Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: St. Francis at the United Nations

A page from the "Canticle of the Creatures" by Francis of Assisi

People in the small town of Gubbio, Italy, lived in fear.  A ferocious wolf lived in the countryside near the town, and the wolf had attacked the townspeople so that they were afraid to leave their homes.  Frightened that the wolf would kill their children or themselves, the people of Gubbio turned to St. Francis, known as a peacemaker, to intervene. According to legend, Francis went out to meet the wolf with no weapons, only the message of the Gospel.  Francis quietly spoke to the wolf, cal … [Read more...]

Brittany Maynard’s Mother Calls Vatican Statement “A Slap In the Face”

Brittany Maynard

Brittany Maynard's mother is angry.  Debbie Ziegler, whose 29-year-old daughter Brittany committed suicide rather than face the uncertain death with terminal brain cancer, reacted to a statement issued by the Vatican following Brittany's unfortunate act, by issuing a statement of her own.Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, had called her death "reprehensible" and said that physician-assisted suicide should be condemned.  Mrs. Ziegler, f … [Read more...]

“Talking About Gayness” and “Being Gay” Are Two Different Things

Gay and Catholic - Tushnet

Gay and Catholic:  Is that even a thing?You can fill your bookcase with books about homosexuality.  Most of the dozens of titles released in the last ten years help to categorize and explain same-sex attraction, scanning Church teaching and defining terms, offering spiritual support.  There are books which offer helps to break out of the homosexual lifestyle, and books intended to help parents, family members and friends of the active homosexual to better understand their loved one.  Most, th … [Read more...]

Pope Francis’ New Idea: Raffling Off His Stuff for Charity!

Pope Francis riding in a Fiat during his trip to Brazil

A Fiat.  A coffee maker.  Some bikes.These are among the gifts which Pope Francis has received from fans and visitors.  And rather than stashing the unneeded items in a closet or a garage, this most practical pontiff is raffling them off to raise money for the poor and homeless.Posters advertising the raffle have gone up around Rome.  The raffle tickets, priced at 10 Euros ($13), are on sale at the Vatican Post Office and Vatican Pharmacy, as well as at the Museums and the Pilgrim and Tou … [Read more...]

Vatican To Hold Three-Day Conference on Autism

Autism 2

In a press conference this morning in Vatican City, the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers presented its 29th International Conference.  The topic of this year's conference is Autism. More than 650 people from 57 different countries are expected to attend this year's conference, which is titled "The Person With Autism Spectrum Disorders:  Animating Hope".Speakers at the conference on November 20-22, 2014 include:Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Co … [Read more...]

God and Abraham Playing “Theological Chicken”: Spitzer and Dershowitz Face Off in Mock Trial

Abraham, preparing to sacrifice his son, is stopped by an angel MARY EVANS PICTURE LIBRARY/EVERETT COLLECTION

Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer faced off against famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz November 16 in a mock trial before an audience of 1,300. *     *     *     *     * The one-hour trial, which took place at Temple Emanu-El synagogue on New York's Upper East Side, sought to answer the question once and for all:Was the biblical patriarch Abraham guilty of attempted murder and endangering the welfare of his son, Isaac?You remember the story:  Abraham led his son Isaac up a moun … [Read more...]

CONFIRMED: Pope Francis Is Coming to Philly!

Logo - World Meeting of Families

The Pope is coming to America! We knew there was a good chance that Pope Francis would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which had been established by his predecessor; but we had no assurance until now. On Monday, November 17, Pope Francis made the announcement at the Colloquium on Complementarity of Man and Woman.  He said:"I wish to confirm according to the wishes of the Lord, that in September 2015, I will go to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. … [Read more...]

Some of You Thought I Was Wrong About Patti Smith. You May Be Right, But…

Patti Smith

Well now!  Yesterday, I wrote about Pope Francis' invitation to Patti Smith to sing in the Vatican's annual Christmas Concert.  Both the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera and the International Business Times reported that Smith is one of the artists invited to perform at the annual Concerto di Natale, which will take place Dec. 13 at Auditorium Conciliazione and will be televised live on Italian television. I thought the punk rocker was an odd selection, considering the preponderance of g … [Read more...]

WHY PATTI SMITH? Pope Francis Invites Legendary Punk Rocker to Play Christmas Concert at the Vatican

Pope Francis greets Patti Smith after the Wednesday General Audience on April 13, 2013

Yesterday it was announced that Pope Francis invited Sr. Cristina Scuccia, who catapulted to fame after her appearance on Italy's "The Voice", and American punk rocker Patti Smith to play at the Vatican's Christmas Concert on December 13.The concert, which will be held December 13 at Rome's Auditorium Conciliazione, will be televised live. *     *     *     *     * I love Sr. Cristina, and I look forward to the release of her first album.But Patti Smith?  I confess, I'm not much of a fo … [Read more...]

Did Concerns Re. the Pope’s Agenda Color the USCCB General Assembly? Bishop Coyne Says Definitely Not

Bishop Christopher Coyne

At this week's General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indiana was elected by his brother bishops to the Chairmanship of the USCCB's Committee on Communications.Bishop Coyne is well known to Catholics on social media--as a blogger and writer, on television and radio, on Facebook and on Twitter.  In years past, his helpful tweets live from the floor of the USCCB have kept me apprised of what's happening in the Catholic world.On hi … [Read more...]