Crazy, Holy, Love: The Mad Monk Who Built a Cathedral By Hand

In a small town near Madrid, a 90-year-old man labors every day on a soaring house of prayer to which he has dedicated over half a century of his life.

07/14/2016 Comments (17)

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builder labors in vain. — Psalm 127:1

It sounds like a pious legend from the early Middle Ages: A monastic postulant contracts tuberculosis before taking final vows, and is expelled from the monastery after eight years. On his sickbed, the former monastic takes a vow to the Blessed Virgin, if he is healed, to raise a shrine in her honor. After he recovers, he spends the rest of his life — over half a century — building, by hand and mostly single-handedly, an immense, soaring house of prayer comparable to the grandest medieval cathedrals.

Except it isn’t ancient history. The story is unfolding today. Now 90 years old, former Trappist Justo Galledgo...READ MORE

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Archaeology Casts New Light on the Philistines

An ancient cemetery brings us face to face with the Philistines.

07/13/2016 Comments (5)
Photo copyright Leon Levy Expedition

A member of the physical anthropology team, Rachel Kalisher, documents a 10th-9th century BC skeleton

– Photo copyright Leon Levy Expedition

The ancient enemies of Israel have revealed themselves at last.

For the first time in history, archaeologists have come face to face with the Philistines during an excavation of an ancient cemetery in Ashkelon, and long unanswered questions are finally being answered. Who were the Philistines? How did they bury their dead? Where did they come from? Discoveries announced this week are changing our understanding of all these things. It’s the kind of information that leads to textbooks being rewritten.

This year marks the culmination of the Leon Levy Expedition, which has been digging at the seaport city of Ashkelon since 1985, with the focus on the cemetery for the past three years. The...READ MORE

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The Conscience Protection Act Safeguards Basic Liberties

07/13/2016 Comments (5)

Here's your easy, possibly even effective civil reponsiblity for the day: Ask your reps to pass HR 4828, the Conscience Protection Act. This bill

amends the Public Health Service Act to codify the prohibition against the federal government and state and local governments that receive federal financial assistance for health-related activities penalizing or discriminating against a health care provider based on the provider's refusal to be involved in, or provide coverage for, abortion. Health care providers include health care professionals, health care facilities, social services providers, health care professional training programs, and health insurers.

In other words, it would tell...READ MORE

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How to Avoid Hidden Pitfalls When They're Disguised as Prayer

07/13/2016 Comments (10)

André Jacques Victor Orsel, “The Devil Tempting a Young Woman” (1832)

Do We Really Understand Prayer? If you were to stand up before any parish and ask folks to raise their hands if they understand what prayer is, you would likely see every hand raised. If you then asked for hands to rise if they could articulate the distinction between vocal prayer and meditation, a much smaller group would emerge. Then, if you asked for hands of anyone who would be able to clearly explain mental prayer or contemplative prayer, the raised hands would be very sparse, if any surfaced at all.

As Catholics, we claim that being in a right or authentic relationship with God is the purpose of our existence. How is it then, that so few of us really understand how to converse with...READ MORE

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Nobody Gets "Time and Place" Anymore

07/13/2016 Comments (5)

You ready for the cringeworthy headline of the day: "Holocaust Museum to visitors: Please stop catching Pokémon here." #21stcenturyproblems

The problem isn't the Pokémon people making millions of dollars. The problem isn't even people enjoying a game. The real problem here is that nobody understands that there's a time and place for things anymore. Let's face it, very few people even teach their children about time and place anymore. Think about it. Enough people walked into the Holocaust museum in search of Pokémon that they needed to put up a sign.

Nowadays, "But I want it" is a hedonistic permission slip. We are all so up in our own heads and our own subjective "truths" that nothing we...READ MORE

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Thomas More and Birth of New Hollywood, Dress for Church Like a Roman Tourist, and More Great Links!

The Best in Catholic Blogging

07/13/2016 Comment

Click on St. Thomas More and the Birth of New Hollywood by K.V. Turley of Crisis Magazine link to read more.

St. Thomas More and the Birth of New Hollywood – K.V. Turley, Crisis Magazine

Problem Isn’t Invalid Marriages, It’s Our Reluctance to Present Church Teaching – Ed Condon, Catholic Herald

This Summer, Dress for Church Like a Roman Tourist – Carrie Gress Ph.D., The Dispatch via The Catholic World Report

Pin The Tale On The Christian? An Ancient Blame Game Still In Use – John Clark, Seton Magazine

Apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary Approved in Argentina! – Shaun McAfee, epicPew

Pope on Brexit: It’s the Will of the People, Peaceful Co-Existence Must be Guaranteed – Aleteia

Missouri Music Director of 31 Years Retires with Inspiring Words – Shaun McAfee O.P., epicPew

Why Is My Faith So...READ MORE

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Exorcists Fear No Evil, and Neither Should You

07/12/2016 Comments (8)

(By Matthäus Schiestl, 1869-1939, via Wikimedia Commons)

Exorcists encounter evil up close—sometimes in bizarre, hair-raising ways. They are in the person of Christ, in humble obedience to their Bishop and with access to the power of God and his Church to drive out demons.  Their courage comes from certainty that God is the ultimate power.  Exorcists warn lay people not to take up ghost busting or deliverance on their own, yet we have access to the same courage through our faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Reasons not to Fear

In an interview with Msgr. John Esseff, an exorcist for the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania for over 40 years, he said people should always remember that spiritual warfare is not a fight between equals.  The...READ MORE

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What I Saw When I Missed My Usual Sunday Mass

07/12/2016 Comments (5)

When I stepped out of my Sunday morning routine recently, I think Christ gave me a glimpse of what he sees when everyone else is at church.

I got up one Sunday a few weeks ago with plenty of time to make the 9 a.m. Mass at my parish. But I was a bit too leisurely with breakfast. Then I couldn’t find the dress I’d decided to wear. After several searches, I was even more determined I had to wear that dress because I couldn’t think about coming up with another outfit. When I finally found the elusive dress, badly in need of ironing, it was 8:53. Not only would I miss that Mass, I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my service as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

The next Mass wasn’t for...READ MORE

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