“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...]

Ordination update: 3 new deacons for La Crosse

Details:  Three men of faith were ordained as permanent deacons for the Diocese of La Crosse on Oct. 25 – but to tell by the size of the congregation, it could almost have been 30 men. Gathering at the Mass for Ordination to the Diaconate, more than 400 family and friends poured into the Cathedral [Read More...]

Citing Ebola concerns, diocese bans priest travel to West Africa

Details:  Citing the seriousness of the Ebola epidemic and a concern for the faithful in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, Bishop Salvatore Matano has banned priests from traveling to West Africa, the epicenter of the outbreak. Any priest who defies the order by making a trip without permission from the bishop or the diocesan [Read More...]

The more things change …

This is remarkable, via The Anchoress, quoting one of my heroes, Thomas Merton: “It has been remarked with truth that conservatives and progressives in the Church are so concerned with total victory over each other that they are more and more closed to each other. If this is the case, one seriously wonders about the [Read More...]

R.I.P., Mary Newman

Every parish has its familiar fixtures: the windows, the statues, the shrines, the candles.  At my parish in Queens for years we have also had a determined little woman with a delicate Irish brogue and a world-weary smile: Mary Newman. She was a force of nature. Mary was unquestionably the most determined and tireless fundraiser [Read More...]

Pope Francis asks faithful to pray for bishops: “It isn’t easy. We are all sinners, so pray for us.”

From his Wednesday audience: A Church that is not united around its bishop is a sick Church.  Jesus wanted unity between the bishop and all the faithful, starting with priests and deacons. However the role of bishop is not a position of honor, it is a service.  Therefore, there is no room in the Church [Read More...]

Flannery O’Connor added to American Poet’s Corner at Episcopal cathedral

Details:  The writer Flannery O’Connor was inducted into The American Poet’s Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014. The induction ceremony included a traditional Choral Evensong featuring excerpts from O’Connor’s writing and reflections on the religious implications of her work. A procession led the assembled congregation, [Read More...]

Minneapolis pastor hosts controversial priest, cites pope “wanting a mess”

Somehow, I think we’ll be hearing more stories like this one:  A south Minneapolis church plans to bring in controversial Irish Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery to speak on Wednesday, despite warnings from Archbishop John Nienstedt. And the church’s pastor is using the words of a powerful church leader to justify it: Pope Francis. Father Mike Tegeder, pastor [Read More...]

Parish hopes to save priceless art in New York church slated for merger—UPDATED

An interesting sidebar to the church merger story in the Archdiocese of New York, via The New York Post:  A Midtown church slated to close as part of a massive shakeup by the Archdiocese of New York is a veritable art museum filled with dozens of stunning murals painted by a world-renowned artist — and [Read More...]

Pope slams “rivalry, vainglory” in the Church

From Monday’s homily:  Taking a cue from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, the Pope noted that a bishop’s joy lies in seeing love, unity and harmony in his Church. “This harmony – he said – is a grace, which the Holy Spirit creates, but we must do our part, we must do [Read More...]

Fr. Rutler on NY church mergers: “There’s not a decline in Catholic population; there’s a decline in Catholic life”

A timely and interesting interview by Aleteia’s John Burger with the well-known New York priest: Father George Rutler is administrator of both Holy Innocents and the West Side Church of St. Michael, which also was passed over by the reorganization plan. Father Rutler, author of Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, and other works, spoke with [Read More...]

Want some advice on prayer? Here.

One of my favorite Protestant preachers, Tim Keller, offers his perspective to RNS:  RNS: Many people don’t know what to say when they pray? Any advice here? TK: First, just pray what’s on your heart and don’t worry. God is wise and will hear your desire and answer the request in the best way. Second, use [Read More...]

The best thing I’ve read about Brittany Maynard—UPDATED

From the incomparable Joanne McPortland:  We are all dying. To be alive is to be moving always toward the weekend of saints and souls. There is no choice involved. What we can control, some of us, partially, is how we choose to arrive there. And we can all choose how to walk with others through [Read More...]

Picture of the Week—and it’s only Monday

From the Swiss Guard’s Facebook page: [Read more...]

Kentucky Catholic school teacher resigns, blames Ebola scare—UPDATED

Details:  This morning a local school teacher who performs mission work in Kenya is blaming her resignation on the Ebola scare. Susan Sherman taught students at Saint Margaret Mary on Shelbyville Road. In her letter of resignation, Sherman said she had been told many students, teachers, parents and parishioners are unhappy with her decision to [Read More...]