Almost Like Being in Love

01/18/2016 Comments (5)

We're now in that quasi-Christmas season.  The twelve days are past.  Epiphany's over.  The Baptism of the Lord is past, but in some places Christmas still lingers on to the Feast of the Presentation on February 2.  It's like the Church is still sorting out what the heck happened at Christmas.

That's not surprising. Christmas is weird when you think about it. God becomes a human being after giving centuries of mysterious hints that this is what he plans to do, yet when the moment comes, hardly anybody realizes it. He lives for thirty-odd years among his people, repeatedly telling them "I am going to be killed and rise from the dead." Yet when the moment comes, those closest to him are...READ MORE

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Bart Ehrman Botches a Source

01/17/2016 Comments (9)

It pays to check your sources!--a lesson Bart Ehrman should take to heart.

Bart Ehrman is a smart guy, but he sometimes handles his sources in the most frustrating and misleading manner.

For example, in his book Did Jesus Exist? (where he is on the right side for once), he writes:

Several significant studies of literacy have appeared in recent years showing just how low literacy rates were in antiquity.

The most frequently cited study is by Columbia professor William Harris in a book titled Ancient Literacy (footnote 6).

By thoroughly examining all the surviving evidence, Harris draws the compelling though surprising conclusion that in the very best of times in the ancient world, only about 10 percent of the population could read at all and possibly copy out...READ MORE

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I Once Had an Odd Experience at the Tomb of St. Francis

01/17/2016 Comments (3)

Albert Chevallier Tayler, "St. Francis" (1898)

If there’s an important figure of our faith beloved by Christians and non-believers alike, it is St. Francis of Assisi. Just the number of garden statues proves the point. He loved animals and the poor and it’s the rare and undesirable individual who doesn’t love anyone who loves animals right? Francis even loved animals that were unlovely. Take the surly wolf of Gubbio. Routinely killing inhabitants of that little Umbrian village just north of Assisi, Francis set out to put an end to the mayhem. One day, he rolled up his sleeves and marched out to the meadows to give this wolf the what for. The wolf immediately repents of his evil doing. Flannery O’ Connor summed up the event nicely:


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VIDEO: Author of New Catholic-Jewish Document Discusses Its Contents

01/16/2016 Comments (13)

Salesian Father Norbert Hofmann, secretary of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, is one of the principal authors of what Jewish groups have called a "groundbreaking" document on Catholic relations with Jews.

The Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable”, which was released last month to coincide with 50 years since the Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate, is a theological document but not part of the Magisterium. It states explicitly and controversially for the first time that the Church no longer has a “specific institutional mission” to the Jews. 

In this exclusive interview with the Register, Father Hofmann says that the document is meant to...READ MORE

Filed under fr. norbert hofmann, jewish-catholic, nostra aetate

Pope Francis Makes Unannounced Visits of Mercy in Rome

Calls in on a retirement home and a hospice for people in vegetative states as part of his monthly example of an act of mercy during the Jubilee Year.

01/15/2016 Comments (2)
Surprise! It's Pope Francis.

Watch: Residents at two nursing homes in Rome got the surprise of a lifetime.

Posted by Catholic News Agency on Friday, January 15, 2016

Pope Francis this afternoon called in on a residence for the elderly and a home for people in vegetative states as part of his monthly, unannounced acts of mercy during this Jubilee Year.

According to a Vatican statement, the 33 elderly residents of the home in a Rome suburb were stunned by Francis' visit as they hadn't been alerted in advance.

Accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella who is in charge of the Year of Mercy, the Holy Father met with each resident before heading off to a hospice home for six people in vegetative states.

Called Casa Iris, the hospice is not organized as a hospital but a family home where the patients can be continually assisted by relatives, the Vatican...READ MORE

Filed under elderly, jubilee, pope francis, vegetative state, year of mercy

Benghazi Hero: ‘I Know God Got Me Through’

13 Hours: A Story of Courage and Christianity Amid Attack

01/15/2016 Comments (3)

Actor John Krasinski

– Facebook

After the fall of Col. Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libyan tensions fired up, and embassies were abandoned.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2012, heavily armed Islamist militants launched an organized attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Four Americans were killed: U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and State Department computer expert Sean Smith.

Six CIA contractors defied orders to defend the compound. Thirteen hours later, only four of them were still alive, but they had saved more than two dozen fellow Americans.

When the heroes returned home, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama were blaming an anti-Muslim video...READ MORE

Filed under faith life, heroism, movies, true stories

What is the Story with Indulgences?

01/15/2016 Comments (8)

Most Catholics live and die blissfully unaware that the Church even offers indulgences anymore. (A Catholic friend to whom I mentioned I was writing this article said, "They went out with Vatican II, didn't they?") Practically no Catholic gives much thought to them. They languish in the Church's attic of doctrinal knick-knacks.

So why bother with them? Two reasons. First, indulgences (while relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things) are nonetheless minor tributaries to the Church's river of grace and are therefore intrinsically interesting. But second (and most important), a proper understanding of indulgences among laypeople is surprisingly helpful toward healing rifts in the...READ MORE

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Pope Francis on God’s Universal Fatherhood

01/14/2016 Comments (47)

Pope Francis recently said all people have God as their Father. Is that true?

Pope Francis has a new video out in which he offers a prayer intention for the month of January.

And some people are freaking out about it.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .


1) Where can I watch the video?

Right here:

Also, you can use this link.


2) What does Pope Francis say in the video?

He says:

Most of the planet’s inhabitants declare themselves believers.

This should lead to dialogue among religions.

We should not stop praying for it [i.e., dialogue] and collaborating with those who think differently.

Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways.

In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty...READ MORE

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