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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...

This will be my last Christmas as the Archbishop of Philadelphia…

In his Christmas message of 1944 – the fifth year of a Second World War that spanned the globe with its suffering – Pope Pius XII offered these words: The Church has the mission to announce to the world . . . the highest and most needed message that there can be: the dignity of man, the call to be sons of God.  It is the powerful cry which, from the manger in Bethlehem to the furthest confines of the earth, resounds in the ears of men at a time when that dignity is tragically low. The holy story of Christmas proclaims this inviolable dignity of man with a vigor and authority that cannot be gainsaid. – an authority and vigor that infinitely transcend that which all possible declarations of the rights of man could achieve. Christmas, the great feast of the Son of God who appeared in hum...

What little children can teach us about prayer…

When it comes to our struggle in personal prayer there are some things that we need to unlearn. For too many, private prayer is often a formal, even stuffy affair, that drips of boredom and unnecessary formality and has lots of rules. Perhaps we learned some of our lessons too well. And yet many of the youngest children have not learned these lessons, and they seem to pray with great ease. They are unassuming and will say almost anything to God. It is true that children may have a lot learn about public and liturgical prayer, but when it comes to personal and private prayer they have much to teach us. Perhaps a parable is in order: A young girl received her First Holy Communion and, when she returned to her pew, she was noticed by her parents to be in rather deep prayer. After Mass they as...