Seminarian with brain cancer writes to Brittany Maynard: “Our lives are worth living”

Remarkable and moving witness, from the Diocese of Raleigh website: Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who has terminal brain cancer, has written an article responding to Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who has publicly stated her plan to commit suicide due to the fact that she has a terminal [Read More...]

Pope Francis: division in the Body of Christ “dismembers us” and starts war

Once again, the pope has delivered a message that, in light of recent events, might be seen not only as timely but also pointed: The Church as the Body of Christ was the focus of Pope Francis general audience this Wednesday morning, attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists in an autumnal St. [Read More...]

The synod revealed “a movement of plates that make up the map of the Catholic world”

Theology professor Massimo Faggioli has a compelling analysis of the recently-completed synod—one that is based not just on ideology, but also on geography. Take a look: What took place over the two weeks of the Synod was a genuine debate between competing ideas of what the church’s relationship ought to be with modern culture, the [Read More...]

New York Catholic high school changes course, cancels film shoot with gay theme

Details: A Catholic boys’ school has reversed its permission to allow civil rights drama Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a lesbian couple, to shoot on location in New York State. Salesian high school in New Rochelle, New York, had been expected to double for a town hall in Ocean County, New Jersey, where Moore’s [Read More...]

Ben Bradlee, the pope and me

I met Ben Bradlee once nearly 40 years ago, when I took a summer journalism seminar for high school students at the University of Maryland. The teacher was a junior editor at The Washington Post, and he scored the great coup of getting his boss, Bradlee, to come in one day to talk with us [Read More...]

Chaput: clergy might stop signing marriage licenses as “principled resistance”

Strong words from the Archbishop of Philadelphia: Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says he was “very disturbed” by the debate over church teachings on gays and remarried Catholics at this month’s Vatican summit, saying it sent a confusing message, and “confusion is of the devil.” In a lecture delivered Monday evening in Manhattan, Chaput also suggested [Read More...]

Crescat: the big issue the bishops at the synod overlooked

This was, in her estimation, a glaring sin of omission—and I think she’s absolutely correct. What was missing?  Single parents—perhaps the most neglected demographic in the Catholic Church, and one that is only growing. As Katrina notes:  “Special attention should be given to the accompaniment of single-parent families, in a particular way to help women who [Read More...]

Are you free Wednesday night? Stop by and spend an hour with Jesus, the Little Sisters, and me

I got a very nice email a couple months back from The Little Sisters of the Poor, inviting me to take part in their monthly Holy Hour for vocations here in Queens. I was happy to accept. I’ll be there tomorrow, Wednesday October 22, at 6:30. I’ll offer a brief reflection on my own vocation and, I [Read More...]

Possible treatment for paralysis? “This is more impressive than a man walking on the moon”

A remarkable development that appears to show great promise—and, not insignificantly, involves using adult cells: Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack, can walk again after doctors used a new technique to construct a “nerve bridge” between two stumps of his damaged spinal column. The technique, described in the [Read More...]

Pope: “A Christian is one who knows how to await Jesus…he or she is a person of hope”

“He who does not await Jesus, who closes his door to Jesus, does not allow him to go forward with his work of peace, of community, of citizenship. And he does more: he gives us a name. He renders us children of God. We need to adopt an attitude that contains Christian hope. A Christian [Read More...]

Fiancée, family of Dallas Ebola victim staying at Catholic conference center

Details from The Dallas Morning News:  Bishop Kevin J. Farrell said he hesitated only briefly before offering up the Catholic Diocese’s conference center as housing for Louise Troh and her family. “I had to think of the consequences but it was in my heart all the time that I had to do something,” Farrell said Monday, [Read More...]

From 1978: Ratzinger on Paul VI, “who fought strenuously against the idea of retiring”

A priest reader brought this to my attention: a homily delivered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Germany a few days after the death of Pope Paul VI—now Blessed Paul VI. The homily is both eloquent and poignant, with one passage that seems almost prophetic:  Paul VI increasingly accepted his papal service as a metamorphosis of [Read More...]

Watch out, Madonna: Sister Cristina turns “Like a Virgin” into a prayer—UPDATED

This is something. Italy’s fabled “Singing Nun” from “The Voice” has released her first video, and it is lightyears from what Madonna must have imagined. The original video, of course, featured the singer gliding through the canals of Venice as a bride. Well, here we have the singer as a bride of Christ. Singing in and around churches. [Read More...]

If you’ve read “Rebuilt,” you’ll want to read this

The book “Rebuilt” has become something of a phenomenon of modern American Catholicism: the story of how a parish in Maryland almost literally “rebuilt” itself, rethinking everything from liturgy to lay participation and beyond.  I’ve lost track of the number of priests, deacons and even bishops who have asked me “Have you read ‘Rebuilt’?” (One [Read More...]

Stunning video: stranger rescues man from fire

Get a load of this: The story: An unknown man was being heralded as a hero on Saturday for carrying a man out of a burning duplex near McLane High School in east-central Fresno. Firefighters were dispatched to the two-alarm fire at 8:14 a.m. on the 4300 block of East Dakota Avenue, near the intersection [Read More...]

Despite decline in Catholicism, millions turn out for Brazilian celebration of Mary

RNS reports:  More than 2 million worshippers, pilgrims and onlookers poured around an 11-inch wooden figure of the Virgin Mary as it made its way through the streets. A crush of the faithful heaved and hauled away at a rope that stretched over a thousand feet from the cart that bore the beloved statue, dragging [Read More...]

“We cannot resign ourselves to thinking about the Middle East without Christians”

Pope Francis delivered that comment this morning. From Vatican Radio:   Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the [Read More...]

Francis on Paul: “This great pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle…”

“For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul “we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Th 1:2).  May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in [Read More...]