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'Joyful evening' at Redondo Beach concert, and then a horrific crash


The U.S.-Cuba agreement is the fruit of fifty years of quiet Vatican diplomacy...
Andrea Gagliarducci
The announcement that the US and Cuba will enjoy warmer relations follows more than 50 years of Vatican diplomacy, which was ramped up by St. John Paul II during his 1984 visit to nearby Puerto Rico. The Church’s commitment for Cuba has a twofold path: on one side, the relations that bishops, especially from the US, had with Cuba...


Here's the trouble with Christmas movies...
Steven Greydanus
“What are your favorite Christmas movies?” As a Catholic film critic, I get this question several times every December, often on the air or via social media. The question, alas, touches on a sore subject for me. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. For starters, I’ve never seen a production of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” that I don’t like...


"Like some funeral parlor in Little Italy": Even Chartres Cathedral isn't immune from the renovation craze...


The New Atheists are providing cover for western imperialism...
Mark Shea
Christianity has its sins, for sure. But if the problem has been that Christians were so cocksure of themselves that they trampled indigenous cultures at times, how in blazes is that fixed by embracing an ideology that is absolutely sure that virtually the entirety of the human race has been absolutely wrong about the thing that mattered to it most and the best way to solve that is to trample with contempt (and if necessary...


NASA can see your Christmas lights from space...


"The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything" (NSFW language warning)...


The Cuba Agreement: Brought to you by popes, presidents and spies...


A victory for the Vatican’s line of détente...
John Allen
The normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba may be primarily a turning point for those two nations, but it also represents a victory for a Vatican policy of détente that reaches back at least to the papacy of John Paul II. Cuba is a historically Catholic country, where 60 percent of the population is still estimated to be Catholic...


Inside Beijing's Airpocalypse: A city made 'almost uninhabitable' by pollution...


Pope's Wednesday Audience: Mary and Joseph exemplify mission, vocationof family life...


Strange moments in liturgical history: How a paragon of traditional liturgy may have caused unintended effects...


The Francis Filter is like bamboo...
George Weigel
About a year ago, I suggested to one of the top editors of a major American newspaper that his journal’s coverage of things papal left something to be desired, as it seemed based on the assumption that Pope Francis was some kind of radical wild-man, eager to toss into the garbage bin of history all those aspects of Catholic faith and practice that mainstream western culture finds distasteful...


There seems to be a "good cop, bad cop" dynamic that still lingers on at the Vatican...
John Thavis
Today's Vatican report on the investigation of U.S. women's religious orders was largely positive in tone, in contrast to statements issued when the investigation began in 2009. At that time, Cardinal Franc Rodé, who headed the Vatican congregation for religious orders, said the study was aimed at identifying "secular" and "feminist" attitudes that had infiltrated the nuns' orders and helped cause a drastic decline in membership...


Here's what it looked like at the scene of the Peshawar school attack...


The Shahada in Sydney reminds us that political Islam is deadly...


Full text: Vatican report on U.S. women religious...


Catholic churches should be houses of wonder...
Anthony Esolen
Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum. I shall go in to the altar of God. To God, the joy of my youth. A few days ago I entered for the first time what some people in the area call the Sistine Chapel of America. There's reason for that. Saint Anne's Church, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island...

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

11 things you might not know about reindeer...


An old ghost hidden in details of that New York Times story on shuttered Catholic churches...
Terry Mattingly
Here is a comment that I hear every now and then, either in private emails or when I meet veteran GetReligion readers out in the wilds of daily life: Why do you make some of the same comments over and over, when critiquing religion news in the mainstream press? Whenever I hear that I think about one of my favorite college professors back in my days as a history major...


Christmas, Xmas, and Yuletide: 5 things to know and share...
Jimmy Akin
The word “Christmas” comes from the Old English phrase Christes maesse (“Christ’s Mass”)—that is the Mass celebrated in honor of Christ’s birth. From this original reference to a particular Mass celebrated in the Church’s liturgical year, the term came to apply both to the day on which the Mass was celebrated and to the liturgical season associated with it...


Pope Gregory the Great's advice to married people...
Msgr. Charles Pope
Every now and again when I write on Holy Matrimony, especially the Church’s more staunch biblical teachings (indissolubility, no contraception, etc.), someone will inevitably write in with a kind of sneer and wonder at or even laugh at a celibate man advising married people about marriage. To be sure, inner experience of something has its place...


An inside look at how the creepy cult of Scientology converts troubled people into members...


‘Ukraine Catholics being driven underground,’ say Church leaders...


Zechariah’s mysterious vision in the Temple: 10 things to know and share...


Pope Francis clinches historic pact between U.S. and Cuba...
Rocco Palmo
Not many people get to celebrate their birthday with a diplomatic romp... but on his 78th, the Pope can claim precisely that. Announced this morning by President Obama in a White House stand-up, the US' "reset" paving the way toward full bilateral relations with Cuba and enhanced economic ties has largely been credited to the influence of the Pope and concerted back-channel work on the part of the Holy See...


Why the Pantheon hasn’t crumbled in 1900 years...


Stephen Hawking's words of wisdom are often just crazy or silly...


How and why to improve your cursive penmanship...


Torture is a mortal sin, not an act of courage...


If we know the Sydney gunman's demands, don't we know his motive?


Vatican report on U.S. women religious calls for further self-assessment...


The botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco is helping out its home town...


Vatican probe ends with an olive branch for American nuns...


The ruble's collapse is disastrous for Putin — and bad for you too...


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