Priest Reacts to Charlie Challenge: 'We are opening our kids to spiritual warfare'

05/27/2015 Comments (17)

– Shutterstock

When Father Stephen McCarthy, the chaplain of Sts. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School in Philadelphia, sent a May 25 email message warning students about a popular social-media game that encourages kids to “play with demons,” he never intended to get his name in the paper.

But when a friend forwarded a British tabloid story about the #CharlieCharlieChallenge with his photograph, the Philadelphia priest realized he had struck a nerve.

“It boggles my mind that my email was so newsworthy. Did it take me to say this? Was this unknown to Catholics?” asked Father McCarthy during a May 27 telephone interview.

Father McCarthy isn’t looking for notoriety — he’d rather be one...READ MORE

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Catholic High School Chaplain on Charlie Challenge: Summoning Demons Is a Dangerous Game

05/26/2015 Comments (25)

As "Charlie Charlie Challenge" -- a game that encourages teens to 'play with demons' -- sweeps social media,  a Catholic high school minister in Philadelphia urged students to keep their distance. 

"There is a dangerous game going around on social media which openly encourages impressionable young people to summon demons," wrote Father Stephen McCarthy, a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in an open letter to students at  Sts. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School. "I want to remind you all there is no such thing as 'innocently playing with demons.'"

Britain's Daily Mirror reported on the priest's letter, which was linked to a student's Twitter feed. The priest was...READ MORE

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Ireland First Nation to Embrace Same-Sex Marriage by Popular Vote, Religious Freedom Issues Ahead

05/23/2015 Comments (157)

Today, Ireland became the first nation in the world to approve a constitutional right to same-sex marriage by popular vote.

"With the final ballots counted, the vote was 62-to-38 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage," The New York Times reported.

"The turnout was large — more than 60 percent of the 3.2 million people eligible cast ballots, and only one district voted the measure down." 

The Iona Institute, which led opposition to the referendum, extended congratulations to the activists, who spearheaded the ballot initiative in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. But the institute's press release noted unresolved concerns about religious freedom.


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San Fran Teachers Shift from Contracts to Doctrine: Great Reversal in Church Teaching Underway

05/21/2015 Comments (83)

In an escalation of the teacher-contract dispute in the San Francisco Archdiocese, a spokesman affiliated with the group opposing Archbishop Cordileone published a manifesto that dismissed his "interpretation" of Catholic teaching as a flawed approach that required "fraternal" correction.

"Archbishop Cordileone’s authority is not in his assertions but in his arguments," read the rambling "open letter" addressed to school administrators." Published in the National Catholic Reporter, the May 20 statement was written by Jim McGarry, a former Catholic high school teacher, who once taught religious studies at the Jesuit-run St. Ignatius College Prepatory and at Mercy High School.  

Supporters...READ MORE

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Ross Douthat: Churches That Pay to Help Poor But Don't Pray With Them Are Like NGOs

05/17/2015 Comments (13)

Recently, the Catholic Church has taken a hit from President Obama and Robert Putnam, the author of Our Kids, the latest bestseller on the social and economic marginalization of poor and working-class Americans who are increasingly less likely to marry, find work, attend college or go to church.

“Over the last 30 years,” Putnam said in an interview with The Washington Post, “most organized religion has focused on issues regarding sexual morality, such as abortion, gay marriage, all of those. I’m not saying if that’s good or bad, but that’s what they’ve been using all their resources for..."

Really? Tell that to Catholic Charities, USA, the national office for local diocesan affiliates...READ MORE

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Cardinal Dolan's seven-point plan to stop Christian persecution

05/12/2015 Comments (36)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York marked  the desperate plight of Christians in Iraq and Syria with an urgent plea for Americans to take action before it's too late.

“When it comes to the persecution of Christians, we are talking about an… international emergency,” Cardinal Dolan said, expressing both frustration and hope as he  called for lay Catholics to demand action from their government, provide humanitarian aid and pray, during an address at  conference on "The Islamic State's Religious Cleansing and the Urgency of a Strategic Response." Listen to the conference here.

Defending persecuted Christians  “is not some chic hobby. We are talking about life and death, we are talking about...READ MORE

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Jeb Bush:When the state demands obedience in disregard of religious conscience, the answer is No

05/10/2015 Comments (52)
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GOP presidential aspirant Jeb Bush

– Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore/CC BY 3.0

"How strange, in our own time, to hear Christianity spoken of as some sort of backward and oppressive force.  Outside these seven thousand acres of shared conviction, it’s a depressing fact that when some people think of Christianity and of Judeo-Christian values, they think of something static, narrow, and outdated.  We can take this as unfair criticism, as it typically is, or we can take it as further challenge to show in our lives the most dynamic, inclusive, and joyful message that ever came into the world."

--Jeb Bush, Liberty University, May 9

During the 2012 election year, supporters of the HHS contraceptive mandate framed opposition to the federal rule as a "war on women," and GOP...READ MORE

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SanFran Archbishop weighs 'adjustments' to teacher contracts

04/27/2015 Comments (24)

On April 27, the Archdiocese of San Francisco signaled that it was prepared to make "adjustments" to advance negotiaions with the local Catholic teachers' union.  The statement marked an afternoon of protests against the archdiocese.

"Hundreds of Catholic-school teachers and supporters gathered outside the San Francisco Archdiocese on Monday afternoon waving rainbow banners and preaching acceptance of gays and lesbians — all in protest of efforts by the archbishop to require employees to embrace church opposition to 'homosexual relations,' 'fornication' and other 'gravely evil' sexual activities," reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

The union represents faculty at the four Catholic high...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..