Bringing it all back to Jesus

Writer (and former Paulist priest) James Carroll offers his thoughts on what’s ailing the Catholic Church in Sunday’s New York Times: Sometimes, when I kneel alone in a pew in the far back shadows of a church, face buried in my hands, a forbidden thought intrudes: You should have left all this behind a long time [Read More...]

AP: bishops meeting amid “turbulence”

Fasten your seatbelts:  U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are gathering at a moment of turbulence for them and the American church, as Pope Francis moves toward crafting new policies for carrying out his mission of mercy — a prospect that has conservative Catholics and some bishops in an uproar. The assembly, which starts Monday in Baltimore, comes [Read More...]

Kasper: “The pope is not a liberal. He is a radical.”

Details:  Just days before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opens its annual fall meeting, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, often called the pope’s theologian, had a not-too-subtle message for the American church. Kasper told a standing-room-only crowd at Catholic University that Pope Francis wants a “missionary church” with an open door, not “a self-centered, self-pitying [Read More...]

It’s official: Burke to Malta

After the longest run-up, the least surprising papal move of the year:  At Roman Noon this Saturday, the Pope named Cardinal Raymond Burke as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, removing the Wisconsin-born prelate from his role as the church’s “chief justice” as head of the Apostolic Signatura, where he’s served since 2008. …The wheels [Read More...]

Homily for November 9, 2014: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

This is one of the more unusual feasts on the Church calendar. It is one of those rare feasts, in fact, in which we honor not a person or an event or a theological idea, but a building. The building has a long name: its official title is the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior [Read More...]

“God is more important than sex”: Couple abstained from sex for 19 months while waiting for annulments

In our pelvic-centric age, some would find this unthinkable. Read on, from The Catholic Sentinel in Portland: Steve and Shaina Purves don’t consider themselves heroic. They say they simply lived out what the church teaches — and it was fantastic. For 19 months after Shaina entered the Catholic Church, the civilly-wed couple refrained from sexual contact while [Read More...]

Denied job, “humanist chaplain” sues Navy for discrimination

From RNS:  The Oxford-educated man who unsuccessfully sought to be the Navy’s first humanist chaplain is suing the Pentagon, claiming unconstitutional discrimination. Jason Heap is certified as a humanist celebrant by the Humanist Society, which joined in the suit and is challenging both the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense for not recognizing the group as an endorser [Read More...]

“I’m a social justice, anti-death penalty, seamless garment, pro-life Catholic”

Mark Miloscia, the man targeted in an anti-Catholic smear during the campaign, won his race for Washington state senate Tuesday night, and has given an interview about his life and politics—and why he switched from Democratic to Republican—to Aleteia:  What I liked about the Democratic Party is that Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. came [Read More...]

Pope warns against becoming “pagan Christians”

From his homily this morning: Even today there are “pagan Christians” who “behave like enemies of the Cross of Christ”, said Pope Francis at morning Mass Friday at Casa Santa Marta, warning that we must guard against the temptations of a worldly society that lead us to ruin. Pope Francis was inspired by the words [Read More...]

Here I am, Lord: Dan Schutte, the man behind the music

He’s written some of the most familiar—and controversial—Catholic music of the last 40 years. This morning, a newspaper in Louisiana profiles him:  Dan Schutte never envisioned fame or a lasting legacy as a music star. He just wanted to write spiritual music. He wrote a lot of it. Nowadays, four decades after he first began [Read More...]

Cardinal Burke says he has no animosity toward pope, those who claim he does are trying to discredit him

From Edward Pentin via Breitbart:  Cardinal Raymond Burke has said he is at the service of Pope Francis, has no personal animosity towards him, and those who claim the American cardinal is an opponent of the Pontiff are trying to discredit him. The head of the Vatican’s highest court also told Breitbart Tuesday the Catholic [Read More...]

Forbes names world’s most powerful people—and the pope is near the top

He’s #4. As the magazine puts it: The spiritual leader to one-sixth of the world’s population — 1.2 billion souls. Pope Francis has made it his mission to transform the longstanding conservative image of the Catholic Church. In October, the pontiff said the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are true, adding that God [Read More...]

Great moments in television: man films himself being eaten alive by an anaconda

Remember when a producer’s idea of “Reality TV” was a tour of the White House with Jackie Kennedy or a symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein? Remember when the holiday season brought us Rudolph and Jimmy Stewart and “A Christmas Story”? Well, here’s a new treat for the holidays:  This year, Discovery will air a special [Read More...]

NY Times: Support groups spring up for women in love with priests

Oh brother:  They had not planned on falling in love, but they did. They did not want to become the objects of malicious gossip, but they are. They had not imagined living a life of furtive affections and secret rendezvous, but that is what has happened since the woman and the priest defied a Roman Catholic [Read More...]

“Nothing like this has happened since the backstabbing behind the scenes at the Second Vatican Council…”

Damien Thompson unloads in The Spectator: ‘At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder,’ said a prominent Catholic conservative last week. No big deal, you might think. Opponents of Pope Francis have been casting doubt on his leadership abilities for months — and [Read More...]

Anti-Catholic protestors harass D.C. parishes, condemning “evils” of Catholicism

From The Washington Post:  Roman Catholic leaders have sent e-mails of warning to dozens of Washington and Maryland priests after protesters with bullhorns yelling anti-Catholic slogans appeared at several parishes and in a couple of cases “stormed the inside of the church just before Mass,” a bishop-administrator wrote in the e-mail. A spokeswoman with the Archdiocese of [Read More...]

How did Catholics vote?

As in years past, pretty much like everyone else. From RNS:  According to yesterday’s exit polls, the religious layout of the electorate looks almost identical to the last midterm election in 2010, and not much different from the 2012 presidential election. In 2010, Protestants voted Republican 59 percent to 38 percent, this time it was 60-38. (White Protestants [Read More...]

Ways churches drive away first-time visitors

Any of this look familiar? This comes from Protestant writer and theologian Thom S. Rainer, but I can’t help but think it has Catholic applications, as well. We live in an era of rampant church-shopping. How hard are parishes trying to make themselves appealing? Check it out: If you attend a church regularly, you’ve probably [Read More...]