Why Does the Head of the Church Give Such Confusing Interviews?

A consideration of how some critics of Pope Francis might have responded to our Lord’s ”difficult sayings” 2000 years ago

02/28/2016 Comments (91)

Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911), “Christ and Nicodemus”

Though they will no doubt try, the Chris­to­la­tors will not be able to spin these lat­est reck­less and irre­spon­si­ble words from the carpenter’s son. It is clear, apart from any so-​called “nuance” or “con­text” (words the neo-​Jews love to use), that Jesus, whom they call “Christ,” rejects 2000 years of defin­i­tive teach­ing on can­ni­bal­ism. The sacred text of Moses is clear:

If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that per­son who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his peo­ple. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atone­ment for your...READ MORE

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Celebrities Sound the Alarm About the Ruin of Pornography

02/27/2016 Comments (9)
An impressive new effort to combat pornography is gaining attention. The celebrities  that have joined in aim to change the pop culture's view of porn as "no big deal."
 
"Porn Kills Love" is a powerful new message and so very true. The divorces attributed to pornography across the nation are testament to its destruction.  I heard about the associated new slogan, Fight the New Drug, blanketing social media by porn's target.  The new campaign is different in that it's not political and not religious.  It's based on the scientific research on the effects on the brain, on relationships, and on society. 
 
With teenagers the largest consumers of internet pornography, the group's founders...READ MORE

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The Stational Churches: A Lenten Devotion Whose Time Has Come Again

02/27/2016 Comments (3)

The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome (Image Credit: Livioandronico2013, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

“Have you given up anything for Lent?” Only a true boor, a child, or a living saint can ask this question without irony or sarcasm. But in case you find yourself staring at Lent without an answer besides, “Well, I’m not going to eat meat on Fridays,” perhaps consider the stational churches of Rome as a way to deepen your prayer life for the remaining days of Lent.

This ancient devotion, which got a whole new lease on life with George Weigel and Elizabeth Lev’s Roman Pilgrimage: The Stational Churches of Rome (New York: Basic Books, 2013) and reviewed in the National Catholic Register http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/from-grit-to-grace. The book is gorgeous and packed with color and...READ MORE

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Satan Is Scary, But God Is Great: Details on Indiana's Possessed House

02/26/2016 Comments (5)

Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice. Chapel of our Lady of the Rosary. St Michael Vanquishing the Devil by Bonifacio de' Pitati. Oil on canvas 1530. (Image Credit: Bonifazio de' Pitati, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

From out of nowhere, swarms of black flies appeared in the middle of winter, attacking the screen porch of LaToya Ammon's Indiana home. She heard footsteps climbing the basement stairs, then heard the door from the basement open into the kitchen; but when she went to check, there was no one there.

There were other, even stranger things:  One of her children was seen to be levitating above her bed, completely unconscious. A doctor reported that her son, during a medical check-up, ran up the wall of the examination room. A case worker from the Department of Child Services, a police officer, health care workers—all saw firsthand the extraordinary attacks on LaToya and her three children....READ MORE

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God’s Not Dead and Neither Are We

02/26/2016 Comments (4)

Two pro-life supporters at the 40 Days for Life campaign on Feb. 10 in Hollywood, Florida (Photo Credit: Tom Ciesielka)

The line for freedom of religious expression is often drawn to inhibit rather than protect.  However, sometimes it’s not the law but the over-zealous interpretation of it that’s the issue.  As Christians, we must push back—politely, prayerfully, and sometimes even legally—lest our rights erode.  Recent situations exemplify this.

In Hollywood, Florida, On Ash Wednesday, opening day for the 40 Days for Life spring campaign, John Hickey and two others prayed quietly outside A Woman’s Center of Hollywood abortion facility.

This was Hickey’s third campaign. “I do it out of love for the unborn and because we need to speak for them,” he explained in an interview with the Register. “We are always...READ MORE

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A Rising Tide of Grief: The Hidden Abortion Pain of Grandparents

02/26/2016 Comments (2)

Donna Gardner is the Respect Life ministry coordinator for the Diocese of Palm Beach.  Donna and fellow Rachel’s Vineyard leaders from around the world participated in an internet based seminar from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign on the Shockwaves of Abortion. The Shockwaves of Abortion is an ongoing year-long initiative with a focus each month on the varied population groups impacted by the Shockwaves of Abortion; mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings, family and friends, as well as the abortion clinic workers and abortionists themselves.

After the seminar Donna shared the information with her Diocese speaker’s bureau so they could help spread this broader vision of the...READ MORE

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Best films of 2015: More lists!

My circle of Christian cinephiles converged on the year’s best films more closely in 2015 than usual.

02/26/2016 Comments (8)

My final semester of seminary has been one of the toughest of the last four years, so I’ve been neglecting whatever I could neglect…but now, with the Oscars hard on us, the deadline is here for my annual round-up of the year-end best films of some of my friends and peers (see previous years).

Observations:

  • This year I think there’s more overlap amongst our lists than ever before. 4 of the 5 top-named films are on my personal top 5 — and my other top-5 film is in an 8-way tie for 7th place.
  • In particular I don’t think I’ve ever agreed so extensively with Kenneth Morefield (who notes at 1More Film Blog that his list this year is more populist than usual). 5 of his top 10 are in my top...READ MORE

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"Make Them a Cupcake": Kasich and Religious Liberty

02/26/2016 Comments (25)

Governor John Kasich is no friend of religious liberty. In fact, he recently mocked Christian business owners who refused to take part in same sex weddings.

Kasich, who once boasted that he attended a same-sex ceremony, flippantly said, "if you’re a cupcake maker and someone wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake. Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on.”

Kasich's dismissive view of religious liberty fails to take into account that it's not the Christian business owners who are initiating legal proceedings. And also, using the glib phrase "make them a cupcake" is an attempt to belittle the very real religious objections some business owners have. Kasich's quote...READ MORE

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