Noted Catholic blogger shares insights on Harrisburg Diocese bishop search

If I’ve learned one thing in recent months, it’s that midstate Catholics are very interested in the process to name the next bishop of the Harrisburg Diocese.

Rocco Palmo

Rocco Palmo

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to provide much information on the search, as it is an intensely guarded process.

It’s been seven months since Bishop Joseph McFadden died suddenly of a heart attack. I recently reached out to Rocco Palmo of the influential and well-regarded Whispers in the Loggia blog.

Rocco graciously agreed to answer a few questions about the church under Pope Francis and the Harrisburg bishop search.
Continue reading “Noted Catholic blogger shares insights on Harrisburg Diocese bishop search” »

Posted in Around Pennsylvania, Arts and media, Catholicism, Elsewhere, Local events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hobby Lobby case: how will the Supreme Court rule on contraception?

Hobby Lobby execs got the news last week that their case opposing a federal mandate to provide contraception to employees will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This case interests me because I am taking a class on intergovernmental relations. In particular, we are scrutinizing the history of federalism in the United States via Supreme Court decisions that have largely shaped the balance of power between the national government and the states.

My Way is one form of contraception available to women. (The Associated Press)

My Way is one form of contraception available to women. (The Associated Press)

While this is more of a private business vs. federal government issue, the decision amounts to an expansion of federal powers. The facts of the case are simple:

Does evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby have to pay for health insurance that includes coverage for contraception, as the president’s health care plan requires? The big issue here is whether the birth control mandate violates federal protections of religious freedom.
Continue reading “Hobby Lobby case: how will the Supreme Court rule on contraception?” »

Posted in Culture wars, Elsewhere, Nonprofits, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

St. Patrick selling tickets for an all-expenses paid trip to see Penn State in Dublin

When Terry Mahoney was looking for an idea to raise funds for St. Patrick Catholic Church in York, she leaned on her 32 years as a development director.

She came up with a unique trip of a lifetime. The church is raffling off two Ireland tour tickets centered around Penn State’s game against Central Florida next August in Dublin.

Penn State players bow in prayer before a recent game. (The Associated Press)

Penn State players bow in prayer before a recent game. (The Associated Press)

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for anybody, even if they’re not a Penn State fan and not interested in going to the game,” she said. “They could sell the tickets.”

Tickets are $100 each with the raffle being held on Dec. 15 in Brenner Hall immediately following the 11 a.m. Mass. All proceeds will benefit St. Patrick’s Church, 219 S. Beaver St.

The trip runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 1. It includes two round-trip airline tickets to Dublin, four nights stay in a five-star Radisson Hotel, an Irish breakfast each morning, a dinner with an Irish show and touring stops such as castles and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Of course, two reserved tickets to the Croke Park Classic game on Aug. 30 are also included. The total value of the package is $7,000, Mahoney said, the amount donated by seven people.

Ticket winners must have a valid passport and are responsible for their own transportation to Philadelphia International Airport.

A maximum of 500 tickets will be sold.

For more information, call Terry at 717-659-1287.

Posted in Arts and media, Catholicism, Denominational doings, Elsewhere, Local events, Pop Culture, Sports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rise of atheist megachurches a cultural phenomenon

Want a church feel of community without the religion tie-in? Turns out, you are not alone.

What began as a lark by two British comedians — atheist church — has caught fire and is spreading across the globe.

British comedians Sanderson Jones, right, and Pippa Evans sing a song during a recent Sunday Assembly gathering.

British comedians Sanderson Jones, right, and Pippa Evans sing a song during a recent Sunday Assembly gathering.

Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed “atheist mega-churches” by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more planned.

A recent inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles attracted several hundred people bound by their belief in non-belief. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.
Continue reading “Rise of atheist megachurches a cultural phenomenon” »

Posted in Arts and media, Atheists, agnostics, doubters, Culture wars, Elsewhere, Pop Culture, Worship | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

‘Tips for Jesus’ hits South Bend pub after a recent Notre Dame game

A modern-day Robin Hood of sorts (minus the stealing part) has emerged at pubs and restaurants in several states, leaving monster tips under the name, “Tips for Jesus.”

The Instagram account shows pictures of several surprised servers who received $500 to $5,000 tips on small dining checks. Whoever is behind the account says he or she is “Doing the Lords work, one tip at a time.”

godThe massive tips have been left in California, Chicago and Utah. Last month, Tips for Jesus left a big tip at a South Bend, Ind. tavern. That one garnered some notice after American Express refused to process the check.

The company apparently considered the check a mistake since the $5,000 tip was so large. The South Bend Tribune has the story:
Continue reading “‘Tips for Jesus’ hits South Bend pub after a recent Notre Dame game” »

Posted in Arts and media, Celebrities, Elsewhere, Pop Culture | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pew: Pope Francis’ popularity not boosting U.S. Catholic numbers

After just eight months on the job, Pope Francis has had a remarkable impact on Catholic theology.

While few concrete changes have emerged, Francis’ frank compassion and absolute humility have started a deep discussion on various issues long held by Catholics. It has also made him immensely popular.

Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on March 19. (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on March 19. (The Associated Press)

A new survey of American Catholics by the Pew Research Center shows that 79 percent give Francis favorable marks.

As Pew reports, some news accounts contend that the pope’s popularity has created a “Pope Francis effect,” producing a “significant global rise in church attendance,” based on reports by Catholic clergy in Italy, Britain and and other countries of a recent rise in Mass attendance.
Continue reading “Pew: Pope Francis’ popularity not boosting U.S. Catholic numbers” »

Posted in Catholicism, Celebrities, Culture wars, Elsewhere, Pop Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick takes leave due to ill health

Joe Aponick of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Harrisburg says Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Catholic Church in York is stepping aside for health reasons.

Father Samuel Houser

Father Samuel Houser

Houser was named senior priest and assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Church in Harrisburg. The Rev. Robert M. Gillelan, Jr., diocesan administrator, recently announced the appointment.

He also promoted the Rev. Keith M. Carroll from parochial vicar to administrator of St. Patrick. Both moves are effective Saturday.

Diocesan communications director, Aponick said a senior priest “is a position that assists the pastor, similar to a parochial vicar, but without administrative responsibilities.”
Continue reading “Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick takes leave due to ill health” »

Posted in Catholicism, Denominational doings, Local events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rev. Schaefer one of many pastors officiating gay weddings in defiance of church

I’ve been following the saga this week of the Rev. Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist minister from Spring City who was convicted under church law of officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony.

He was suspended for 30 days Tuesday and told he will lose his credentials if he violates any of the church’s rules in that time.

Frank Schaefer (The Associated Press)

Frank Schaefer (The Associated Press)

His was not the first case of a pastor who stepped outside his or her church to officiate a gay wedding. And he certainly won’t be the last. In May, I wrote about the Rev. Tom Ogletree, a former Yale dean who officiated his son’s gay wedding.

A United Methodist Church pastor, Ogletree is a Frederick Marquand Professor Emeritus of Theological and Social Ethics at Yale University Divinity School.
Continue reading “Rev. Schaefer one of many pastors officiating gay weddings in defiance of church” »

Posted in Around Pennsylvania, Arts and media, Clergy scandals, Culture wars, Denominational doings, Elsewhere, Mainline Protestants, Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Coast Guard commissions ship in honor of Charles David, Four Chaplains hero

About 18 months ago, I met a terrific lady on assignment covering the annual Four Chaplains Prayer Breakfast at the Yorktowne Hotel.

Sharon David's, left, grandfather Stewarts-mate First Class Charles Walter David Jr. was serving on the CGC Commanche which immediately came to the aid of survivors of the Dochester. David was one of 12 crewmen who volunteered to dive in to rescue crewmen in need. David died a few days later from pneumonia. 2012 Four Chaplains Prayer breakfast May 9, 2012 at the Yorktowne in York. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL

Sharon David’s, left, grandfather Stewarts-mate First Class Charles Walter David Jr. was serving on the CGC Commanche which immediately came to the aid of survivors of the Dochester. David was one of 12 crewmen who volunteered to dive in to rescue crewmen in need. David died a few days later from pneumonia. 2012 Four Chaplains Prayer breakfast May 9, 2012 at the Yorktowne in York. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – PAUL KUEHNEL

Sharon David made the trip here from Annapolis to see the grandfather she never met, Charles Walter David Jr., be honored for his heroic sacrifice

A steward’s mate in the Coast Guard during World War II, David was aboard the CGC Comanche on North Atlantic convoy duty the night of Feb. 3, 1943. The ship responded after the USS Dorchester was torpedoed by a U-boat off the coast of Greenland.
Continue reading “U.S. Coast Guard commissions ship in honor of Charles David, Four Chaplains hero” »

Posted in Arts and media, Elsewhere | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Obamacare, Medicaid and the social problem pastors won’t address

Amid all the political back and forth on the Affordable Care Act and whether it’s the savior of society, or a sign of the apocalypse, I came across a blog item taking pastors to task for not standing up for the poor.

An unidentified Obamacare supporter delivers a public message in this Associated Press photo.

An unidentified Obamacare supporter delivers a public message in this Associated Press photo.

It’s an issue I hadn’t considered fully, but in states that have rejected Medicaid expansion, millions of poor folks are not getting health coverage they need, and should be getting. The total is about five million people.

As reported by CNN, the coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges.
Continue reading “Obamacare, Medicaid and the social problem pastors won’t address” »

Posted in Arts and media, Catholicism, Celebrities, Culture wars, Ecomony, Elsewhere, Interfaith, Nonprofits, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment