Prayer Request

From a woman who wants to be The Anonymous Protestant:I'd like to request prayer for an 81 year old man who is dying of renal failure, congestive heart disease and pulmonary fibrosis. He has been arguing with me about the existence of God for over 30 years. When I read a post, some time back, by Julie at Happy Catholic about talking to her dad and getting him to promise that if he saw Jesus reaching out to him in the moment of his death to reach back and take Jesus' hand, I asked my friend … [Read more...]

Horizontal Schisms meet Vertical Hope

Every once in a while, something comes across the desk or email and and it makes you aware of how quickly time goes by.For instance, it seems like just yesterday, I was talking about debuting a new column in The Catholic Answer Magazine, and "holy smokes...a month has gone by!" and here is my second column, entitled "And They Will Set You Free"Imagine a people, and the church in which they grow up — a church in which the people worshipped with fervor during adolescence and to which, perhaps … [Read more...]

Constitutional Erosion: Freedom of Religion UPDATES

Over at First Things, I'm wondering about the apparent tag-teaming of the church by legislators and courts intent on reshaping the notion of rights and entitlements until they become difficult to tell apart:"But here is the question: if a church-based organization has—for decades—served the community through placement assistance for adoption or foster care, and if that service is now to be defined as an “entitlement,” is it one that should be lost or preserved under the constitution? The argume … [Read more...]

Patheos Book Club: Catholicism and New Media

From today until October 15, the Patheos Book Club will be taking in-depth looks at three books, Father Robert Barron's Catholicism: a Journey to the Heart of the Faith, Brandon Vogt's The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet, and Richard J. Foster's Sanctuary of the Soul; a Journey into Meditative PrayerI confess, I know nothing about Sanctuary of the Soul, although it looks very interesting (and I will check it out) but that's only because for … [Read more...]

Freedom of Religion Under Assault

I have to stop blogging and start writing two columns and an introduction to a book, but I wanted to just encourage you to be aware of two important stories, and perhaps take the time to make a phone call or send an email:Julie at Happy Catholic writes: ...Margaret at ten thousand places rightly points out that this is a much bigger issue. Which is, of course, what Keith Rothfus points out in his letter.And, I forgot that today is the deadline.Today is the last day to voice your concerns … [Read more...]

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Martyr? UPDATED

Contrary to some of the hyped-up rhetoric I see in my email, and in the comboxes of those covering the lastest dustup between a prominent priest (who frankly seems to need a rest) and his bishop (who has asked him to take some time for recollection and prayer), ecclesial oversight and accountability to the bishop to which you've vowed obedience is not martrydom.But if we needed an example that genuine martrydom is still happening, we might pay attention to this story which is getting much less … [Read more...]

Finally, a movie I can't wait to see…

Almost nothing in the theaters is urging me to plunk down ten bucks, but The Way is, and Santiago Ramos' review is just whetting my appetite even more:El Camino de Santiago, or the “Way of St. James,” is a pilgrimage route in Spain which stretches for around 500 miles, if you start from the most popular starting point in the French Pyrenees. The path leads right up to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in the Spanish region of Galicia, where the remains of St. James the Apostle rest and a … [Read more...]

"Be not afraid…."

Lisa Mladinich on the stage fright of teaching religion:The afternoon I registered my daughter for her first-grade religion class, I had no intention of signing on as a teacher. I was too busy writing a novel and working as a freelance puppeteer. I simply made the mistake of volunteering to "help out," since I'd be waiting around for her anyway, and got roped into teaching her class.I walked out of the parish center with my heart in my throat.Yeah, the old "you're going to be here anyway, … [Read more...]

"One More Innocent…"

When my son Buster was a small toddler he would make up these epic, anthemic songs that made sense only to him. One of them, as I recall, had a refrain that went, "bear's not, bear's not, bear's not dead..."Sing it to Amy Grant's "Every Heartbeat." Somehow it works.Another of his songs -- and it was the show-stopper, full of emotion and broad, dramatic arm gestures -- included the interesting sentiment that there was "one more innocent to go..."He was like, three years old. So I have to … [Read more...]

On Clergy, NYFD, Bloomberg Not Budging

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that Mayor Mike Bloomberg was inviting neither clergy nor First Responders to the 9/11 Memorial service in NYC.I thought public outcry might move the mule, but without any push from mainstream media, he is comfortably sticking to his guns. No clergy, no prayer, and there's no room for the First Responders, either. Only a few will be there, by special invitation.Making the point that the first recorded death at the WTC was Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, and … [Read more...]