Pew: Pope Francis enjoys broad support, positive image across much of the world

Some highlights of a new survey:  Pope Francis, leader of the world’s nearly 1.1 billion Catholics, enjoys broad support across much of the world, according to a new survey report by the Pew Research Center. A median of 60% across 43 nations have a favorable view of the pontiff. Only 11% see the pope unfavorably, [Read More...]

Humanist group objects to public school children attending abstinence talk

Details:  A humanist group is objecting to a public school in southwestern Minnesota sending students this fall to hear an abstinence talk that it says had religious aspects. The American Humanist Association sent a letter Tuesday to Luverne Public Schools, saying students were sent during school hours on Sept. 30 to hear a presentation by [Read More...]

Diocese in U.K. issues directory on permanent deacons

And it makes for interesting reading. Among other things, across the pond they suggest “Rev. Deacon” as a form of address, and advocate wearing a cassock, cotta (a.k.a., surplice) and stole for baptisms and weddings. But that’s for starters. There’s much more about the faculties accorded the deacon, his formation, and the discernment of candidates (including [Read More...]

A timely reminder: torture is “intrinsically evil”

The details coming out of Washington this day are horrifying:  A CIA-led interrogation program kept suspects in cold cells, doused them with refrigerated water and force-fed some rectally, according to graphic details revealed today in a report by Senate Democrats. At least one detainee died in an unheated cell. Another tried to chew his arm and committed [Read More...]

World Meeting of Families debuts official hymn: “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom”

Kathy Schiffer got the scoop: On Sunday, November 30,worshippers at a Mass at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul heard for the first time the hymn that will be played at Pope Francis’ Mass during next year’s World Meeting of Families. “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” was co-written by Norbertine Father Andrew Ciferni and [Read More...]

A Deacon’s Prayer

I attended a deacon vicariate meeting tonight and this beautiful prayer was given to us on a holy card. It is credited to Deacon Lazaro J. Ulloa.  A Deacon’s Prayer Come to my assistance my Lord and my God, that I may do for You all that you ask. Strengthen me in adversity and do [Read More...]

Thanksgiving Mass in Maryland

We dropped by a nearby parish in Rockville, Maryland for Mass this morning: St. Mary’s. Twenty eight years ago, we were married in the tiny chapel next door. Today, we worshipped in the more modern parish church. The newer church—often known by locals as “the spaceship”— was dedicated in 1967. The interior has a decidedly post-Vatican [Read More...]

“Do not give way to depression: Hope!”

“When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history, let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads. Do not give way to depression: Hope! Reality is ugly: there are many, many people, cities and people, so many [Read More...]

“By the goodness of God, we are so far from want”: A Thanksgiving homily

I’ll be traveling today, but before I head out the door I wanted to leave you with this: my Thanksgiving homily from 2009.  My heart is full of gratitude for all who find their way to these pages. Know that when I count my blessings, you are all among them. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all! ++ [Read More...]

Miracle? Fire destroys church, but crucifix is discovered intact

Photo: Gary Reyes / Bay Area News Group Details: The morning after the spectacular fire, the Rev. Firmo Mantovani and bleary-eyed members of his parish were stunned by the wondrous sight inside the burned out shell of Holy Cross Catholic Church. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” said Sam Arlotta, a parishioner for all of [Read More...]