The 2019 Denver Catholic Christmas Gift Guide

Denver Catholic Staff

It’s that time of year already! Without further ado, here is the official Denver Catholic Christmas Gift Guide for 2019.

Books/Media

We’re all glued to our phones or a screen of some sort for at least 10 hours a day; why not bury your face in a good book instead? It’s better for the brain, more enriching, and the pages don’t emit a mind-numbing blue glow. However, if it happens to be your designated screen time for the day, there are a couple of ideas for that, too — and they don’t involve Netflix.

1. The Catholic Gentleman by Sam Guzman (Ignatius Press), $16.95
2. Theology of Home: Finding the Eternal in the Everyday (TAN Books), $30
3. The Strangeness of Truth by Father Damian Ference (Pauline Books and Media), $16.95
4. The Beer Option by Dr. R. Jared Staudt (Angelico Press), $17.95
5. The Irony of Modern Catholic History by George Weigel (Basic Books), $30
6. Bishop Barron’s The Mass Blu-Ray/DVD, $69.95
7. Unplanned Blu-Ray/DVD, $22.99

Clothing/Accessories

Just because we’re Catholic doesn’t mean we have to be dressed for Sunday Mass all the time. The following small Catholic businesses are thinking outside the box when it comes to clothing and accessories.

1. Catholic Socks, $10 – $14 (sockreligious.com)
2. Pink Salt Riot Jewelry (pinksaltriot.com)
3. Rosary Habit jewelry (rosaryhabit.com)
4. Brick House in the City
(brickhouseinthecity.com)
5. PAL Campaign (palcampaign.com)
6. Signum X Catholic Apparel (thesignofthecross.com)

Baby/Kids/Teen

Look beyond the shelves of Target and Walmart when shopping for the little ones and kids in your lives. From swaddles to books to skateboards, here are a few Catholic alternatives.

1. Be A Heart Catholic baby swaddles
(beaheart.com), $28
2. Chews Life rosaries (chewslife.com), $38
3. The Seed Who Was Afraid to be Planted by Anthony DeStefano (Sophia Institute Press), $17.95
4. The Attic Saint by Tim Drake (Emmaus Road Publishing), $18.95 (stpaulcenter.com/product/the-attic-saint)
5. Lego Catechism by Kevin and Mary O’Neill (StoryTel Press), $34.95
6. The Saints Chronicles Comic Books (Sophia Institute Press), $14.95
7. Motherboards (loveyourmotherboard.com)

Practical/Religious gifts

While many religious gifts in the past seemed to be better suited for your grandma than your niece, that is no longer the case. Consider gifting one of these sacred gifts this Christmas season.

1. Monk Manual 90-planner, $38 (monkmanual.com)
2. Rugged Rosaries (cordbands.com)
3. JMJ Blessed Beads (jmjblessedbeads.com)
4. The Catholic Journaling Bible, $49.95 (blessedisshe.net)
5. Eternal Lite Candles, $25.99 (eternallite.com)

Local stores

It’s important to support small, local Catholic businesses. Lucky for us, there are quite a few just around the block, and they have wide ranges of gifts that would be perfect for your loved ones of all ages.

1. Bethlehem Handicrafts (bethlehemhandicrafts.com)
2. Creator Mundi (creatormundi.com)
3. Stargazer Fine Chocolates
(stargazerfinechocolates.com)
4. Gerkens Religious Supplies (gerkens.com)
5. Polish Pottery Market (polishpotterymarket.com)

Activities/Events

There are always fun things to do around the holidays in Colorado. Here are a few ideas if you find yourself bored over the Christmas break.

1. Monet Exhibit at Denver Art Museum
Open through Feb. 2, 2020
2. Denver Christkindl Market
Skyline Park, Denver. Open through Dec. 23
3. Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Open through Dec. 29
4. Christmas In Color Drive-thru light displays
Water World (8801 N. Pecos Street) and Bandimere Speedway (3051 South Rooney Road).
Admission: $26-$30 per vehicle. Open 5:30 p.m.
to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 4. All locations will be closed on Dec. 25.

COMING UP: A last chance for Australian justice

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My late parents loved Cardinal George Pell, whom they knew for decades. So I found it a happy coincidence that, on November 12 (which would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary), a two-judge panel of Australia’s High Court referred to the entire Court the cardinal’s request for “special leave” to appeal his incomprehensible conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse,” and the even-more-incomprehensible denial of his appeal against that manifestly unsafe verdict.

Thus in 2020 the highest judicial authority in Australia will review the Pell case, which gives the High Court the opportunity to reverse a gross injustice and acquit the cardinal of a hideous crime: a “crime” that Pell insists never happened; a “crime” for which not a shred of corroborating evidence has yet been produced; a “crime” that simply could not have happened in the circumstances and under the conditions it was alleged to have been committed.

Since Cardinal Pell’s original appeal was denied in August by two of three judges on an appellate panel in the State of Victoria, the majority decision to uphold Pell’s conviction has come under withering criticism for relying primarily on the credibility of the alleged victim. As the judge who voted to sustain the cardinal’s appeal pointed out (in a dissent that one distinguished Australian attorney described as the most important legal document in that country’s history), witness credibility – a thoroughly subjective judgment-call – is a very shaky standard by which to find someone guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It has also been noted by fair-minded people that the dissenting judge, Mark Weinberg, is the most respected criminal jurist in Australia, while his two colleagues on the appellate panel had little or no criminal law experience. Weinberg’s lengthy and devastating critique of his two colleagues’ shallow arguments seemed intended to signal the High Court that something was seriously awry here and that the reputation of Australian justice – as well as the fate of an innocent man – was at stake.

Other recent straws in the wind Down Under have given hope to the cardinal’s supporters that justice may yet be done in his case.

Andrew Bolt, a television journalist with a nationwide audience, walked himself through the alleged series of events at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, within the timeframe in which they were supposed to have occurred, and concluded that the prosecution’s case, and the decisions by both the convicting jury and the majority of the appeal panel, simply made no sense. What was supposed to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did.

Australians willing to ignore the vicious anti-Pell polemics that have fouled their country’s public life for years also heard from two former workers at the cathedral, who stated categorically that what was alleged to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did, because they were a few yards away from Cardinal Pell at the precise time he was alleged to have abused two choirboys.

Then there was Anthony Charles Smith, a veteran criminal attorney (and not a Catholic), who wrote in Annals Australasia that the Pell verdict and the denial of his appeal “curdles my stomach.” How, he asked, could a guilty verdict be rendered on “evidence….so weak and bordering on the preposterous?” The only plausible answer, he suggested, was that Pell’s “guilt” was assumed by many, thanks to “an avalanche of adverse publicity” ginned up by “a mob baying for Pell’s blood” and influencing “a media [that] should always be skeptical.”

Even more strikingly, the left-leaning Saturday Paper, no friend of Cardinal Pell or the Catholic Church, published an article in which Russell Marks – a one-time research assistant on an anti-Pell book – argued that the two judges on the appellate panel who voted to uphold the cardinal’s conviction “effectively allowed no possible defense for Pell: there was nothing his lawyers could have said or done, because the judges appeared to argue it was enough to simply believe the complainant on the basis of his performance under cross examination.”

The Australian criminal justice system has stumbled or failed at every stage of this case. The High Court of Australia can break that losing streak, free an innocent man, and restore the reputation of Australian justice in the world. Whatever the subsequent fallout from the rabid Pell-haters, friends of justice must hope that that is what happens when the High Court hears the cardinal’s case – Australia’s Dreyfus Case – next year.

Photo: CON CHRONIS/AFP/Getty Images