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Pope names Bishop Christopher Coyne to lead Diocese of Burlington, Vermont


Pope's Christmas gift to Roman Curia: a harsh diagnosis of careerism, self-interest...
John Thavis
Pope Francis did not play Santa Claus today when he addressed the officials of the Roman Curia in their annual pre-Christmas get-together. Instead, he issued a blistering critique of "curial illnesses," ranging from the "terrorism of gossip" to the search for worldly profit. It was another sign that this pope is trying to change the culture inside the Vatican...


Gravediggers, goblins, and how Dickens discovered Christmas...
Sean Fitzpatrick
Christmas has become a humbug. Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge was a sour soothsayer for our times. By and large, Christmas is a humbug these days. It preaches peace, but breeds pressure. The ritual of the mall stands in for the ritual of the Mass. Santa Claus is not really Saint Nicholas. The holidays are not really holydays. Humbug...


Focused on the dysfunctional? A consideration of the need for the Synod on the Family to refocus on the family...
Msgr. Charles Pope
Many breathed a sigh of relief when the summary document of the extraordinary Synod on the Family was much improved and the seriously flawed sections (which no-one seems to know who wrote!) were removed. But in this case we cannot allow the better to become the enemy of the best. And frankly the relatio, though improved...


USAF Band Christmas flash mob at the National Air and Space Museum...


NORAD's Santa Tracker began with a typo and a good sport...


Scientists discover that birds can hear tornadoes long before they form...


A quick word on the Pope's calendar for the next few days...
Rocco Palmo
Tomorrow morning brings the beginning of Francis' Christmas cycle with the customary season's "greetings" to the Roman Curia. While Benedict XVI used the talk as his annual recap of church events both in the Vatican and beyond, in a much briefer text than before, Papa Bergoglio employed his first turn at the address last year to urge the clerics of the central government to an enhanced spirit of "professionalism...


Microwave hacks for daily life...


How the Catholic Church saved Hanukkah...
Joe Heschmeyer
As John tells us, “It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.” As we’ve seen, before Hanukkah became known as the Festival of Lights, it was known as the Feast of Dedication. So there would be no question that this is the holiday being celebrated...


See what the End shall be...


Archaeologists unearth entryway to King Herod's palace near Jerusalem...


Stephen Colbert’s Top 12 Catholicest Moments (some NSFW language)...


The devil likes to use daily "pinpricks" to subvert our relationships with others...
Philip Kosloski
The devil loves to highlight the little things and they can range from anywhere to not picking up your clothes to “I simply ask her what time dinner will be and she files into a temper”. Whenever two or more people live in the same house, there will always be differences in how things are done and because we can’t read each other’s minds...


Five books every Catholic should read ...
Joseph Pearce
Perhaps the most important work that Christendom has produced, after the Bible itself, is Aquinas’ monumental Summa Theologica. Since the work is so large and extensive, it’s not going to be practical for most Catholics to plough their way through it. This being so, every Catholic should read at least one book that summarizes the essence of Thomas’ teaching...


Pope: "The most dangerous misery is the presumption that we can do without God"...


A pictorial history of Santa Claus...


Christmas isn’t perfect, so find Christ in your real Christmas...

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New Advent is edited by Kevin Knight (webmasternewadvent.org)

Pope warns Curia against ‘spiritual diseases’...
John Allen
At the end of a tumultuous year for the Vatican, in which divisions among senior leadership over the direction being set by Pope Francis were at times glaringly apparent, the pontiff today led senior aides in a check-up for what he described as a series of dangerous "spiritual diseases." In a thinly veiled critique...


Why do Catholics insist on "closed Communion"? The reasons are lovely and romantic...
Richard Becker
Two of my former students are on the road to becoming Catholic, and both recently confided in me their frustration regarding Holy Communion—but it's not the reason you'd expect. You'd think they'd be struggling with transubstantiation and the Real Presence, right? That they'd be flummoxed by the Church's wild assertion that we're actually feasting on Jesus' body and blood when we consume the Blessed Sacrament...


Behind any diplomatic success, there is always a risk that the Church could be exploited...
Andrea Gagliarducci
The restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba is Pope Francis' first diplomatic success, and many commentators are enthusiastically emphasizing that the Holy See is now back as a major player in the international arena. In fact, Pope Francis was able to harvest the fruits of the Church's commitment to Cuba that extended over the past 50 years ...


"We're not really that Catholic. We are only medium Catholic..."...


I read Mass this morning. Wherein Fr. Z rants...
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
I read Mass this morning. No, actually, I sang Mass this morning, but saying "read Mass" is more fun. It annoys liberals. We have various phrases which means basically the same thing, but with certain nuances. And old-fashioned description of what the priest does, he "reads" Mass, stresses that he is not the author...


Racked by chronic illness, Laura Hillenbrand has defied the odds to give us "Seabiscuit" and "Unbroken"...


In a timeless tradition, the Camerlengo taps his silver hammer on the pope's head...
Kathy Schiffer
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of France was named to the post vacated this month by Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has reached the age of 80. After 80, a cardinal may no longer enter a conclave to elect a new pope. The role of the camerlengo is a unique one in the Catholic Church. He is administrator of the property and revenues of the Holy See...


Pope's Sunday Angelus: "Christ is knocking at the door of your heart"...


'Exodus: Gods and Kings" is spiritually flat...
Fr. Robert Barron
Ridley Scott’s new film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” features Moses, the Pharaoh, hundreds of thousands of slaves making their way across the floor of the Red Sea, all ten plagues, the burning bush, and even the angel of Yahweh in the form of a petulant eleven year old boy with a British accent. And yet, the movie is spiritually flat...


9 reasons why 2014 was a great year for the pro-life movement...


15 vintage photos of nuns doing normal things...


Cardinal Dolan to have ‘nothing further to do’ with Priests for Life as dispute goes public...


Crooks and hookers have an advantage over the self-righteous...


How to hone a knife on the rough edge of a vehicle window...


Why the 'best places to work' are often the worst places to work...


What if you made a lava lamp out of real lava?


Just make it count...


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