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‘Amazing Grace’ Opens on Broadway (1861)

First-Time Playwright Christopher Smith Explains His Vision

08/14/2015 Comments (2)
Joan Marcus via boneaubryanbrown.com

Josh Young shown in Amazing Grace on Broadway

– Joan Marcus via boneaubryanbrown.com

Young John Newton was familiar with the sea: He was only 11 years old when he first set sail with his father. By the age of 18, he’d accepted a position as a slave master in Jamaica; but before he could assume his new post, Newton was pressed into service in the British Navy. He became a midshipman, but he tried to desert his ship — so he was severely beaten and, at his own request, was transferred to a slave ship bound for West Africa.

While he was aboard the slave ship, Newton was forced to become the personal servant of the cruel slave master. Finally, in 1743, he was rescued by a British sea captain, who agreed to transport him home to England. 

But alas, as the ship sailed homeward,...READ MORE

Filed under abolitionism, amazing grace, christian life, conversion stories, ending slavery, theater

Could the Release of 22 Christians Signal Another Islamic State Attack? (1969)

A Syriac-Catholic bishop said the Christians in northeastern Syria are surrounded by Islamic State’s terror army on three sides, with Turkey’s closed border to the north.

08/14/2015 Comments (1)
Bertramz via Wikimedia

A Christian church in Al-Hasakah, Syria, in 2009

– Bertramz via Wikimedia

AL-HASAKAH, Syria — Islamic State militants on Tuesday freed 22 Christians they have held captive since February, but a Syrian archbishop has warned that while the news is good, it could be a distraction ahead of another major assault.

“Perhaps we can do an analysis on why [the Islamic State group] returned them, because one month ago they attacked Hasakah to take it, [and] they couldn’t,” Jacques Hindo, the Syriac-Catholic archbishop of Hasakeh-Nisibi, told CNA.

“Maybe they are giving a signal that we are expecting another attack,” he said. “It’s a little like a drug for us, to reassure us so that we aren’t vigilant, and then they’ll make a new, large attack.”

Archbishop Hindo's diocese...READ MORE

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A Voice Missing From the Synod: Faithful Catholics With Same-Sex Attraction (3207)

“Our best ambassadors are our members,” Father Check of Courage said at the organization's conference.

08/14/2015 Comments (21)
CNA

– CNA

DETROIT — When presenters addressed last year’s Synod of Bishops to discuss challenges facing the family, there was one group whose voice was absent: those with same-sex attraction living chastely.

So says Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage, a Catholic outreach ministry to persons experiencing homosexual desires.

At the organization’s international conference, he emphasized the importance of hearing testimonies from those for whom same-sex attraction is “a lived reality” but who believe that the Church’s teaching on chastity “leads to peace.”

“Our best ambassadors are our members,” Father Check said. The personal stories of these faithful Catholics must be heard, he...READ MORE

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Colorado Court Gives No Relief to Baker Who Declined to Serve Same-Sex Couple (1745)

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop said that in his view the ruling means that the court created an exception to the First Amendment that wrongly affects his family-run bakery.

08/14/2015 Comments (14)
Wikipedia Commons

Colorado Court of Appeals

– Wikipedia Commons

DENVER — A Colorado baker has lamented the Colorado Court of Appeals’ ruling handed down Thursday that he illegally discriminated when he declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop said that in his view the ruling means that the court created an exception to the First Amendment that wrongly affects his family-run bakery.

“You’re entitled to believe, but not entitled to act on those beliefs,” he said in an Aug. 13 statement.

“You’re not free if your beliefs are confined to your mind,” Phillips objected. “What makes America unique is our freedom to peacefully live out these beliefs.”

He had appealed the decision of Colorado’s Civil Rights...READ MORE

Filed under colorado, same-sex 'marriage', same-sex attraction, wedding

‘Preaching Boot Camp’ Preps Priests-to-Be (3194)

Both Pope Francis and Benedict XVI have called for better homilies, and seminaries are using different strategies and feedback mechanisms to form preachers who inspire.

08/14/2015 Comments (11)
Alan Holdren/ CNA

– Alan Holdren/ CNA

DETROIT — To be or not to be a good preacher: That is the question faced by seminaries that have rededicated themselves to forming priests who can awaken the Gospel in their congregation’s hearts — and not put them to sleep.

Catholic priests in the U.S. as a group do not have a reputation for strong preaching abilities. According to the U.S. Catholic bishops, survey after survey over the years have seen Catholics calling for better preaching, and others citing poor preaching as a reason they became discouraged and left the Church.  

 The Archdiocese of Detroit and a pair of trained professional theater actors have been working together to break that stereotype.

The heart of seminary...READ MORE

Filed under homilies, preaching, priests, seminarians

US Embassy to the Holy See Moves to New Location (1483)

Diplomatic office will share same campus as both the U.S. Embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

08/13/2015 Comment
Bohumil Petrik/CNA

St. Peter's Basilica

– Bohumil Petrik/CNA

ROME — This week, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has begun its move to a new building, which shares the same campus as both the U.S. Embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

“We are looking forward to a larger, more modern facility that can provide a more functional space for our staff,” Ambassador Ken Hackett said in an Aug. 11 statement announcing the move.

He said the Unites States’ relationship with the Holy See “is important and continues to grow, as we work together to promote human rights, social justice and peace around the world,” adding that the new facility provides “a more robust workspace” to carry out ongoing collaboration with the Vatican and with the...READ MORE

Filed under u.s. embassy to the holy see, u.s.-vatican relations

‘All Are Welcome’: Well-Meaning in Theory but Insidious in Practice (9819)

COMMENTARY: For some, the popular slogan is shorthand for a politically correct, morally ambiguous agenda.

08/13/2015 Comments (55)
Shutterstock

– Shutterstock

One of the slogans in the Catholic Church in the United States today is “All Are Welcome!” I hate to be a party pooper, but I wonder what this wholesome marketing slogan actually means in practice.

In a Catholic culture, like Pope Francis’ Argentina, “All Are Welcome” means something very different from a multicultural, multifaith, essentially Protestant country like the United States.

In a Catholic country, it is assumed that the vast majority of the population is Catholic. It is assumed that most have been baptized and have had at least a minimum of Catholic teaching on faith and morals. To say, “All are welcome” in a Catholic country is to open our doors, our hearts and our arms to our...READ MORE

Filed under catholic church, disciples of christ, father dwight longenecker, moral ambiguity, political correctness, pope franics, relativism

A Visiting Catholic Is Struck by the Beauty of the Mass, Asks If This Is a Catholic Church and More! (4221)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

08/13/2015 Comment

Click on A Visiting Catholic Is Struck by the Beauty of the Mass, Asks If This Is a Catholic Church by Father Charles Byrd of the New Liturgical Movement link to read more.

A Visiting Catholic Is Struck by the Beauty of the Mass, Asks If This Is a Catholic Church by Father Charles Byrd of the New Liturgical Movement - Big Pulpit

America the Murderous: A Solemn Prophetic Warning – Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on my Head

What Do Fetal Parts and Relics Have in Common? - Anabelle Hazard, Catholic Stand

Five Things Christians Shouldn’t Say to Atheists – Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, Pursued by Truth

I’m Single and I Use Natural Family Planning - Morgan McFarlin, Ignitum Today

Pope Emeritus Benedict Has Spoken on the Synod and Communion for Divorcees – William Oddie PhD, Catholic Herald Magazine

St. Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles - Laura Hensley,...READ MORE

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