Bringing Up Purgatory at a Funeral?

01/30/2015 Comments (438)

Dante depicted as looking at purgatory, in a 16th-century painting.

– Wikipedia

Is it in bad taste, even insensitive, to speak of purgatory at a funeral?

Many seem to think so. In my experience, most homilists at funeral Masses report that our loved one is already in heaven, and we should hold onto that thought as we grieve our loss.

So I was startled this month when the homilist at a recent funeral Mass for an old friend asked the congregation to pray for him in purgatory.  The priest added, as if anticipating the shock of some mourners: “It seems to me, any Christian who does not accept purgatory, diminishes God’s love for man, and at the same time devalues the beauty of the human person."

His intriguing words grabbed my attention.

The priest, Dominican Father...READ MORE

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Brigid Loves Her Sister, Amy, and Asks Others to Welcome Children With Down Syndrome

01/23/2015 Comments (2)
Yesterday's March for LIfe in Washington and tomorrow's Walk for LIfe in San Francisco remind us that every life has equal dignity, and that unborn children with genetic disorders should be welcomed with love and acceptance.
I have known Patty Ann and Jim White and their four children since the mid-1990s, and have never failed to be inspired by their legacy of love, mutual respect and witness to life. The Whites' youngest daughter, Amy, has Down syndrome, and Amy's older sister, Brigid, has been her cloest friend and supporter.
Brigid is heading off the college next fall, and last week she gave an address at her school assembly that celebrated Amy's special gifts. Brigid urged her fellow...READ MORE

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Should Peggy Noonan’s New York Catholic Church Be Closed?

Rebutting claims in Noonan's Wall Street Journal column, the New York Archdiocese goes on the offensive.

01/05/2015 Comments (55)

Peggy Noonan


Church closures are a sad, increasingly predictable fact of life in some U.S. dioceses, and that is not news to Peggy Noonan, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal and a parishioner at the Church of St. Thomas More on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side.

But Noonan ruffled feathers in the local chancery when she argued in a Dec. 26 column that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York had no good reason for floating a proposal to shutter the church she attends. With its standing-room only liturgies, successful school, array of programs, legacy of fostering vocations, community outreach and solid finances, she argued, the Church of St. Thomas More should be celebrated, not closed.

So why might her...READ MORE

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For Persecuted Christians in the Middle East, a Vermont Priest Makes a Difference

01/01/2015 Comments (6)

Father Kiely appearing on EWTN's "The World Over" with Raymond Arroyo

Amid the cascade of crises across the world in 2014, it was all too easy to forget the desperate plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. So as we ponder our New Year's resolutions for 2015, let's commit to offer prayers and material support for our sisters and brothers who have fled their homes and taken up residence in monasteries and schools, homes and camps in Kurdistan, and in Turkey, LebanonJordan, and Egypt.

If that suggestion seems like a tall order, then look to Father Benedict Kiely, a priest in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, who recently eestablished a website -- -- to raise funds and awareness about the needs of Christians in Iraq and Syria. As I...READ MORE

Filed under persecuted christians, isis, isil, islamic state,, pope francis

Mother Agnes on Visitation Report: ‘Religious life is not dying in U.S.’

The Sister of Life superior general and chair of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious points to young vocations that buck a broader trend and inspire "hope and wonder."

12/16/2014 Comments (9)
EWTN News Nightly

– EWTN News Nightly

There is reason for hope. The same voice of love which called women to courageously and selflessly tend the poor, weak and young in the past is still calling young women today. It is the voice of Jesus, and the experience of His personal love continues to lead young women to our doors. ---Mother Agnes at Vatican City

At the Dec. 16 Vatican press conference making the release of the Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of  Institutes of Women Religious in the United States, Sister of Life Mother Agnes Donovan, who chairs the Council Major Superiors of Women Religious, which represents a smaller number of religious institutes that are faithful to the Magisterium, offered this formal...READ MORE

Filed under apostolic visitation of women's religious communities, final report on women's religious, mother agnes mary donovan, sisters of life

Little Sisters' HHS Mandate Case at 10th Circuit

12/08/2014 Comments (63)

Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor, who filed a legal challenge to the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate that has drawn national attention, took their case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Dec. 8, the panel heard oral arguments for Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, a key free exercise case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last June, in another closely watched free exercise case, the justices ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by a Christian family that filed a legal challenge to the HHS mandate. The 10th Circuit had also decided in favor of Hobby Lobby.  The legal arguments on both sides have addressed both the high...READ MORE

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Stand with Middle East Christians This Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (2)
Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

A boy waits with other young refugees, including many of from Syria and Iraq, for a Nov. 30 meeting with Pope Francis in Istanbul's Salesian Oratory.

– Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Observing the mayhem in the Middle East last summer, Father Benedict Kiely at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, Vt., did what came naturally: He asked his congregation to pray for those suffering, the Christian community in particular.

He was especially troubled by the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and a Christian stronghold, to ISIS extremists. ISIS fighters painted the homes and businesses of Christians with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nasarean,” a contemptuous way of referring to Christians. The “N” marked inhabitants for forced conversion, persecution or death. Christians fled the city by the thousands, and for the first time 1600 years, there was no Mass celebrated in the...READ MORE

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Obamacare and Abortion:  Website Breaks Silence

11/22/2014 Comments (7)

This week, a pro-life Connecticut couple, Barth and Abbie Bracy, won their battle against their state's health exchange that only offered plans that cover elective abortion, with every policyholder paying a surcharge to underwrite the procedure.  On Wednesday, the couple's lawyers voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the exchange after state  officials agreed to include "plan options that, for the first time in Connecticut, will not require participants to pay for others' elective abortions," according to a news report.

If you hope to enroll in an insurance plan authorized under Obamacare,  and you share the Bracy family's pro-life values,  it may not be easy to identify a plan that...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..