Newly App’d (but Always Apt) Pope Talks Up Social Media UPDATES

Yesterday saw the release of the Vatican's new "Pope App", which is so well-done that even God and the Machine's Tom McDonald gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, writing, "I may have to take back all the bad things I’ve been saying about Vatican communications. (Okay, some of them.)"I downloaded the app to my phone last night, and agree that it's pretty groovy. But right on the heals of that app roll-out, the pope has more to offer on these virtual fields in which the sheep do graze.On … [Read more...]

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Of He-Men, Fathers and Popes who Do Not Swagger

If you are not subscribing to The Catholic Answer, you're missing a lot of good stuff. My column for the Jan/Feb issue jumps off an interesting piece on the Feast of the Throne of Peter, to ponder why it is that the Vicar of Christ--beginning with Peter, himself--does not swagger:For competitive purposes, our fathers were invested with outsized swagger, but, in truth, we held them in a bit of awe and wonder. If our mothers were so familiar to us that we went running to them interchangeably … [Read more...]

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A Papal Validation from @Pontifex on Twitter

Those who think that Pope Benedict XVI is engaged in mere schtick by making an occasional tweet during a papal audience should think again. If we believe that the Holy Spirit can use all things to God's purposes -- even the most confounding things in the most surprising ways -- there is no reason to think that twitter will not be used thusly.The Holy Spirit can do anything. It can even make a tweet generated by a pope, and meant to appeal to a very broad audience, become an intensely … [Read more...]

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A couple of last-minute gift ideas!

This landed in my mailbox yesterday: James Hitchcock's History of the Catholic ChurchLooks delicious, and I can't wait to read it, but before I could even peer at it, my son -- who likes reading all sorts of history -- grabbed it. He's been outside on the porch, reading and smoking, and reading, and he says he's loving it. So...a Buster recommend! If he didn't like it he'd say so, succinctly and in no uncertain terms.I was really happy to receive a signed copy of Amy Welborn and Ann … [Read more...]

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Newtown and New Media: must we “do better” on big questions? UPDATED

That's the question I'm asking in my column at First Things, this week. More correctly, I suppose I am wondering, does the Pope (and the church) need to do better with the "hard" questions of faith that are now subject to New Media?Or do we -- and especially the non-believers who are pining for "big" questions -- simply not understanding the depth of the answers?It all started with a tweetback from...a self-described “Agnostic Atheist, Freethinker, Skeptic . . . ” called the Pon … [Read more...]

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Benedict in Lebanon; A Shepherd Led

A friend of mine, after considering this staggering map of today's widespread unrest, asked me why the Pope has not cancelled or at least postponed his trip to Lebanon.I emailed back, "this pope has seen a lot of history and the passings of all kinds of seasons -- seasons of fear, unreast, penance, tyranny -- they've all passed like pageants before him. But he has spent his whole life anchored to what is eternal, unchanging and timeless, and so he is trained to the longview. He understands … [Read more...]

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Leah Libresco, Media’s Favorite Puzzle

When Leah Libresco informed me that she was entering an RCIA program and wanted to know how to move her blog over here to the Catholic portal, she said she thought there might a some reaction to her conversion, but not enough to take up a whole day, so her main plan was to "sit on the porch and eat ice cream."I'm thinking the vanilla swirl has melted and congealed in the bowl, by now.Being busy with travel and a conference since last Wednesday, I've been a mostly-passive observer of the … [Read more...]

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“No one hates men! But…damn these men!” – UPDATED

On Facebook, Diane of Te-Deum blog embedded this interview between Christiane Amanpour and Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, whom Amanpour calls "a practicing nun."Because she's a class-A journalist, is the haughty Christiane. She's like the Anna Wintour of elite broadcasters, but even less interesting.Full disclosure: as a Benedictine Oblate, I've read and gleaned much wisdom from Sister Joan's books on Monasticism; she has a lot of good and instructive things to say about the psalms and … [Read more...]

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A Papal-Ordered Penance – UPDATED

Joanne writes on the pope-ordered penance that accompanied the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland:. . . at the request of the Holy Father—the papal legate Cardinal Mark Ouellet spent last night in St Patrick’s Purgatory, fasting and keeping barefoot vigil in prayer for reconciliation and healing of the grievous wounds dealt by Ireland’s clergy abuse scandals. [...]Of course, this gesture will be read by many (if not most) as one more cynical photo opp, one mo … [Read more...]

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Pelosi Tries to Give Talking Points to Catholics – UPDATED

Right on schedule, Nancy Pelosi tries to do what Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo have done before her: give talking points to Catholics who wish to hop on to policy that flies in the face of church teaching.You'll recall it was Kennedy (and later Cuomo) who gave voice to the corkscrew notion that one could be “personally opposed” to abortion but too broad-minded to “impose my views on others.”Because, as you know, modern-day liberals would never presume to impose their views on others, not a … [Read more...]

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