School District Considers Giving Condoms to 6th Graders

02/13/2016 Comments (5)

San Francisco schools may soon start distributing condoms to students in middle schools – or to those who want them anyway.  A final vote by the school board is scheduled to take place in the next two weeks.

Imagine your 11-year-old son or daughter walking into the school nurse’s office and walking out with condoms!  Perhaps the school district expects parents to be reassured by the fact that students would also have a one-on-one information session with the nurse.

The proposed new policy was introduced by Superintendent Richard Carranza to the Board of Education, as “part of an overall effort by the district to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors,”...READ MORE

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Faith, Blizzards, and a Roadside Mass

02/13/2016 Comment

(Photo: Facebook)

A few weeks ago, hundreds of people were stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike as more than two feet of snow buried the Mid-Atlantic region. Eighty-six miles of road were shut down, and more than 500 cars, buses, etc. were stranded for about a day.

In and amongst the coverage of this storm was a story that led even mainstream media storylines: Catholic college students from returning from the 2016 March for Life tag-teamed to hold a roadside Mass on a snow altar.

This story of faith under duress wasn't just noticed by Catholic and politically conservative outlets. ABC, CNN, and USA TODAY covered it, as did many state-based outlets in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, and The New York...READ MORE

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“Hers is a Heroic Testimony of Maternal Love”

02/11/2016 Comments (4)

Our Lady of Lourdes (Photo Credit: Zavatter, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

When Carrie Gress wrote last week about her dear friend who is at the end of her life and facing the horrific suffering of saying goodbye to her young children, I turned to prayer, asking the intercession of my own dear friend who faced the same battle.

Carrie and I were colleagues when she worked for Zenit, and God has obviously designed our lives to intersect in many respects. We both got pregnant for the first time during our stage as coworkers. (Given that the wife of another member of the team was also expecting her first child, it made for exciting times at the virtual office.) Imagine our delighted surprise, though, when it turned out that Carrie and I gave birth on the same day!...READ MORE

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Kirill-Francis Meeting in Danger of Being Over-Hyped

Russian President Vladimir Putin understood to be meeting’s key protagonist.

02/11/2016 Comments (5)

Pope Francis’ momentous meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow tomorrow has “serious ecumenical import and potential” but it should be neither “hyperbolized nor underestimated”, the head of the Department of External Church Relations for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has said.

In a commentary written on the eve of the historic meeting, Bishop Borys Gudziak said he was pleased the meeting is taking place, adding that it is a “welcome sight” when “estranged brothers take a new first step towards each other.”

But he stressed that the meeting should not be over hyped nor played down but seen in context. That context, he pointed out, is a Russian Orthodox Church that has lost its civic...READ MORE

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Full Text: Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

02/11/2016 Comments (2)


Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history. 

It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2Jn12), from heart to heart, to...READ MORE

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What About Those Awful Catholics?

02/10/2016 Comments (28)
“Father,” said the middle aged man,  “When I was ten years old I was a faithful altar server and I turned up one day to serve wearing sneakers and the priest told me I couldn’t serve because I was wearing the wrong shoes.” Then with an air of indignant self righteousness he declared, “And I’ve never been back to a Catholic church since.”
Well, OK. But maybe, just maybe that was an excuse for not going to Mass?
One of the most common conversations I have as a Catholic priest is with people who have left the faith because of a bad example. Some of the stories are excuses for the person’s own hypocrisy, but other stories are genuine and the tales they tell of awful Catholics are...READ MORE

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How to Obey Like an Adult

02/10/2016 Comments (10)

Who remembers being a kid and thinking, "Man, I can't wait to grow up! Then no one will tell me what to do!"? I remember; and I also remember that awful day when I realized that I was grown up, and that I now had to tell myself what to do. Not only did I have to pick up my dirty clothes, I had to be the heavy that insisted that dirty clothes get picked up. Wah! 

As I was reviewing the obligations of adult Catholics during Lent (here's a nice clear infographic), I felt a sense of gratitude to Mother Church. During Lent, and really any time the Church gives us clear guidelines for how we are to behave, it's an act of mercy: She gives us a chance to put the responsibility on someone else, and...READ MORE

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On the Threshold: Of Lent, Marriage, and Louie’s Backyard

02/10/2016 Comments (2)

Winslow Homer, “Watching the Breakers” (1891)

“It's a dangerous business going out of your door.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

The radio was on as I did dishes Sunday morning, and NPR’s Rachel Martin was introducing a story. “At the Marine Room in La Jolla, California,” she said, “asking for an oceanside table will get you – well, the Pacific Ocean.” Martin was describing a beachfront restaurant that serves up both a five-star menu and an unforgettable oceanic floor show. “During winter's high tides,” Martin continued, “waves crash into the restaurant, pounding the glass.”

I dried my hands and turned up the volume a bit. It was an animated interview with the Marine Room’s chef, Bernard Guillas, who wove together an auditory image of fine dining...READ MORE

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