Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Virginia O Hanlon

In 1897 Francis Pharcellus Church, who had been a war correspondent during the Civil War, was working as an editor at The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper.In 1897 an eight-year-old girl by the name of Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father whether Santa Claus really existed.  Her father—Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant from Manhattan’s Upper West Side—encouraged her to write to The Sun to ask the question.  “If you see it in The Sun,” he said, “it’s so.”Francis Church answer … [Read more...]

Merry Progressive Holiday!

Progressive Christmas

It's that time of year--when we sing about the birth of the newborn King.... or else we don't.If you are irritated this year by the disappearance of Christmas' religious significance in the public square, you'll get a chuckle listening to these "Progressive Christmas Carols." God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen We wish you happy holidays, whoever you may be So merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, or heck all three We've modernized these jingles for the massive bourgeoisie Love, The Updated … [Read more...]

Coffee Table Book Tells the Story of Jesus’ Birth and Life in Beautiful Images

Mary of Nazareth - book cover

Have you seen "Mary of Nazareth", the latest feature film from Ignatius Press?Last week, Zenit carried my review of the film, which has just been released on DVD, and my interview with Alissa Jung, the German star who played the role of Mary, the Mother of God.  Now, though, I want to tell you about the book.Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures by Father Donald Calloway is based on the movie--but it includes much more.  It's a beautiful coffee table book, with its rich color … [Read more...]

William E. May, Moral Theologian, Rest In Peace

Dr. William E. May

William E. May, moral theologian who taught at The Catholic University of America  from 1971 through 2008, has died at the age of 87.Dr. May was the Michael J. McGivney Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America.  He had taught at the Institute for 17 years, from 1991 to 2008.  Before that, he taught moral theology at The Catholic University of America from 1971 to 1991.In Septem … [Read more...]

Say a Prayer for Pope Francis Today, As He Celebrates His Priesthood Anniversary

Pope Francis priesthood anniversary

Yes, he is the Vicar of Christ, leader of the Catholic Church in the entire world.  But today, Pope Francis is remembering his priestly ordination.  It was on December 13, 1969 that he was ordained by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano, Archbishop of Córdoba.This morning, Pope Francis asked for prayer for himself, and for all priests.Here, from Catholic Online, a prayer for a priest:  O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father [N]. Give him … [Read more...]

A Conversion of Consequence: Russell Saltzman Has Crossed the Tiber

Tiber River

It is with great pleasure that I welcome my friend Russell E. Saltzman, a former Lutheran pastor and a former journalist, into the Catholic Faith.In the years since we became internet friends, Russ--who has been a columnist for First Things--has shared delightful stories about his friendship with the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.  I was pleased, a few months ago, to review Russ's book Speaking of the Dead: When We All Fall Down, a book of funeral homilies which offered a glimpse into Russ' f … [Read more...]

Obama’s Scripture Stumble, and Seven Other Sayings That Aren’t Really in the Bible

Glass house

On Tuesday, President Obama (or his speechwriters) made a mistake that has the Christian world snickering.  Speaking about his immigration policy at a town hall meeting in Nashville, the President said, "The Good Book says don't throw stones at glass houses, or make sure we're looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks' eyes." The problem is, the Bible doesn't say anything about glass houses.  Although glass had been invented as early as 4,000 B.C., I'm p … [Read more...]

Whatever Happened to “Merry Christmas”?

Merry Christmas

Excuse me, but isn't there something special happening in the next couple of weeks?We're almost halfway through Advent, and you know what I'm missing? Christmas lights! I miss colored lights on all the shops, as we drive through the business district.I miss music--I miss singing along to the strains of "O Holy Night" wafting through the department stores and blaring from speakers along the sidewalks.I miss Santa's boisterous "Ho, ho, ho!" in the mall, the smiles of shoppers with … [Read more...]

Wise Words in Soft Brown Leather: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living

A Year with the Church Fathers

I love a beautiful book.  And A Year With the Church Fathers is certainly beautiful, with its gilded pages, its ribbon marker, its beautiful art, its presentation page!  I could smell the soft leather when I tore the wrapper off the package.I found the meditations easy to read and understand.  Author Mike Aquilina explains how he arrived at the very clear, easily accessible translations: "The meditations are taken from classic translations of the Fathers.  I've modernized the language to mak … [Read more...]

Bergoglio’s List: The Untold Story of Pope Francis’ Heroism in the Face of Evil

Bergoglios List

In 1976, the Argentinian military overthrew the government of President Isabel Perón in the so-called "Dirty War."  In the ensuing nine years, the dictatorship suppressed "subversives"--abducting, torturing and even murdering as many as 30,000 people.At the time of the Dirty War, a 39-year-old Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio--the future Pope Francis--was head of the Jesuit province in Argentina.There have been conflicting stories about what he did during the dark years of dict … [Read more...]