Well, I'm home from Rome, and as always, the transition has been slightly bumpy. There are things that smooth it out - like when my niece Isabella randomly hugged me with all her little might and said, "I love you."  But there are things I don't like so much... and one of them is noticing [...]

Is Vatican Radio causing cancer?

This has been a bad press week for the Vatican, and is now made worse: A new Italian court-ordered study has determined that Vatican Radio's main broadcast tower outside Rome is increasing the neighbors' risk of cancer. "There has been an important, coherent and meaningful correlation between exposure to Vatican Radio's structures and the risk [...]

Time for some Friday morning links: 2010 has been a rough year so far for the Holy Father, but Sandro Magister says that, "for Pope Benedict, the Horrible Year 2010 is a year of grace." Sad follow-up to Brian's post yesterday about the murdered Chinese priest and nun: A fellow monk in the underground Church [...]

Friday Free-for-All

Time for some Friday morning links: 2010 has been a rough year so far for the Holy Father, but Sandro Magister says that, "for Pope Benedict, the Horrible Year 2010 is a year of grace." Sad follow-up to Brian's post yesterday about the murdered Chinese priest and nun: A fellow monk in the underground Church [...]

Blogosphere reactions to the New York Times piece

When I saw Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger's 4,000-word article on Pope Benedict and the sex-abuse scandal in the New York Times this morning, I knew it would be a big story -- but I didn't have the time then to do anything other than link to it in my morning round-up. Since then, others [...]

Treasures in the catacombs

This time last year, the Vatican announced that it had discovered the oldest known icon of St. Paul in the catacombs of St. Tecla in Rome. Now, with the excavation of the tomb complete, they've discovered even more: Vatican archaeologists announced the image of Paul was not found in isolation, but was part of a [...]

Did Rev. Maciel sexually abuse his own son?

In a sadly unsurprising development, Jose Raul Gonzalez -- who is allegedly one of the late Rev. Marcial Maciel's illegitimate children -- is claiming that his father molested him, as well. Jose Raul Gonzalez is seeking unspecified damages from the Legionaries of Christ in a lawsuit filed Monday in Connecticut. The international group has its [...]

1942: State Absolutism

St. Thomas More said that to be a Christian, we must not only believe the Resurrection, we must continually be surprised by it. That saint, surprised daily by the empty tomb, saw what happens when people are not even surprised by God. The reinvented government that sentenced More to death was, from various angles, a [...]

From the Heart of the Church…

As the year for priests draws to a close, hindsight shows that Pope Benedict’s decision to devote this year to prayer for priests was prescient. On the dark side, it has been a year in which the scandal of abuse has dominated media headlines. But what hasn’t gotten media attention is the way the year [...]

Soloviev’s Amen: A Russian Orthodox Argument for the Papacy

During the past six or seven centuries, succeeding pontiffs have repeatedly invited the separated Eastern Churches to return to communion with Rome. The few responses from the East have been negative -- with only one exception, as far as I can determine. One member of an Eastern Orthodox Church responded positively in print… a Russian [...]

Episcopal/Catholic Conversion Is a Two-Way Street

An announcement that the Roman Catholic Church was creating a new structure for Anglicans to convert en masse grabbed the media's attention last year. Married Anglican priests could swim the Tiber all while keeping their liturgies and worship forms mostly intact, affiliating with new Roman Catholic "ordinates" of their own that looked strikingly similar to [...]

Sewage Detox

It had already been a harrowing spring for me and my family. Two weeks before, my daughter was walking our family pet, an eight-pound terrier, on a leash, when they were rushed by a big dog that grabbed ours by the neck and shook him to death. My wife was devastated; the little fellow had [...]

Why Young Catholics Are Leaving the Church

They leave for different reasons. Some saw hypocrisy. Others were hurt by those in authority. Still more disagree with a Church teaching. Sometimes, all they're waiting for is an invitation back. And often, it's not the Catholic Church itself that the "fallen away" have a beef with but their particular experience of it. "Evangelize at [...]

St. Catherine of Siena

I'm a little late in getting to the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, one of the patron saints of Italy -- certainly a poster saint for the "genius of women" and one of my favorites (even if she's an act I could never begin to follow). As I've mentioned previously, part of ordinary life in [...]

The Vatican’s crisis response strategy needs help…

Yesterday concluded a three-day media communications conference at Santa Croce in Rome. Wall Street Journal reporter Stacey Meichtry has a mostly fair assessment of the challenge the Church faces in responding to the crisis. Meichtry makes some important points -- namely, that the church's response to the crisis is bound to be decentralized. Bishops cannot [...]

Sex and the Media

I came across an article on the wires a few days ago at the peak of the media’s frenzied calls for Pope Benedict to step down or be arrested. It was about bikinis with padded bras for little girls, which have now been recalled.  It seemed ironic that the news was saturated with pedophilia scandals as [...]

Michael Sean Winters In Defense of Benedict XVI

My sometimes sparring partner at America, Michael Sean Winters, has an excellent post on the latest attack against Benedict XVI.  Here are the opening two paragraphs, the rest being well worth reading since Winters takes a close look at the documents purported to prove the Holy Father guilty of a "cover-up": The whole world now [...]

Good Friday Morning

Given the day, it didn't seem quite right to go with the usual free-for-all round-up of news and offbeat links, so here instead are two Good Friday links -- Cardinal Ruini's meditations for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome today, and Paul Robeson's beautiful rendering of "Were You There." Feel free [...]

Holy Week in Rome

With the constant media barrage against the pope and the Church, we seem to be living our own Via Crucis this year. And even though I am celebrating Easter at home in Boston, I’m attuned to what is happening in Rome.  Just before I left Rome last week, I offered the Vatican Radio commentary for Pope Benedict’s [...]

Nature by the Numbers

Today's YouTube treasure is neither particularly humorous nor stop-motion-animation-y. But what it lacks in those departments, it more than makes up for with its high "math geek" quotient and sheer mind-blowing awesomeness: Cristóbal Vila, the man behind the short, has a fascinating website documenting the ideas and process behind his creation: Artists and architects have [...]