In new interview, pope discusses Synod, reassignment of Cardinal Burke

This just in, from Gerard O’Connell in America magazine: Immediately after his election on 13 March 2013, Pope Francis told himself, “Jorge, do not change, continue being yourself, because to change at your age would be ridiculous.” He revealed this interesting personal detail in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Elisabetta Piquè, for La Nacion, the [Read More...]

NFL star gives up his career to help the needy

Amazing:  In 2012 — after seven years in the NFL –- Jason Brown was let go from the Rams. Though other teams were interested in signing him, he left his career because he felt he had found a higher calling. Brown went on to become a farmer and to help the hungry with the fruits of his labor, [Read More...]

Awesome: parishioner donates kidney to pastor

From CNS:  A parishioner walks up to her pastor and says, “I want to give you my kidney.” Pastor smiles and says, “OK.” Don’t expect a punchline. It’s no joke. Fr. Michael Whyte arrived at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in 2007 and has been pastor there since 2008. A type 1 diabetic, he began [Read More...]

Homily for December 7, 2014: 2nd Sunday of Advent

If you want to understand what Advent is about, it helps to know the story of Mike Wise. Mike Wise is a sports columnist for the Washington Post. On a January night six years ago, he was jogging along the C&O Canal in downtown Washington with his dog, a golden Lab named Looly. The canal [Read More...]

Pope praises diversity, “feminine genius” in talk to theologians

The Vatican text: of his brief remarks to the International Theological Commission: I meet you with pleasure at the beginning of a new five-year period – the ninth – the International Theological Commission . I thank the President, Cardinal Müller , for the words he addressed to me on behalf of all of you. Your Commission was born shortly after [Read More...]

Dear NBC…THIS should be your next musical

You can count me among those who were underwhelmed by last year’s “The Sound of Music” and bored by Thursday night’s “Peter Pan.” But if NBC wants to atone for its sins, here’s my humble suggestion: Reba McEntire in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Back in 2002, she replaced Bernadette Peters in a revival on Broadway. My wife has loved [Read More...]

Windfall: Christ Cathedral in Orange gets $20 million anonymous gift

Wow:  A donor who asked not to be named has donated $20 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to help fund its multimillion-dollar renovation and transformation of the 34-acre campus that was once home to Robert A. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. The donation, which will be paid off within seven years, is the largest gift [Read More...]

Church construction in U.S. hits record low

From The Wall Street Journal:  Americans aren’t building churches like they used to anymore. Construction of religious buildings in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest level at any time since private records began in 1967. Religious groups will build an estimated 10.3 million square feet this year, down 6% from 2013 and 80% since [Read More...]

Deacon wins fight against HHS mandate

You may remember the story of Deacon Greg Hall from last year. (This deacon from Texas also made news a few years back, for his work helping to rescue the trapped Chilean miners. ) Now, an update: The U.S District Court for the District of Minnesota issued a permanent injunction in the case of Rev. Mr. (Deacon) Gregory [Read More...]

California diocese sees Catholic school enrollment climb

Details:  Just a few minutes into his first tour of St. Joseph School, Daniel Ramirez was sold. Looking for a new school for his three children, Ramirez walked into the 101-year-old private Catholic school in Santa Ana and saw teachers wearing suits. He also saw that each student had an iPad, that classes were small, [Read More...]

New York court rules chimps do not have human rights

From Science: Advocates of “legal personhood” to chimpanzees have lost another battle. This morning, a New York appellate court rejected a lawsuit by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to free a chimp named Tommy from captivity. The group had argued that the chimpanzee deserved the human right of bodily liberty. “The court nailed it,” writes [Read More...]

“Grossly offensive” Satanic holiday display approved for Florida Capitol

From The Orlando Sentinel:  Unlike last year, a Satanic Temple display will be officially welcome inside Florida’s Capitol during the holiday season. And Festivus, a non-commercial festival “for the rest of us,” will be back as a 6-foot stack of empty beer cans. Also expected are a pair of nativity scenes. The Florida Department of [Read More...]

All is calm, all is bright: terrific Advent video from the Archdiocese of Washington

Hot on the heels of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s clever promotion for the season comes another advertising effort, this one from the Archdiocese of Washington. Turn up the volume—so you can turn it down for Advent. The archdiocese has also launched a website:  It has prayer resources, links, a listing of events and suggestions for [Read More...]

Wife kept man’s corpse for months while praying for his resurrection

Bizarre:  A Canadian family lived with a corpse in their upstairs bedroom for six months because they believed the deceased man would be resurrected if they prayed, but the body was discovered when the family was evicted for not paying the mortgage. Kaling Wald, 50, pleaded guilty to failing to notify police that her husband [Read More...]

Pope dismisses leader of Swiss Guard — UPDATED

Details:  He has dismissed and demoted cardinals, bishops and the Vatican secretary of state, and now Pope Francis’s reformist zeal has claimed a new scalp – the head of his own private army, the Swiss Guard. In a dispassionate one-sentence notice, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, announced on Wednesday that Daniel Anrig will no [Read More...]

Atheist billboard stirs controversy; Catholic diocese hopes it can spark discussion

Details:  The American Atheists organization posted billboards in Memphis, Nashville, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Arkansas aimed toward “in-the-closet atheists who are pressured to observe religious traditions during the holidays.” That’s what organizers say about the billboards, which show a kid wearing a Santa hat with a pen in hand. The kid is writing a letter [Read More...]

Utah group sets record for world’s largest living Nativity scene

Details:  As the sun was getting ready to set Monday in northeast Provo, hundreds of people dressed in white were bathed in its glow. Oh, and add in a camel, donkey and a couple of sheep. It broke a Guinness World Record for the most living figures in a Nativity scene. Officially, there were 1,039 [Read More...]

Alaska cathedral vandalized

From The Catholic Anchor: The historic Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage was vandalized on Dec. 2. The Dominican priests who staff the parish found it damaged and in disarray at about 4:30 p.m. A video of the damage taken by Dominican Father Mark Francis Manzano shows overturned pews, spilt holy water, toppled liturgical furniture, including [Read More...]