that they [Read More...]

Pope: Jewish people not responsible for Christ's death

In his new book, the German-born pontiff exonerates the Jewish people for the death of Jesus — and Jewish leaders consider it something of a milestone: In “Jesus of Nazareth” excerpts released Wednesday, Benedict uses a biblical and theological analysis to explain why it is not true that the Jewish people as a whole were [Read More...]

My week without TV

What happens when the cable box goes? I talk about that in this week’s “All Things New”: Well, for one thing, I actually began to read, deeply. I found myself dawdling over the Liturgy of the Hours, dipping into the Office of Readings. I put the Kindle I got for Christmas to good use, downloading [Read More...]

Why don't people go to church?

Someone posted this inspired piece below on his Facebook page… One priest got tired of listening to exuses why people skip the Church, and has written this: 18 reasons why I do not wash myself: 1. Because they made me wash myself when I was a kid. 2. Because they didn’t teach me to wash [Read More...]

A modest proposal. But don't hold your breath.

How about greater involvement from lay people in the Church? The editors at America explain: No one should anticipate changes in the existing discipline on celibacy or in the teaching on women’s ordination, but there are other ways to reform church structures to allow women and married men to participate in church governance. One proposal [Read More...]

"We are a very complacent church…"

Indianapolis is about to get a new auxiliary bishop,  and the local paper has a lengthy profile, in which he talks about ways to build up the church — beginning with better preaching: With unpacked boxes piled high in his own office, Bishop-elect Christopher J. Coyne received a pair of visitors last week in the [Read More...]

"My little job was to tell their story…"

The acclaimed film about the Trappist monks murdered in Algeria had a “monastic advisor” on set to give the movie the ring of authenticity. Details, from CNS: “Of Gods and Men,” the Cannes Film Festival grand prize-winning feature now debuting across the country, had a “monastic adviser” on the set to help faithfully depict the [Read More...]

Teen suspended from school for wearing rosary beads

It happened last month in St. Louis, and is still sparking debate: Rodrigo Avila, 16, was punished for wearing rosary beads to school, his family said. He returned to school Feb. 25. His mother said Sunday that his use of the rosary beads was religious. Law enforcement officials nationwide have linked wearing rosary beads to [Read More...]

Dear March, come in!

Can you believe it’s March?  Neither can I.  But Emily Dickinson feels otherwise. Dear March, come in! How glad I am! I looked for you before. Put down your hat— You must have walked— How out of breath you are! Dear March, how are you? And the rest? Did you leave Nature well? Oh, March, [Read More...]

This just makes you feel great to be alive

From now on, I think I may watch this every morning to kick-start my day.  I love it.  [Read more...]

Required reading: this should hit you like a splash of cold water

The wondrously gifted Heather King writes about why she avoids both the Catholic Left, and Catholic Right, and offers this insight (among many): I, for one, am way too busy to get overly exercised about whether to, say, bring back the Latin Mass, though I’m sure I would welcome such a move; or lobbying against [Read More...]