Pretend you’re Starbucks.

So far, I have met zero Christians who are mad at Starbucks. My Facebook feed has, however, been overrun by Christians who don't care what Starbucks puts on its cups, and are embarrassed by the few noisy meat heads who say they feel persecuted by having to drink their $11 lattes out of a red cup rather than a red cup with a light red reindeer on it.Which leads me to believe that this is one of those Big Fat Nothing stories, and the more noise we make about denouncing it, the closer to … [Read more...]

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Hunger and Help: Are Community Fridges the Answer?

  The community fridge not only feeds the hungry, but helps cut down on waste. In the United States, recent data suggests that as much as "133 billion pounds of food ... [or] 31 percent of the total food supply" is wasted in a typical year, rather than going to feed someone --  a waste which Pope Francis said is "like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry." But food safety laws prevent communities in the U.S. from setting up community refrigerators like the one in Spain.. A co … [Read more...]

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Am I my brother’s enabler?

Don't worry, I'm not going to write about Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner; not really. (The best take I've read on that topic is here.)I do want to talk about a question circling, like a fly around an overripe peach, the topic of Jenner, transsexuals, sex, gender, gender dysphoria, and gender reassignment surgery: the question of whether we ought to call someone "she" just because that someone wants to be called "she," even if we think that someone is really a he.  It's the question of how we should r … [Read more...]

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Grace is free, but not all fees are simony

The expense of obtaining a decree of nullity makes it difficult for some people to come into full communion with the Church. When annulments are expensive, there is also the risk that outsiders (or even Catholics) perceive that annulment is just "Catholic divorce," for sale to parishioners with enough ready cash. But here's the problem: it really does cost money to do it right. Read the rest at the Register. image By Gratianus (culture.gouv.fr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons … [Read more...]

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Service-based family trips?

Great question from a reader:I appreciated your article in Catholic Digest about worthwhile charities.  I was wondering if, in your research, you may have come across any charities that encourage families to get involved?  I am desperately looking for an organization that encourages families to come, maybe for a week or two during the summer, to engage in service in a supportive Catholic environment.  I used to volunteer with such a group in rural Appalachia (the Passionist Volunteers, but th … [Read more...]

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Hot showers for the homeless, courtesy of St. Peter

It's been many years since I was in Rome, but I remember my first impression of the city: it's extremely beautiful, and it smells like poop. Part of that smell comes because Italians tend to have dogs, rather than children. And part of the smell comes because, at least when I was there, public bathrooms are few and far between, and they are coin operated. The phrase "eternal city" takes on a whole new meaning when you are penniless, on foot, and have nowhere to go for hour upon hour. For a col … [Read more...]

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What did the Pope mean by “sins against unity”?

 PIC house with cracked foundation Ideas are like houses, and other people are like . . . well, like people who live in those houses. If I lived next to a house with a huge, gaping crack in the foundation, and I discovered that a lovely young family was innocently planning to move into that house, what should I do? Should I keep quiet, in the name of peace and unity?   Read the rest at the Register. … [Read more...]

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