State of the Union: who was there

Some notable Catholics were special guests, according to CNS: Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl was among the guests of House Speaker John Boehner, along with an assortment of students and teachers representing the archdiocese’s Consortium of Catholic Academies, other supporters of school choice and the Heritage Foundation. In first lady Michelle Obama’s box were several [Read More...]

Would a married priesthood solve problems, or cause them?

After we’ve all torn our hair out over the canonical question of continence, now might be a good time to reflect on the issue of a married clergy in general — and the priesthood, in particular. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me, “Wouldn’t you like to be a priest?,” [Read More...]

A first look at "Of Gods and Men"

For my money, this is the first must-see movie of 2011.  I read the book “The Monks of Tibhirine” a few years back, and was deeply moved by this story of a Trappist monks martyred by radical Muslims in Algeria in the 1990s.  The movie tells this same story, and strikes me as carrying a [Read More...]

For the birds

Over the weekend, I took the plunge and upgraded my mobile phone.  (I got an EVO, if anyone is wondering.) This thing is a marvel that would not be out of place at Spacely Sprockets.  It keeps my calendar, takes my pictures, shoots my video, finds my destination, locates a restaurant, and even provides me [Read More...]

A matter of degrees: the diminished value of faith

Speaking as someone who graduated — barely, and a semester late — from an unexceptional state university, I found this essay both welcome and consoling.  It’s hard to accept nowadays, but the fact remains: we are more than what it says on our diplomas.  Much more.  Have we lost the ability to see that? From [Read More...]

Ask not what your father can do for you…

…just go ahead and ask him for a raise. As America marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration — and that timeless address he delivered that day — the note below is, well, of note. It’s 10-year-old Jack Kennedy’s plea for a raise in his allowance.  You can find a copy of the original over [Read More...]

Tonight's other big speech …

… will be delivered by a little-known Congressman, Paul Ryan, who also happens to be a practicing Catholic; his Wikipedia entry notes that he is “a member of St. John Vianney’s Parish” in Janesville, Wisconsin. More on the man who will deliver the GOP response to the State of the Union, from the Wall Street [Read More...]

Would you like your funeral streamed live?

Welcome to the brave new world of the YouTube funeral, where grieving friends and relatives no longer have to travel cross country to bid goodbye to the dearly departed. Now you can do it online. From the New York Times: In an age of commemorating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries on Facebook and Twitter, it was [Read More...]

In atheist China, religion is winning

That’s one surprising and uplifting discovery in a new study on religious belief in China. Details: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure. And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, [Read More...]

"Paul has shown us what man really is…"

“Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is, and in what our nobility consists, and of what virtue this particular animal is capable. Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardour and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him. He summed up his [Read More...]

Why march?

Last year, on “Currents,” we followed one teenager as she made her first trip from Brooklyn to Washington for the March for Life. She had a vested interest in being there — and her story offers a wonderful witness.  To see this event through her eyes is to realize anew what is at stake. Check [Read More...]

"He is in the hands of a righteous judge"

From Pennsylvania comes this rare story of an Amish man who, driven by madness, killed his wife;  now, after taking his own life, he’s been buried beside her in an Amish cemetery. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: There is fresh grave in the Amish cemetery, next to the one where Katie Gingerich has lain since her [Read More...]

The pope on new media: believe what you tweet!

Faithbook, anyone? “To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken [Read More...]

Bishop to pro-lifers: you are on a pilgrimage, like Mary

A powerful message, for those journeying to Washington this day. From CNS: Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., likened people coming to Washington to take part in the annual March for Life to pilgrims. And in that effort, they are linked to “the most blessed of all pilgrims—the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Bishop Lori said [Read More...]

Set in stone: Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa added to National Cathedral

Practicing a dying art, a Catholic stone-carver is adding two great women of the 20th century to the carvings that adorn the National Cathedral in Washington. From the Religion News Service: Six feet above the vaulted entranceway to Washington National Cathedral, the rough contours of Rosa Parks’ face are taking shape. Using a motorized hammer [Read More...]

Take our bread: electronic giving on the rise at church

Could the collection plate soon be a thing of the past? From Reuters: Brie Hall felt awkward the first few times she passed the collection basket at her Catholic church without tossing in a donation envelope. But it is more convenient to give her gift to God by direct debit from her checking account. The [Read More...]

Fox rejects "Jesus Hates Obama" ad for Super Bowl

Every year, it seems, someone creates an outrageous ad that generates gobs of publicity because no one ever sees it on the Super Bowl. It’s happened again this year.  Details, from the New York Daily News: Fox has rejected a controversial Super Bowl ad from conservative comedy site, according to the site’s creator. Richard [Read More...]

Lambs of God

If you’ve ever wondered just where the wool comes from that is used for the pallium, CNS has the answer: Certain things — such as a bath and getting dressed up — are universal before a personal meeting with the pope, and the rule holds even for lambs. As he does every year, Pope Benedict [Read More...]