Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy Christmas — from me, and from some important people

Hi friends, I hope this blog post finds you basking in the glow of the Feast of the Nativity, which is now more than half over in New Zealand, where I’ve been celebrating Christmas with my family and friends. I trust you will be doing the same in your part of the world and I send you my warmest Christmas greetings. I hope it’s a happy and holy season for you and that 2012 will be a great year for … Continue reading

Feeling for Christchurch

Last year, three-and-a-half months after the first major earthquake struck Christchurch, people in the city had just got over the joy of Christmas when a number of earthquakes and one major shake on Boxing Day, December 26. This Christmas, the quakes have come early, on December 23. What a dreadful reminder, after six months of relative calm — easier for an outsider to say — of what the city has been through over the past 15 months. Around our kitchen … Continue reading

Pope’s health a concern?

You may have seen a flurry of news stories earlier this week about the Pope and his apparent fading health. It is obviously an interesting story because of his place as the leader of one billion Catholics. But as the folks at the quality Catholic blog, Catholic Culture, pointed out, it’s not a particularly new story. Here’s part of what Phil Lawler wrote a couple of days back: Just a few weeks ago, on October 24, I asked whether it … Continue reading

Another cool Christmas YouTube clip

I linked recently to the clip of the Digital Story of the Nativity, a neat little YouTube clip that shows how the Christmas story might have been told in today’s digital age, using tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and boring old email. It’s good fun. Today, I saw on Facebook a similar video, though it’s a bit broader in its scope, even bringing in Elizabeth and Zechariah. It also addresses what the reactions might have been from Joseph, as well … Continue reading

An advertising watchdog with teeth

In my years at NZ Catholic, there were numerous occasions when we ran stories about advertisements and television shows that were offensive to Christians. On pretty much every occasion, the advertising or broadcasting standards authority would basically say that the show or commercial in question didn’t breach the standards that they must adhere to. They reached those decisions despite often widespread criticism from people on many sides. When it came to TV shows, Popetown and the Bloody Mary episode of … Continue reading

NZ bishops in Rome

The New Zealand Catholic bishops are currently in Rome for their ad limina visit, a regular pilgrimage to Rome that each bishops’ conference makes approximately every five years to meet with the Pope and other Vatican officials to give an update on the life of the Church in their country or countries (in the case of multi-nation bishops’ conferences). As it turns out, partly because of the health of John Paul II late in his life and the disruption that … Continue reading

Christmas in the digital age

I was at a meeting the other day where we were looking at different ways that we — individually, but also as a Church — can use the digital media to help advance the Gospel message. I know, it’s a theme I refer to often on The Soapbox, but because I’m doing what I can to help that, it’s something that’s important to me. At the start of the presentation, the person leading the session showed a cool video that … Continue reading

Time to re-image Christmas?

Having spent about half of my adult life in the US and the other half in New Zealand and now Australia, Christmas obviously has its similarities and differences in those diverse geographical places. I loved my time in the States and met some wonderful people, but that’s not to say I didn’t get some odd questions and comments from time to time. Like when I was complimented on how well I spoke English. Or, relevant to this post, when someone … Continue reading

You go, sisters!

It’s not uncommon for the Catholic Church, despite its willingness to acknowledge the need for the separation of Church and state, to inject itself into the political debate on certain issues from time to time. In fact, if it weren’t for that willingness, I wouldn’t have the job I do, so I’m all for the advocacy role of the Church in areas of public influence. Usually, though, it is larger organisations like a bishops’ conference or a diocese or an … Continue reading

Advent “conspiracy”

It’s that time of the year when we head towards Christmas and the incessant consumerism that comes with the season. There seems to be a new trend of Christians trying to spread a message of giving at Christmas. That’s not new, I hear you say, but this is about much more than giving gifts to your friends and family. In this catchy and well-produced video,  the case is made for how we as a society can make such a difference in … Continue reading