Cardinal John O'Connor, Dachau, and the Sisters of Life

A visit to a Nazi concentration camp inspired then Bishop-elect O'Connor to become a pro-life leader, and only much later would his sister discover that their maternal grandmother was Jewish.

06/17/2014 Comments (9)

I knew the late Cardinal John O'Connor of New York very well during the 1980s, when I worked at Catholic New York, the archdiocesan news paper, and afterward. He had many gifts: the gift of friendship, of courage, of compassion, or leadership, and a zest for life. He put all of these gifts to work on behalf of the pro-life movement. By word and deed, he affirmed the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and frequently reached out to those in need who sought his help or touched his heart.

After I left New York, he would help found the Sisters of Life, an order of amazing religious women who help women and families struggling with crisis pregnancies. 

Recently, I learned...READ MORE

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Archbishop Chaput Unveils Plans for 2015 World Meeting of Families

Pope Francis is expected to attend the September 22-27, 2015 meeting in Philadelphia.

06/11/2014 Comment

"Love is our mission; the family fully alive." – Archbishop Chaput 

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia invited  Catholics to the 2015 “Global” Celebration of Families, during a June 11 address at the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting in New Orelans. 

The 2015 World Meeting of Families is scheduled to take place next year from September 22-27, and is expected to attract a worldwide audience, with an estimated 1 million people participating in the weekend events. Chaput said that state and local government and business leaders had stepped up to help with logistics and other issues.

And that's a good thing, because the cost of next year's meeting will easily run into the tens of millions...READ MORE

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Singing Nun Wins 'Voice of Italy' Contest; Recites 'Our Father'

06/06/2014 Comments (5)

Last night, Italy's "Singing Nun," Sister Cristina Scuccia, won the 'Voice of Italy' contest, reports The New York Times, which includes the YouTube video of her rousing rendition of 'What a Feeling!' from the film Flashdance. What the YouTube video does not include is Sister Cristina's recitation of the 'Our Father' when she accepted the award. The Times' report suggests that the "Voice of Italy" judges did their best to ignore the unexpected  outburst expressiong  faith in God. What did the judges expect? Her habit should have given them a hint of what was on her mind.

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Messenger of the Truth: Film on Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko

PBS will air this stirring documentary on the Polish martyr and chaplain of the Polish Solidarity movement on Sunday, June 1 and Monday, June 2.

05/31/2014 Comments (5)

A couple of days ago, I watched Messenger of the Truth, the story of Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a Polish priest who made headlines during the 1980s as the heroic chaplain of the Solidarity movement in Poland, and my mind is still occupied with the haunting images in this film. It will be playing on public television on Sunday, June 1 and Monday, June 2. Adults will re-live the historic events that unfolded in Poland in the decade leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and young Americans will get a remarkable lesson in how the courage and faith of one individual can help transform an entire nation. 

To check out if and when the documentary will be aired on your public...READ MORE

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Cardinal Dolan's Take on Pope Francis and "Trickle-Down Economics"

Cardinal Timothy Dolan explains Pope Francis' views about free markets to Wall Street .

05/23/2014 Comments (28)

Don't believe all the stuff you read about Pope Francis' attacks on free-market economics, says Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, in a May 22 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal

The church believes that prosperity and earthly blessings can be a good thing, gifts from God for our well-being and the common good. It is part of human nature to work and produce, and everyone has the natural right to economic initiative and to enjoy the fruits of their labors. But abundance is for the benefit of all people.

The spread of the free market has undoubtedly led to a tremendous increase in overall wealth and well-being around the world. Yet Pope Francis is certainly correct that "an important...READ MORE

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Resigning Ourselves to a Middle East without Christians

U.S. Christian leaders sign “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action” on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

05/20/2014 Comments (6)

, Pope Francis has insisted that  the Church 

will not be resigned to think about the Middle East without Christians.

So what is to be done, in practical terms, to reverse the departure of Christians from Egypt, Syria and Iraq?  That question raises the broader problem of how Catholics and Christians across the globe can effectively defend the rights of believers who want to stay in the region, but are forced to leave because their fundamental rights have been ignored or even undermined by their own governments.

Mindful that the pope's visit will draw fresh attention to this problem, U.S. Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant  leaders, legislators and church-affiliated organizations, like...READ MORE

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Harvard's President Has Learned Something about the Eucharist, So Should Catholics

The black mass re-enactment scheduled to take place at Harvard was canceled, marking Drew Faust's dawning appreciation for what the Real Presence means. But how many Catholics "get" the moral of this story?

05/13/2014 Comments (8)

Harvard president, Drew Faust, learned something over the past week: The Eucharist is integral to Catholic belief, and some of the faithful expressed their love and reverance for the Eucharist, as they responded forcefully and prayerfully to the news of a planned re-enactment of the Satanic mass, which mocks  the Eucharist.

Last week, Faust dismissed Catholic outrage about the black mass, which was scheduled for May 12 at a campus pub. Pressed to cancel the event, Faust limited her comments to an expression of support to the right of assembly for participants at the event.

This week, Faust responded differently, calling the black mass "abhorent" and 

a fundamental affront to the values...READ MORE

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Satanic Mass at Harvard Marks Double Standard for Catholic Beliefs

Father Roger Landry, a Harvard alumn and Fall River priest, writes Harvard's president to ask why its okay to mock Catholic beliefs.

05/08/2014 Comments (83)

In the past couple of days, Harvard University has heard from a slew of Catholics outraged about the planned reenactment of a Satanic mass on campus. The university issued a press release explaining that it wasn't endorsing the event, while the Boston Archdiocese has strongly opposed it, portraying it as an affront to Catholics and dangerous for anyone who participates in it:

This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.

[UPDATE: Catholics takes such matters very seriously. In fact, this week at the Vatican, Pope Francis is hosting a conference on...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 Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.