Muslims rally in Paris to protest ISIS; Muslim leaders issue condemnation of violence

Details:  Hundreds of Muslims have gathered near the Grand Mosque in Paris to condemn the execution of the French tourist, Herve Gourdel, by Islamic State-linked jihadists and the rise of Islamophobia caused by it. The demonstrators were holding up placards, reading “”Tribute to Herve Gourdel” and “God is merciful” as well as signs with NotInMyName hastag. The [Read More...]

Vatican investigating KC Bishop Robert Finn—UPDATED

From NCR:  A Canadian archbishop visited the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese last week on behalf of the Vatican to investigate the leadership of Bishop Robert Finn, the first Catholic prelate to be found criminally guilty of shielding a priest in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis. Ottawa, Ontario, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast visited the Midwestern [Read More...]

Atheist offers “invocation” at town council meeting in Alabama

Details:  Here’s what happens when an atheist offered Alabama’s first non-theist invocation to open a public meeting: 90 seconds of thoughtful statements that began with “Dearly Beloved” and ended with “Let it be so,” and no reaction from a packed City Council chamber. As the invocation ended, everyone swung automatically to face the flag to [Read More...]

When was the last time you heard a homily that mentioned mental illness?

A new survey looks at how this subject is treated in Protestant churches. But I can’t say it gets much attention in the Catholic Church, either. Details: Protestant clergy rarely preach about mental illness to their congregations and only one-quarter of congregations have a plan in place to assist members who have a mental health crisis, a [Read More...]

Off the hookah: owner explains why he named his bar “ISIS”

As you can imagine, it’s causing him all sorts of problems. Now this Queens Coptic Christian is going to the media to clear things up. From the In My Backyard Desk, via the New York Daily News:   Despite its menacing name, there are no beheadings on the menu at this Queens smoke spot. The [Read More...]

Man charges bishop had affair with his wife, threatens lawsuit—UPDATED

Now the other shoe is dropping in the eyebrow-raising story of the bishop who suddenly resigned over the weekend. Details:  A husband is threatening to sue the Catholic Church after one of Britain’s leading bishops allegedly became “the third person” in his marriage. The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Kieran Conry, stood down at the [Read More...]

Francis hails Benedict as “the grandfather of all grandfathers”

From Catholic News Agency:  Retired pontiff Benedict XVI joined some 50,000 pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, Sept. 28 for a meeting between Pope Francis and elderly people from around the world.Welcoming his predecessor, the Holy Father described Pope Benedict as the “grandfather of all grandfathers.”“I have said many times that it gives me [Read More...]

The deacon who acts—and who is, in fact, an actor

Details:  When Deacon Glenn Netemeyer was preaching for just the third time at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Albers, the piece of paper he had written everything on blew off the lectern. “It just flew away in the fan breeze,” he recalled with a chuckle. “I looked at the crowd and they looked at me.” [Read More...]

Epic: hundreds join massive “Riverdance” celebration

I’m not sure what the Gaelic word for “Wow” is (O’Wow?) but this definitely deserves it. Just watch. [Read more...]

Bishop resigns, saying “I’ve been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest”

This doesn’t happen very often. Details:  An English bishop has announced his resignation after disclosing that he has been unfaithful to his vows. Bishop Kieran Conry made the announcement in a letter to be read out at Masses in his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton this weekend. He apologised for being “unfaithful to my promises [Read More...]

Homily for September 28, 2014: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Of all the remarkable moments that marked Derek Jeter’s last home game Thursday night, there is one that really struck me. You might call it a home run. Before leaving the field for the last time, as the crowd roared, Jeter walked to his spot where he played shortstop, crouched down, bowed his head, and [Read More...]

Ordination update: 13 new deacons for Boston

From The Pilot:  As he ordained 13 new permanent deacons at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Sept. 20, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley recounted the history of the diaconate and his appreciation for their ministry. “In every diocese where I have worked, the presence of the dedicated permanent deacons has been such a great blessing. [Read More...]

Elderly husband and wife plan first “couple” euthanasia, despite not being terminally ill

Details:  An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first ‘couple’ euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill. Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes. Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support [Read More...]

Derek Jeter makes the Sign of the Cross

The Yankee legend evidently did just that before leaving the field last night. From The New York Times: Jeter wanted the best view in New York City. He wanted something that cannot be bought and something he can never have again. In the end, it meant everything to him. “I want to take something special [Read More...]

RIP, John Slattery of WCBS-TV

From the In My Backyard Desk, some sad news. The veteran television reporter was a familiar face to many New Yorkers—and a devout Catholic. Details:  John Slattery, a longtime CBS New York reporter from Larchmont who covered major stories for more than 30 years, has died at age 63. Slattery died unexpectedly Wednesday night after suffering [Read More...]

“We believe in the sanctity of life…and counteract the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence and conflict”

From the Vatican’s news site:  The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, based in New York, U.S.A., yesterday published a declaration of principles, signed by the foreign ministers of Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for [Read More...]

Where is Jesus? What the Church teaches on the placement of the Blessed Sacrament

There’s been some critical commentary about the new designs for Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange—and a lot of people have bemoaned the proposed location of the Blessed Sacrament, reserved in a side chapel (shown above). William Newton wrote:  The most important question to ask in entering any Catholic church is, “Where’s Jesus?” The answer in [Read More...]

“We didn’t start this fight, but we’re not going to cave in and back out of it”—UPDATED

A newspaper in Billings, Montana takes a closer look at the story of two gay men who were removed from ministry after they married each other.  Among other things, it reveals that one of the men is a former priest. Details:  The first thing you need to know about Tom Wojtowick and Paul Huff is [Read More...]