Did Hillary Clinton Describe ISIS' Persecution of Christians as "Genocide"?

01/01/2016 Comments (18)

Pope Francis and Christian leaders in the Middle East and the U.S. have denounced the Islamic State's treatment of Christians  as "genocide." Yet in a Christmas Eve message that expressed his concern for Christians in the region, President Obama held back from defining ISIS' efforts to stamp out all vestiges of Christianity in territory under its control as "genocide."  

Now, the administration will face more pressure to change its stance, as Hillary Clinton signals her own position on a foreign policy issue that is steadily gaining traction.

During a Dec. 29 town hall meeting in Berlin, N.H., Clinton was asked to let voters know whether she would join Pope Francis and describe the...READ MORE

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Pope Francis' Homily on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

01/01/2016 Comments (4)

In St. Peter's basilica this morning, the Holy Father delivered the following homily at Mass on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and World Day of Peace.  

Last month, the Vatican customarily released his World Day of Peace Message which this year is entitled "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace".


Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - World Day of Peace, 1 January 2016

We have heard the words of the Apostle Paul: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4).

What does it mean to say that Jesus was born in “the fullness of time”?  If we consider that particular moment of history, we might...READ MORE

Filed under new year's day, pope francis, solemnity of mary mother of god, world day of peace message

New Year's Day

01/01/2016 Comments (1)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to...READ MORE

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Here's the Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

12/31/2015 Comments (4)

(Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

It started with the Babylonians.

They are the ones who initiated the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. More than four thousand years ago, they began the practice of celebrating the new year with an 11-day festival during which time they made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and get the year started on the right foot. Reportedly, they would vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment as part of their New Year’s resolutions.

Today, it’s a tradition that some take more seriously than others, and yet almost everybody thinks about. Many of us scramble last-minute to come up with something – anything – to resolve and feel guilty if we don’t.

I’ve always...READ MORE

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Take Time for a Yearly Examen

12/31/2015 Comment

Franciszek Ejsmond, "The Anchorite" (1881)

At the end of each December many of us have high hopes for what could happen next year. We may want to exercise more, get a better job or receive an answer to a prayer. Whatever it is, we look at the future with hope and believe our lives will get better.

While it is not bad to focus on “what could be,” it is more important to be thankful for “what was.” We may have had a bad year, but that is only because we are looking at it from our human perspective. Instead, we must look at the highs and lows from the past year in light of God’s divine providence.

To do that, we must make a Yearly Examen.

Some of you may be familiar with the “Daily Examen” that is a part of Ignatian Spirituality....READ MORE

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Large Fall in Numbers of Faithful Attending Angelus, Regina Coeli

12/30/2015 Comments (28)

According to figures released today by the papal household, the number of faithful taking part in various Vatican papal events almost halved in 2015 compared to last year, although some of the disparity is due to the large numbers of people who attended the canonizations of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII in 2014.

Just over 3.2 million faithful attended general audiences, special audiences, Vatican liturgical celebrations, the Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers in 2015. That compares to 5.9 million faithful who took part in the same events last year. 

Last year’s historic canonizations meant that 730,000 participated in liturgical celebrations in April 2014 compared to 110,000 in the...READ MORE

Filed under angelus, general audience, pope francis, regina coeli, statistics, vatican

Give It Away, But Give It Some Thought

12/30/2015 Comments (29)

Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), "The Seven Works of Mercy"

Last week, Zoe Romanowsky made the sensible call to "stop giving our junk to the poor." She asked us to ask ourselves:

Does what you’re putting in that box honor the people it will go to? Is it your junk, or is it a sacrificial gift?

She challenges us to ask ourselves if we are giving sacrificially, to help the poor, or are we giving just to get rid of stuff, to help ourselves; and to ask ourselves if we're giving away stuff that will make the poor happy, or if we're giving stuff that seems good enough for them, because they are poor, and we are not.

Jane the Actuary at Patheos responded with a few questions of her own, trying to refine our standards for how and what to give. She...READ MORE

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The So-Called Wise Men

12/30/2015 Comments (20)

So my neighbor has these three plastic wise men on his lawn and every day he moves them a little closer to the stable. They are forced to navigate their way through Snoopy, Frosty, and reindeer on their way to Christ.

Not much is known about these so-called wise men but I've got questions. Firstly, how do we know they were wise? These guys picked up and left everything they knew because they saw something shiny. This doesn't seem very wise to me. They turned out to be right on this one but it makes me wonder how many poorly conceived adventures these guys had gone on before stumbling into finding the Son of God.

And can we be honest here that the history of the wise men has been a little...READ MORE

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