Catholic Monk Meets Drone on a Sunday Afternoon

09/06/2015 Comments (9)

Brother Joseph on his wind turbine at Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island (Photo by Jez Coulson)

A late-August encounter between a camera-armed drone and a man sunbathing on a towering wind turbine drew millions of viewers to the YouTube video and stirred debate about the privacy issues raised by the cool but intrusive flying gadgets. 

In the video, the drone’s camera pans a portion of Rhode Island’s glorious coastline before it moves in to examine the turbine tower, and then draws near to the peaceful figure gazing at the verdant landscape bordered by the  sea. 

Strikingly, the sunbather seems unbothered by the intrusion and happy to share the experience of a peaceful Sunday afternoon  

What’s the secret to his generous spirit and equanimity? Maybe the fact that he’s a Benedictine...READ MORE

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Jail for Ky. Clerk: "God's Moral Law Convicts Me and Conflicts With My Duties"

09/03/2015 Comments (38)

Fondazione Cariplo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Today, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to be placed in federal custody until she agrees to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Judge Bunning's decision followed Davis' failure to secure an emergency injunction from the U.S.  Supreme Court.

According to USA Today, "The judge said that fines were not enough to force her to comply with his previous order to provide the paperwork to all couples and allowing her to defy the order would create a 'ripple effect.'"

"Her good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense," Bunning said. "Oaths mean things."

He said his ruling applied to two other Kentucky clerks who have also refused to issue...READ MORE

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Zero Hour for Teacher Contract Battle at San Francisco Catholic High Schools

08/19/2015 Comments (34)

San Francisco seen through the Golden Gate Bridge, by Daniel Schwen [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

This week, the protracted teacher contract battle that has roiled the Archdiocese of San Francisco will reach a turning point. By Aug. 20, the 300-plus teachers at the four Catholic high schools under the direct jurisdiction of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco will have registered their support or opposition to the contract hammered out over the past seven months, amid sidewalk protests, petition campaigns and a full-page newspaper ad that called on Pope Francis to remove the archbishop.

Negotiations between the local church and representatives of an American Federation of Teachers local have resulted in a slew of concessions won by the union.

It secured the removal...READ MORE

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People for the Ethical Treatment of People

08/09/2015 Comments (22)

Cecil the lion at Hwange National Park in 2010. By Daughter#3 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

The mainstream media's strikingly different response to the killing of Cecil the lion and the undercover videos that appear to show Planned Parenthood's trafficking in fetal body parts highlights the challenge the pro-life movement continues to face.

But here's a glimmer of optimism from Mary Eberstadt, who urges pro-life activists to grab the opportunity to explain why Cecil the Lion should inspire Americans to think more deeply about the treatment of human animals in abortion clinics, where they are killed and dismembered, and sold for research.

In National Review's upcoming print issue, Eberstadt writes:

To point out the obvious similarities between pictures of callously destroyed...READ MORE

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George Weigel and Cardinal Schönborn Offer Hopes and Predictions for the Synod

08/01/2015 Comments (12)

With the ordinary synod just weeks away, the California-based Napa Institute invited Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and author George Weigel to share their thoughts about this much-anticipated event in the life of the universal Church.

While the public conversation between the Austrian cardinal, who led the vast effort to draft the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Weigel covered other matters, their thoughts regarding the synod were especially fascinating.

Here’s an edited transcript of their exchange:

Cardinal Schönborn: I am confident about this synod, but I think we all have to pray. The main importance of this synod, for me, is the fact that it is on marriage and family. Pope...READ MORE

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Obama and UN Must Declare That ISIS is Guilty of Genocide

07/28/2015 Comments (13)

By Voice of America

Last week, former Congressman Frank Wolf — the House's most courageous crusader on religious freedom — and the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative asked President Obama and the Secretary General of the United Nations to fully declare that the Islamic State’s actions against religious and ethnic minority populations in the Middle East is genocide.

In his letter, Wolf told the president and the UN Secretary General: 

Genocidal intent can clearly be seen in Islamic State’s ideology and mission which is directed towards the creation of a global caliphate that has been purged of every man, woman and child deemed to be an 'unbeliever' through either forced conversion or death. In Iraq, this...READ MORE

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Ross Douthat on Video: Organs Are Lucrative for PP Because Fetuses Are Human

07/27/2015 Comments (2)

Last week, after two undercover videos badly damaged Planned Parenthood's credibility with the public, the nation's paper of record stepped up to do some damage control.

"The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal," stated an editorial published by The New York Times. And within days, Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California, vowed to investigate the Center for Medical Progress — not Planned Parenthood, which also faces allegations that its abortionists alter their procedures to secure organs.

Likewise, Hillary Clinton criticised the videos as a "concerted"...READ MORE

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Ashley Madison Hack: "Cyberterrorism" or Vigilante Justice?

07/22/2015 Comments (5)

By (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This week, we learned that computer hackers are not only interested in exposing the dark secrets of U.S. foreign policy, or stealing consumers' credit information for profit. 

Some hackers seek to impose a kind of vigilante justice on the shadowy world of a dating website like Ashley Madison. The site is geared for people seeking extra-marital affairs, and it has an engaging pitch: "Life is short. Have an affair."

Here's an early report on the breach from KrebsonSecurity, a top site specializing in the ever-growing threat posed by cyberattacks.

Large caches of data stolen from online cheating site have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have...READ MORE

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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..