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The politics of being pastoral, and the overview effect…

Happy Friday friends, Quick links Pope Francis completed on Wednesday his trip to Hungary and Slovakia. By papal standards, it was a reasonably local jaunt, and his public addresses were relatively short and to the point. Nevertheless, the pope fit a lot into the trip.  We’ve got a round up of the events for you here. —- One of the most newsworthy events of the pope’s tour came, as it so often does with Pope Francis, on the plane ride home. Fielding questions from journalists, the pope addressed the issues of pro-abortion politicians, Communion, and even excommunication, if you can believe it. You can read his remarks, together with a quick review of where they fit into the Church’s canon law, and the wider discussion of those issues here. I have some thoughts on what he said, and how...

Father James Altman buys Wisconsin home in La Crosse amid diocesan conflict…

Fr. James Altman. YouTube screenshot. State real estate records in Wisconsin indicate that Fr. James Altman intends to comply with a diocesan order to live in the Diocese of La Crosse, where the priest has made a Vatican appeal against his canonical removal as a parish pastor. Despite speculation that Altman would transfer to another diocese amid ongoing conflict with his bishop, the priest’s Aug. 20 purchase of a home in the La Crosse diocese suggests a canonical transfer is unlikely. The priest was ordered in July to “reside within the boundaries of the Diocese of La Crosse.” He was at the same time removed as pastor from St. James the Less Catholic Church, the parish he led since 2017. But Altman’s recent appearances at events in Chicago, Dallas, and other cities — along with his critic...

Catholic apologetics begins at home…

Atheism is clearly on the rise—a point brought to light recently when Harvard University appointed an atheist as the school’s chaplain.

2023 synod faces a credibility and practicality gap…

COMMENTARY: The planetary process leading up to the 2023 synod has to confront two major challenges before it begins. Six weeks before the Catholic Church-wide consultations for the 2023 synod on synodality are set to begin, the Vatican released a vademecum, or “handbook,” that will guide a process that is supposed to occupy every single diocese in the world from October 2021 to April 2022. The most massive set of meetings ever conducted in the history of the Catholic Church was announced only four months ago, between the third and fourth waves of the coronavirus pandemic in many parts of the world.  The vademecum did not address whether dioceses where the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation is still in force should be convening consultative meetings as part of a process to d...

This Sunday, Jesus give us a shortcut to greatness…

We all want greatness. We want to be something special in the eyes of God and our peers. God wants that too, and Jesus tells us how to do it this Sunday, the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B. It’s a lot easier — and a lot harder — than we realize. Jesus gives a tough message to his disciples in Sunday’s Gospel. It goes in one ear and out the other. The Gospel finds Jesus on the road, passing through Galilee, teaching his disciples: “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.’” But they don’t understand what he is saying, so they block it out and daydream instead. They start imagining the Kingdom Jesus has spoken of, then argue about who will be in charge of what when their band of brothers finall...

Supreme Court poised to hear biggest challenge to Roe v. Wade in 48 years…

Additionally, the brief asserts that “no changed factual circumstances related to viability exist on this record,” and that “[m]edical consensus and the undisputed facts in the case establish that viability occurs no earlier than 23-24 weeks of pregnancy, precisely the time identified thirty years ago in Casey.” Jackson Women’s Health asserts that the viability line must be maintained because it is the only standard that can consistently be applied by the courts. “There is no heightened scrutiny framework (stripped of the viability rule) that lower courts could administer against the inevitable cascade of abortion bans that would follow if the Court does anything other than affirm” the lowers courts’ rulings that Mississippi’s law is unconstitutional, the brief states. Counteri...

Pope St. John Paul II brought God into my suffering, just when I need Him most…

“Christ is the Lord! This will be confirmed in the Resurrection, but it is already contained in the Crucifixion. Precisely in the Crucifixion.” —Pope St. John Paul II It was hot in Phoenix when I got there, mid-September, 1987. Sunny, hot, and dry — just the way I like it. But I wasn’t there for the climate or a tan. I was there to see Pope John Paul II on his swing through the southwestern United States — a Catholic convert’s pilgrimage to honor the Vicar of Christ, but also a pilgrimage of healing after a string of personal misfortunes. A year back, I had been KO’d by a clinical depression that triggered an abrupt retreat from my do-gooder life in Chicago. Then, within a couple months of moving back home with my folks, I came down with some odd paresthesias — numbness and tingling — that...

Who was the Servant of God Mother Mary Lange?

It’s a safe bet that “Mother Mary Lange” is not a household name in most U.S. Catholic circles. That unhappy state of affairs may change, though, thanks to a courageous initiative now underway in Baltimore, one of America’s most troubled cities. Who was the Servant of God Mother Mary Lange, O.S.P.? A few years after her birth on the island of Hispaniola, the child christened Elizabeth Clarisse Lange was taken by her parents to Santiago de Cuba, as the family fled the chaos of the 1791 Haitian Revolution. Emigrating to the fledgling United States, Elizabeth seems to have lived in Charleston and Norfolk before settling in Baltimore, which had a considerable free African-American population whose numbers were being increased by refugees from Francophone Haiti. After opening a school for black...

Will the blood of St. Januarius turn to liquid this Sunday?

Once again on Sept. 19, thousands of people will be waiting to see if the blood of fourth-century martyr St. Januarius will liquefy on his feast day, as it has done almost ceaselessly for hundreds of years. People in Naples, where the saint’s body and head along with his blood have been kept for centuries, and those who come from other locales and countries, will eagerly go to the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, also known locally as Naples Cathedral, or sit by their radios and TVs, to see and hear if his blood liquefies on schedule. St. Januarius — or San Gennaro as he is also known — is a hometown saint and the principal patron saint of Naples. At the same time, in New York City in the section known as Little Italy, crowds will attend the annual Feast of San Gennaro which was first ...

The UK’s last aerial ropeway uses no power, moves 300 tons a day, and will be gone by 2036…

[embedded content] In Claughton, Lancashire, the Forterra brickworks produces 50 million bricks a year, from shale that’s quarried a mile and a half away. To get that shale to the brickworks: the last aerial ropeway in the country. These used to be common: but now, the last one will be gone by 2036. Join Our Telegram Group : Salvation & Prosperity  

The worst prayer you’ve ever seen…

It’s a bad, bad prayer. A servant girl found it clenched in John Ward’s hand after his death in the mid-1700s. You will never have heard of him. He did nothing notable in life, though he seems to have tried very hard to make money any way he could. What fame he has is as the writer of a horrible prayer. The English writer Edith Sitwell quotes the prayer in her book English Eccentrics. She puts Mr. Ward’s horrible prayer in the chapter on misers, whom she calls “an unpleasant form of vegetation.” Ward’s prayer begins: O Lord, Thou knowest that I have nine estates in the City of London; and likewise that I have lately purchased one estate in fee simple in the county of Essex; I beseech Thee to preserve the two counties of Middlesex and Essex from fire and earthquake; and as I have a mortgage...

Amid COVID-19 spike in Philippines, Catholic cardinal, 130 nuns test positive…

In a statement released on Sept. 15, the religious congregation said the infections were confirmed after the nuns were tested on Sept. 10. The congregation said that, since Sept. 14, the entire convent located in Quezon City “has been on lockdown” and is “fully cooperating” with health officials. Another religious congregation of nuns, the Holy Spirit Sisters, also reported 22 COVID cases and one death. In one of its convents, which is also located in the national capital, 13 nuns and nine staff members tested positive for COVID; the congregation said that one of the nuns has since died of the disease. A statement by the city’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit said it has started investigating how the nuns were infected. The nuns were still waiting to be vaccinated, according to ...