What's it like to be a deacon with the pope?

This guy knows: Just under a month ago I was having supper with a friend when a text message arrived from Fr Stephen Langridge. “James,” it said, “I’ve arranged for you to read the Gospel at the welcoming ceremony for the Pope at WYD. Let me know if that’s a problem.” Once I had regained [Read More...]

What the pope will find in Rio in '13: fewer Catholics

The numbers are dwindling, according to this report: Catholic numbers in Brazil strongly declined among all classes in recent years, according to a study released as Rio de Janeiro is slated to host the Catholic World Youth Day in July 2013. Published Wednesday in local media, the results of the “New Map of Religions,” a [Read More...]

The pope and the deacon

Below, a shot some may have overlooked from the World Youth Day festivities last week. Pope Benedict, speaking at the monastery of San Lorenzo de el Escorial  — alongside an image of the great deacon martyr (complete with his dalmatic, ‘natch!).  You can find the text of his address here. [Read more...]

One of a kind: meet the WYD pilgrim from China

Check this out: The final Mass of World Youth Day was a sea of national flags. In the million-strong crowd, however, it was hard to find one particular flag – China. That’s until CNA bumped into Thomas Zeng. “This week has been absolutely fascinating,” said the university student who’s traveled all the way from Shanghai [Read More...]

"My heart was racing, like, majorly…!"

That’s one Maryland pilgrim’s excited response to seeing the pope up close and personal at World Youth Day. What was it like?  She tells us: [Read more...]

"Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness…"

“Yes, dear friends, God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful. We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God. To abide in his love, then, means living a life rooted in [Read More...]

"These news media don't provide trustworthy information about religious faith…"

“In the United States, our battles over abortion, family life, same-sex ‘marriage,’ and other sensitive issues have led to ferocious public smears and legal threats not only against Catholics, but also against Mormons, evangelicals, and other religious believers. And with relatively few exceptions, the mass media tend to cover these disputed issues with a combination [Read More...]

"Live the years of your formation in deep joy…"

The pope spoke to seminarians in Spain today — and his words carry a message, I think, for deacon candidates, too: Dear friends, you are preparing yourselves to become apostles with Christ and like Christ, and to accompany your fellow men and women along their journey as companions and servants. How should you behave during [Read More...]

"Evangelical Catholicism"?

John Allen says it’s on abundant display in Madrid: “Evangelical Catholicism” is a term being used to capture the Catholic version of a 21st century politics of identity, reflecting the long-term historical transition in the West from Christianity as a culture-shaping majority to Christianity as a subculture, albeit a large and influential one. I define [Read More...]

Caught on tape: riot police clash with anti-pope protesters in Madrid

Details, from AFP: Spanish riot police clashed for a second night with protesters as Pope Benedict XVI’s lavish visit inspired a rapturous reception from pilgrims but deep resentment over the costs. Anti-riot police late Thursday swung batons to disperse about 150 protesters, seething over the scale of the party, who had gathered in the central [Read More...]