Twitter Advice for the Pope and What to Ask Him?

So, two days ago the Vatican announced the Pope's new Twitter handle and relative hashtags. Since then, Pope Benedict XVI has amassed about half a million English-speaking followers (he will tweet in 8 Languages) and there are innumerable (and sometimes irreverent, often downright hateful) questions awaiting him at the #AskPontifex feed. The pope is not at a loss for reaction or, for that matter, advice. Our friend Brandon Vogt offers His Holiness Five Suggestions as he becomes a Tweeting … [Read more...]

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Does Church Suppress God’s Will? That’s Wicked, Right?

Like Mark Shea, I too thought the National Catholic Reporter had endorsed female ordination years ago. I actually had no intention of writing about it for my First Things column, today.Yet somehow -- and though I had intended to write more about Calah Alexander and the idea of a Ministry of Succor to young mothers, I ended up at female ordination, asking a few questions about NCR's stand:The overbearing men of Rome, most particularly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are depicted as … [Read more...]

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@Pontifex Papa Comes to Twitter! #HabemusPapam

So, the big news this morning is the rollout of Pope Benedict XVI's new twitter handle, which is @Pontifex.You can also follow feeds using the hashtags #HabemusPapam and even #AskPontifex, because His Holiness will be taking the occasional question. The man has written bajillions of brilliant, instructive, eye-opening and mind-blowing words, and now he is going to tackle the 140 character theology challenge of twitter!Huzzah, sez I! This is the logical and savvy next step in the … [Read more...]

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A Year of Faith! A Year of Discussion!

Here at Patheos, we like to say we are "hosting the discussion on faith", and we try to live up to it.To that end, and as the Holy Father today declares open a dedicated "Year of Faith", we at Patheos are today launching a dedicated Year of Faith Page.Every week throughout the Year of Faith that page will be showcasing Catholic voices from around the world, featuring people of all stripes and callings – women and men, and Catholic youth; bishops, religious, deacons and priests – all … [Read more...]

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Plenary Indulgence for Year of Faith? What IS That?

Yeah, I know, indulgences have gotten a bad rap, thanks to past-abuse in our history, and myths do abound, but an indulgence is a good thing, and something that helps Catholics pursue active devotions and grow in understanding and piety. I'm really happy to read that the Vatican has decreed a plenary indugence for the Year of Faith:During the whole span of the Year of Faith, proclaimed from October 11, 2012 to the whole of November 24, 2013, all individual faithful truly repentant, duly … [Read more...]

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Portrait of Saint Francis, Subiaco – UPDATED

When we visited the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco in 2010, my husband -- obedient fellow that he is -- did not take pictures of the glorious and vivid ancient frescoes that so fully adorn its walls. It was a grief to me, at the time, because my eyes couldn't take it all in, and I wanted to remember. But of course, I got the souvenir book, which I do look at, and there is the internet, where one can still get a glimpse.It's not the same as being there, of course, amid the cave where Benedict … [Read more...]

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Happy Feast of Saint Benedict – UPDATES

Happy Feast Day of Saint Benedict!Vision of Saint Benedict (c.1360). Giovanni del Biondo (fl.1356-1392). Tempera on wood. © Art Gallery of Ontario. PMA:J99.1089. Saint Benedict marvels at the smallness of the world, in contrast with the immensity and appeal of heaven.About an hour's ride from Rome, one reaches Subiaco, and there one may visit the cave where Benedict of Norcia, 1400 years ago, spent time in isolated prayer (I touched my rosary to its walls!) and marvel over the … [Read more...]

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The Talking, Thinking and Wondering Will Continue

There is a saying attributed to St. Gregory of Nyssa, that I used to keep up on my header: "Ideas lead to idols; only wonder leads to knowing."I wonder about that phrase often, and continually draw new understanding as I apply it to different subject matters. It reminds me that I am not only free to ponder, but that as a Catholic, I am (quite contra-CW) required to think. Not to give in to the soft tyranny of sentimentalism until I'm so busy feeling that thinking is dismissed; not to … [Read more...]

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Benedict at 85: a Cloister Unto Himself

Today is the 85 birthday of our dear Pope Benedict XVI, and he speaks very plainly to the day:“I find myself on the last stretch of my journey in life, and I don’t know what is awaiting me.”“I know, however, that the light of God exists, that he is risen, that his light is stronger than any darkness and that God’s goodness is stronger than any evil in this world, and this helps me go forward with certainty."In a few days we'll celebrate the 7th anniversary of his pontificate. I canno … [Read more...]

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A Partly Cloudy Reminder of Truth in Love

Last night, after Easter entertaining, my husband and I collapsed on the couch and, flipping through the channels, found a re-broadcasting of Pixar's wonderful short film, "Partly Cloudy", which you can see here.Enjoying it again, I told my husband I had actually written about the short, tying it into Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.The piece was lost-in-transit from First Things to Patheos, but I was able to reconstruct most of it -- the internet is a glorious … [Read more...]

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