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The Vatican’s financial bait-and-switch…

By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | Dec 18, 2019 If you asked loyal Catholics to subsidize a film dramatizing the life of Elton John, you’d get a disappointing return. But ask them to contribute to the needs of the Holy Father, and you’ll see real generosity. If you ask Catholics to invest in the London real-estate market, or in a shady Italian bank, or a bankrupt hospital, don’t expect much. But say that the Pope has charitable projects in mind, and the checkbooks will open. So for years the Vatican has asked the faithful to support the Pope’s needs, emphasizing his charitable projects—and then invested the returns in London real estate, a shady Italian bank, a bankrupt hospital, and, yes, a film about Elton John. That’s the fundamental scandal behind the latest financ...

J.R.R. Tolkien, Advent and the light that conquers darkness…

2 Minute Read December is a month in the Catholic Church where the liturgical year ends and is renewed by the season of Advent. It is a month where we see the general theme of the liturgical season being echoed in nature. Darkness has crept over the world, and is increasing each day. Yet, there is hope for soon the days will begin to lengthen and the sun will conquer the night. The earth reveals that there is a light in this dark place and that Light reigns victorious. A Passing Shadow The great Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien knew this reality very well. Throughout his works there is an ongoing contrast between the dark world and the light that illumines it. In particular, Tolkien stressed that even though there is great evil in the world, goodness always triumphs in the end. This theme of...

Paid family and medical leave and the USCCB…

Man holding baby (CC0 Jude Beck on Unsplash) The other day, a friend noted on Twitter that his wife was not granted paid maternity leave by her employer, the Catholic Church. He noted that he made enough for her to take unpaid maternity. This led me to look into what the US Bishops have proposed regarding maternity leave. Now, I want to share a little of that investigation. Current USCCB Policy The USCCB site currently has: Following the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), all qualified employees in the United States are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons, including for the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for the adoption or foster care of a child. T...

A lonely plea: ‘Anybody need a grandma for Christmas?’…

This month on Craigslist, tucked among ads for worn couches and dusty pianos, was an odd and poignant offer from a woman in Tulsa. “Anybody need a grandma for Christmas?” she wrote. “I’ll even bring food and gifts for the kids! I have nobody and it really hurts.” The response to the Oklahoma woman was swift, and in some cases cruel, with cynical comments that accused her of carrying out a hoax or called her a parasite hoping to prey on a generous family. One person told her to go kill herself. The woman quickly took down the post, but not before 21-year-old Carson Carlock took a screenshot of it after finding the ad while scouring Craigslist for free items. He posted the screenshot on Facebook on Dec. 11 with the hashtag “FINDGRANDMA.” Naturally, thousands of people around the country shar...

Cool Uncle Tricks: Turn a dollar bill into a fighter jet…

The holiday season is in full swing, which means lots of gatherings where you’ve got the chance to demonstrate what an extremely awesome uncle you genuinely are. If you were just a pretty good uncle, you could probably get away with giving your niece or nephew a dollar. But dang it, you’re a certified cool uncle — one who knows a bevy of cool uncle tricks. That’s why you’ll give them a dollar that you’ve folded into a jet fighter right before their eyes.  Origami takes practice, so try this out a few times before you give a full performance. Also, do your best to start with a nice, crisp bill. There are lots of folds going on here, so a new bill and attention to sharp folds and creases will pay off with a much better final product.  Start by orienting your bill in the same way as...

Church reform takes personal conversion, Pope Francis tells Roman Curia…

Vatican City, Dec 21, 2019 / 05:02 am (CNA).- To carry out the continuing reform of the Church requires a willingness to change and a commitment to personal conversion, Pope Francis said Saturday, during his annual Christmas greeting to the bishops and cardinals of the Roman Curia. Francis quoted St. John Henry Newman, who said, “here on earth to live is to change, and perfection is the result of many transformations.” “For Newman, change was conversion, that is, an inner transformation,” the pope said Dec. 21. “Christian life is actually a journey, a pilgrimage.” The history of God’s people, the history of the Church, he continued, “has always been marked by departures, shifts, changes. The path, of course, is not purely geographical, but above all symbolic: it is an invitation to discove...

James “Radio” Kennedy, inspiration for 2003 film, dies at 73…

Snap Stills/Shutterstock In 1996, Sports Illustrated‘s Gary Smith wrote about the close friendship that James “Radio” Kennedy, a man with an intellectual disability, had with members of a high school football team in South Carolina. The story eventually became the inspiration for the 2003 film “Radio.”  On Sunday morning, “Radio” Kennedy, the man integral to the Anderson, SC. community, died, T.L. Hanna High School announced. Kennedy, 73, had been battling health problems and former head football coach Harold Jones said that he died at a hospice facility in Anderson. “It’s sad. It’s very sad for us,” Jones said. “Everybody loved him at the school and anybody he met loved him. He was just so outgoing and loved to h...

Can Mr. Rogers nostalgia help cure today’s culture?

Tom Hanks has brought the beloved Fred Rogers to major motion picture screens this holiday season. What is it about his tenderness we seem to long for? What is it about his model for caring for children and one another that we need to recapture?  Erica Komisar is a psychoanalyst in New York City and author of “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.” In recent weeks, she’s written powerfully about Fred Rogers, political correctness, and the faith of children as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.  Angelus contributing editor Kathryn Jean Lopez asked her some questions about parenting, nostalgia, and what our renewed interest in Mr. Rogers in 2019 might promise for the future. Erica Komisar. (© Sharon Schuster) Kathryn Jean Lopez: In your op...

Pope Francis talks up viral Nativity image called “Let Mum rest”…

Pope Francis said that for his birthday on December 17, he was shown a unique Nativity scene, dubbed “Let Mum Rest.” In the depiction, which has been making the rounds this year on social media, Mary is sleeping and Joseph is holding a tired Baby with his arms outstretched in a typical newborn pose. The pope said the image shows “the tenderness of a family, of a marriage.” “How many of you have to share the night between husband and wife for the baby boy or girl who cries, cries, and cries,” he reflected. This is, precisely, the message of the Nativity scene, the pope explained. And we can also invite the Holy Family to our home, where there are joys and concerns, where every day we wake up, eat, and sleep close to our loved ones. The manger is a domestic Gospel. Francis this year has been...

Why is J.K. Rowling being denounced? Because she said No to a lie…..

The novelist supported a tax expert who was fired for dissenting from gender orthodoxy Progressives are denouncing JK Rowling this week, insisting that she has ruined Harry Potter in a single tweet. One can almost hear them cry, “burn the books!”  What’s puzzling about this is that JK Rowling is hardly a conservative opponent of all things liberal. On the contrary, she’s the consummate liberal with all the right opinions for an elite culture producer. So what opinion of hers could possibly warrant such severe sanctions? What could she say that has the power to ruin Potter forever? Rowling wrote a single tweet in support of Maya Forstater, a tax expert who was fired from her job at the Centre for Global Development for stating on social media that a person cannot change their biologica...

Idol speculation and the Incarnation…

Did the pagans really worship idols? If so, what was going on? To be precise, they did not worship idols as such, but they worshipped the gods who they believed the idols represented. But it was more than that. They also believed that the idols became the channels for the invisible god. If you like the spirit of the god channeled in and through the idol. In other words, they believed their demon gods and goddesses could infest the physical objects. This is why certain idols were venerated as sacred–because it was believed they were such effective transmitters or carriers of the spirit of the god. Recently, in reading an Old Testament reading from Isaiah it struck me. The pagan idol worship itself was a pointer to the incarnation of the Lord. The prophet writes, And so I revealed things bef...

We are closer than ever before to the Second Coming of Christ…

By Tom Hoopes, December 19, 2019 It is appropriate that the Church focuses on St. Joseph for the Fourth Week of Advent, Year A. Joseph is the patron saint of preparing for Christmas — and, as Patron of the Church, for the Second Coming of Christ. We are closer than ever before to the Second Coming of Christ. We are living in the world’s “fourth week of Advent” — the end days, according to the Church; “the last hour.” It’s time for last-minute preparations, the same preparations as Joseph made. First, Joseph took his wife’s cross onto himself. When Mary is found with child, “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” You don’t have to know anything about the ancient world to understand what this means. If a m...