Ten Things to Do as a Catholic Before You're Dead

11/26/2015 Comments (10)

Bucket lists (i.e., lists of stuff you should oughtta wanna do before you kick the bucket) are hot these days.  So, canny fellow that I am, I thought I would put together a bucket list of ten things a Catholic should oughtta wanna do before he or she takes the dirt nap, lays down in the back of that long black Cadillac, and otherwise stops squeezing the plasma pump behind the sternum.

The trouble with this clever idea is that you then have to make a judgment call.  Should I give you my personal bucket list about stuff I’d like to do (which might include something like “read all the works of Shakespeare”) leading to your eyes crossing and a warm numb feeling stealing over you?  Or consider:...READ MORE

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Dear Simcha

11/26/2015 Comments (2)

Dear Nobody,

Here is my annual Thanksgiving Day “Dear Simcha” advice column! I hope and pray that, according to tradition, you (Nobody) will continue your so-far unbroken record of reading this post with the close attention it deserves.


Dear Simcha,

As you may know, yesterday was Walk-in Warrant Day at court, which means that lots of people who have a warrant out for their arrest turned themselves, hoping the judge would be reluctant to send someone to jail right before Thanksgiving.

I did this myself, and it worked like a charm, and I’m going home, instead of the lock-up. So, rather than spending the holiday trapped in a dim, drafty, funny-smelling building with a bunch of...READ MORE

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Trump Mocks Journalist for Disability

11/26/2015 Comments (24)

Mocking the weak is not a desirable trait in someone seeking the most powerful office in the world. Donald Trump would be in hot water if he were any other candidate but he's apparently immune to such things mainly because so many love the way he confronts his opponents and the media (is that redundant?).

His candidacy, while built on his immigration stance, has persevered because many refuse to let the media take him down. It's not just appreciation for Trump, it's also anger at the media. I'll admit I've gotten a kick out of him at times. But Trump's latest is, I think, revealing of his character. And it's not pretty.

He apparently did not just mock someone with a disability but he may...READ MORE

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Pope Francis' Address to UN Office in Nairobi

11/26/2015 Comments (7)

I would like to thank Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, for her kind invitation and words of welcome, as well as Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. I take this occasion to greet the personnel and all those associated with the institutions who are here present.

On my way to this hall, I was asked to plant a tree in the park of the United Nations Centre. I was happy to carry out this simple symbolic act, which is so meaningful in many cultures.

Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like...READ MORE

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Beware of the “Creep”, and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

11/26/2015 Comments (4)

Do you have your Thanksgiving Day shopping list done? Have you plotted your route from store to store so that you can snap up all the great holiday deals?

For weeks, television, radio, and cyber-ads have been blasting at us, inviting us to get out there and get the jump on our Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day. They’re promising deep discounts and a variety of sundry bells and whistles to entice us to leave our Thanksgiving tables early – or skip them entirely.

The trend for stores to open on Thanksgiving Day has grown to the point that media are now referring to Thanksgiving as “Grey Thursday” and the trend itself as “Black Friday Creep.”

I think “creep” is the perfect word and I...READ MORE

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Full Texts of Pope's Homily in Nairobi, Speech to Interreligious Leaders

11/26/2015 Comments (2)

At an open air Mass today at the University of Nairobi this morning, Pope Francis called on Kenyans to "stand strong in faith!" and not to be afraid, telling them that the Lord "asks us to be missionary disciples, men and women who radiate the truth, beauty and life-changing power of the Gospel." See below for the full text of his homily.

Earlier at a meeting with ecumenical and interreligious leaders, the Pope said the Lord's name "must never be used to justify hatred and violence."

Recalling recent "barbarous" terrorist attacks in Kenya perpetrated by Islamists, the Pope said "all too often, young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear...READ MORE

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How to Avoid Becoming a Catholic (in 3 Easy Steps)

11/25/2015 Comments (12)

Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911), “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler”

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (Jn 6.68).

“What else is there?” —Walker Percy

Every once in a while, former students will come to see me about Catholicism, and I try to be very candid. “Don’t do it,” I warn them, pointing to the crucifix on my wall. “See that? It’s where you’re headed if you’re not careful.”

Still, they ask their questions, and I do my best to answer them. They wonder about the Mass, and I advise them to go and see for themselves. “What about confessing your sins to priests instead of directly to God?” I walk them through John 20. “Why do you worship Mary?” I correct their misguided impressions and point to the...READ MORE

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At the Evening of Life, We Shall Be Judged On Our Love

11/25/2015 Comments (5)

Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Bischheim, Église protestante luthérienne de Notre-Seigneur-Jésus-Christ, Peinture "Le Christ aux limbes" (XXe)

My husband’s uncle died Sunday. He was 82, and had lived a good life.

Before he died, he saw his dead sister, our Aunt Tid, and his mother. That’s not uncommon when we are nearing the end of this life. We get glimpses of the new life we are about the enter.

My guess is that God sends loved ones to us, to help us make that transition, that they are a welcoming committee of sorts. I believe God sends our angels, alongside our loved ones who have passed ahead of us, to lead us home.

Death is not annihilation. Your body and soul will be separated for a time, but you will not stop existing, not even for a moment. On that day, you will hear someone say, You are mine.

In that moment, we will...READ MORE

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