Who’s getting paid for ministry at your parish?

I don’t know anyone who’s getting rich working for the Church, but the good people at CARA have some interesting insight into paid staff at parishes:  According to CARA’s recent National Survey of Catholic Parishes (NSCP), the average parish in the United States has nearly six paid ministry staff members (mean = 5.8, median = 4; [Read More...]

“What would we be willing to die for?”

“So often we today can find our faith challenged by the world, and in countless ways we are asked to compromise our faith, to water down the radical demands of the Gospel and to conform to the spirit of this age.  Yet the martyrs call out to us to put Christ first and to see [Read More...]

Sister Elizabeth Johnson fires back at bishops, calls investigation wasteful

Details from Religion News Service:    A nun who drew U.S. Catholic bishops’ ire with what they consider radical feminist writings fired back Friday (Aug. 15), saying their investigation of women’s orders is wasteful when financial mismanagement and sexual abuses are being covered up. Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a theology professor at Fordham University, accepted the Leadership [Read More...]

Did you remember to go to Mass today?

A new blogger at Patheos, Tom Zampino, did. (It’s a holy day of obligation! Go!) And what he experienced wasn’t what he expected:  I made it. Later than usual. But I was there. I sat there trying to wrap my head around the Assumption of Mary – is this scriptural? Am I in danger of becoming [Read More...]

In South Korea, Pope delivers major speech in English

From Vatican Radio: Many of the English-speaking journalists here at the Press Centre in Seoul were so excited about hearing Pope Francis pronounce his first speech in Korea in their language, they almost forgot to listen to what he said. Nearly all of them awarded him top marks for pronunciation, modulation and tone – which [Read More...]

“This pope means business”

From the pages of Fortune magazine (!), comes this analysis of Pope Francis, businessman and manager: The spiritual shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Francis, 77, has already done more in 18 months to energize the church and burnish its image than anyone has since the heyday of John Paul II in [Read More...]

What’s wrong with the ALS bucket challenge?—UPDATED

Catholics who are endorsing this should know where the money is going. Fr. Michael Duffy explains:  We’ve all seen it, and many of you have probably done it.  Many celebrities, politicians and even priests have done it.  There is a great amount of good that comes about from furthering awareness of such a terrible disease. [Read More...]

What about deacons and politics?

Some days back, I posted the historic news about the wife of a deacon serving on her state’s Supreme Court.  On another forum a couple of deacons noted that, while the news was noteworthy and laudable, it could pose problems for her husband. One wrote: “We had a deacon who moved to another diocese and his [Read More...]

Catholic school employs first openly gay high school coach in South Dakota

Details:  Nate Alfson will start practice Thursday as the returning coach of the Dell Rapids St. Mary girls volleyball team, he confirmed Tuesday night. Alfson, who announced he was gay last week on the Outsports.com website, met with St. Mary officials Tuesday afternoon and originally declined to comment on the meeting’s outcome. He told Outsports.com [Read More...]

Meet the man St. Maximilian Kolbe replaced in Auschwitz

Today is the great saint’s feast day. The story of his martyrdom is well-known, but I’m not sure how many know the details about the man whose life he saved. It’s chronicled in Wikipedia:  Franciszek Gajowniczek, a Roman Catholic, was born in Strachomin near Mińsk Mazowiecki. He lived in Warsaw since 1921, and had a wife and two sons. He was a professional [Read More...]

“The government rejects and bans the teachings of ISIS”

From The Christian Post: The nation with the largest Muslim population in the world has officially banned support for the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is responsible for mass killings of religious minorities in Iraq that has forced the U.S. government to respond with air strikes. Indonesia, whose citizens [Read More...]

Christian film critic says Robin Williams accepted Christ in rehab, but “he was always searching”

Details:  Christian Film and Television Commission Chairman Dr. Ted Baehr recently revealed that late comedian Robin Williams accepted Jesus as his personal Savior during one of his rehab stays. Williams committed suicide on Monday, and many friends and fans are still struggling to come to grips with the immense and sudden loss. Dr. Baehr expressed sadness for Williams’ family, [Read More...]

The Muslims who are condemning ISIS—UPDATED

They are out there—and they are becoming more vocal. From CNEWA’s Rev. Elias Mallon, S.A., Ph.D:  Faced with the unrelenting reports about the sufferings of Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, even Christians who are friendly toward Muslims can be perplexed and ask, “Why aren’t Muslims speaking out against these atrocities?” The answer [Read More...]

Lauren Bacall’s religion

An interesting detail from The New York Times obit on Lauren Bacall: During her romance with [Humphrey] Bogart, she asked him if it mattered to him that she was Jewish. His answer, she later wrote, was “Hell, no — what mattered to him was me, how I thought, how I felt, what kind of person I [Read More...]

Pope to UN: “I place before you the tears, the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq”

The Vatican has released a letter from Pope Francis to the Secretary General of the United Nations: The letter condemns the violent persecutions underway in the country, and calls on the international community to act swiftly and decisively to stop the humanitarian disaster currently taking place.  Here is the text of the Holy Father’s letter: [Read More...]

From Iraq: two minutes that will put your world in perspective

It’s real and it’s raw: footage of the rescue of Yazidis in Iraq, via CNN. Details:  The face of 15-year-old Aziza says it all. Her mouth slightly agape, tears stream down her face as she glances around the inside of a helicopter with confusion in her eyes. She looks completely exhausted, overcome with emotion. She [Read More...]

Megachurch pastor writes about why he became Catholic

You probably remember when this story caused a stir a few months back. Now, the story behind the story:  Our conviction that we needed to become Catholics grew slowly, over a number of years, but the actual decision to take this step came rather late. Our question was: how should we communicate it? It could really [Read More...]

Anne Lamott on Robin Williams: “Live stories worth telling!”

Here is what writer Anne Lamott posted on her Facebook page today about Robin Williams: Here is what is true: a third of the people you adore and admire in the world and in your families have severe mental illness and/or addiction. I sure do. I have both. And you still love me. You help hold me [Read More...]