Visiting Santa Cruz

Soon after I landed in San Francisco on Friday—in the city named for the saint of peace—I felt I was in the right place. Who should I see waiting for someone at the gate, but these gals? Deacon Bill Ditewig and his lovely wife Diann met me outside my baggage claim area, and we were [Read More...]

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Bye bye basket? Texas churches experiment with tablets, kiosks for collections

Details from The El Paso Times:  The Catholic Church has always been steeped in tradition and not technology. On Saturday, two Catholic churches will break from tradition and take a step toward the digital age by adding a touch pad on a stand, called a kiosk, for people to make credit-card donations to the church [Read More...]

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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...]

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Remembering Msgr. Joe Funaro

I can’t believe it’s been two years. In 2013, on the Vigil of the Assumption, the pastor who had mentored me through my formation entered eternal life. Those who knew him will tell you: there was no one quite like Joe Funaro—a big man with a big personality, a big appetite (for food and for [Read More...]

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California, here I come

This morning, I’m flying out to scenic Monterey, California, not too far from San Francisco, to lead a retreat for deacons and wives out there. The director of the diaconate program is some fellow named Ditewig.  I’m told the retreat house has WiFi. But I’m also told an ocean of some sort may be nearby. [Read More...]

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Court rules against baker in same-sex marriage case

From CNN:  An appellate court on Thursday ruled against a Colorado bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, rejecting among other things his denial that he discriminated against them because they are gay. he Colorado Court of Appeals decision affirms a commission’s earlier decision that Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood [Read More...]

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Former archbishop of Canterbury calls assisted suicide “profoundly Christian and moral”

Details:  Allowing doctors to help terminally ill people to take their own lives would be a “profoundly Christian and moral thing” to do, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has insisted. He dismissed arguments that enduring pain at the end of life is a “noble thing” and insisted that proper legal safeguards could be [Read More...]

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Wait. Are you saying Christians online are mean? Really?

From Huffington Post, a writer has a revelation: I’m a newcomer to social media. I only created a Facebook account in January to promote my new book on reflective faith. This is only my fifth Huffington Post blog. I think I have 16 followers on Twitter. I decided to blog because I thought I might [Read More...]

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Holy foods: Sherri Shepherd to host spiritual cooking show

The daughter of a Baptist deacon will be blending faith and food for The Cooking Channel. Details:  According to reports, the former “The View” co-host is headed to the Cooking Channel as the host of a new show “Holy & Hungry” that explores the spiritual dimensions of food. Premiering Aug. 23, Shepherd will visit a bistro run by a [Read More...]

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Should women be lectors?

A writer who calls himself “Benedict Constable” (he admits it’s a nom de plume) offers several reasons why he thinks the answer is “No,” but this may be the most bizarre of all:  It ought to be said that in Sacred Scripture the Word of God is always compared to seed, and the preacher to the [Read More...]

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Check this out: new documentary all about “Chaplains”

This has been hovering around for a few months, but it will soon be available on DVD and on public television. From the filmmakers:  CHAPLAINS is a new 2-hour documentary film that takes the viewer into the dynamic world of chaplains – men and women who represent their own particular faith tradition but are trained to [Read More...]

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Philly frenzy for faux Francis, and posing with the paper pontiff

Some of us were doing it before it was cool: From the AP:  Pope Francis isn’t scheduled to touch down in the U.S. until September, but he’s already popped up at a Philadelphia Phillies game and at the Battleship New Jersey. Cardboard cutouts of the pontiff have been appearing all over the Philadelphia region, generating [Read More...]

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Report: despite drop in membership, more German Catholics going to church

Pray Tell has the scoop: This is interesting. While the numbers officially leaving the church in Germany are increasing, those remaining seem to be increasing their attendance and church participation, at least in some places. It has been widely reported that the number of people officially leaving the German Catholic Church (and Protestant churches too, [Read More...]

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Italian priest offering couples a “baby bonus”

View image | gettyimages.com From The Telegraph: A town in Tuscany is offering a “baby bonus” of €2,000 (£1,420) to encourage larger families, as Italy frets over its low birth rate. But there are conditions – couples must be Italian and committed Catholics who were married in church, and the bonus only kicks in with [Read More...]

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A cardinal who is a child of divorce sheds light on the Synod

Here’s a fascinating conversation with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna and the president of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference. Cardinal Schönborn is perhaps best known as the editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He is also a member of the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and will [Read More...]

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Great moments in journalism: is the pope Catholic?

The good people at the Times of London posted this correction today: No sweat. Thanks for clearing that up. [Read more...]

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“Churches are being used for prisons, ISIS have been breaking all the crosses and statues of Mary”

View image | gettyimages.com A sobering glimpse inside a town in northern Iraq that is now empty of Christians, from Christian Today:  Qaraqosh had been home to Iraq’s largest Christian community, with at least a quarter of the country’s Christian population living in the city and its surrounding towns. Its exodus prompted further concerns about [Read More...]

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The most Catholic cities in the U.S.

From Pew:  Earlier this year, we took a look at the top three religious traditions that dominate the U.S. Now, using the metro areas variable of the American Values Atlas (AVA), we turn to our country’s cities, where we find a similar trend: Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated dominate. Here’s the breakdown: Catholicism is the top religious group—or tied [Read More...]

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