Within the clerical hierarchy of the Catholic Church, there are really three levels:  deacons, priests, and bishops.  Among bishops there are several varieties:  bishops, archbishops, and cardinals.  The pope is, of course, a bishop: the bishop of Rome.  But beneath the pope in the hierarchy are the cardinals: bishops or archbishops of higher rank.  Although they have special responsibilities and greater prominence in the universal … Continue reading Cardinals

Cardinal Newman

If you visit the campus of a large university in the US or Canada, and locate the office or building for Catholic campus ministry, it’s likely that it will be called  the Newman Center.  These ministries are named for John Henry Cardinal Newman, an English cleric of the 19th Century.  You may be wondering what the connection is between the two. Cardinal Newman was born … Continue reading Cardinal Newman

Canonical Rights

If you quizzed most Catholics about their rights in the Church, you’d probably get more than a few who would summarize those rights with the words “pray, pay, and obey.”  Apart from the fact that those are really responsibilities, not rights, they convey the common notion that the folks in the pews really don’t have any rights.  But the Church’s Code of Canon Law makes … Continue reading Canonical Rights


There was a time when the world was lit only by the sun, or by fire.  Throughout most of human history, our early mornings and nights were lit by candles.  Today much of our world is illuminated by electricity.  But for us Catholics, candles are still important. Each year at the Easter Vigil, our most sacred liturgy, we begin by blessing a bonfire, and then … Continue reading Candles

Camino de Santiago de Compostella

During the summer travel season many people of faith will take the opportunity to not just travel, but to go on a pilgrimage. For the last thousand years or so, one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations has been the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella in Galicia  in northwestern Spain. According to legend, the cathedral is the resting place of St. James the elder, one … Continue reading Camino de Santiago de Compostella

Callistan Guild

If you ask most Catholics to name the corporal works of mercy, most would probably come up with feeding the hunger and tending the sick.  But the work of mercy that is probably the least practiced today is burying the dead.  Today, burying the dead is a billion-dollar-a-year industry, and for most of us, that corporal work of mercy has been reduced to writing a … Continue reading Callistan Guild

Cadaver Synod

One of the strangest episodes in the turbulent history of the Church in the ninth century was a meeting and ecclesiastical trial has come to be known as the Cadaver Synod. During a period of great political upheaval in Italy, from the year 872 – 965 there were 24 Popes. With so much chaos and such frequent shifting of power structures, very few documentary sources … Continue reading Cadaver Synod

Thoughts on Live-streamed Mass

Yesterday, Sunday, the University Catholic Center live-streamed our first Sunday Mass. We’ve cobbled together a simple way of streaming to Facebook, basically using just an iPhone. Over the next few days we’ll be looking at ways to improve the quality of the audio and video. What we’re doing now is basic and workable. While Fr. Jimmy was preaching and presiding, I was monitoring the camera … Continue reading Thoughts on Live-streamed Mass

Book of Kells

In most Catholic Churches, on most Sundays, you’ll see a large book being carried in the entrance procession.  That’s the Book of the Gospels.  If you look at one up close, you’ll see that it’s a large, somewhat ornate book, containing the Gospel reading for each Sunday.  Although the Book of the Gospels has only recently started appearing in most Catholic parishes, the truth is, … Continue reading Book of Kells