Riding Across America for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East

06/17/2016 Comments (2)
Steve Seguin / One Billion Stories

Skip Rodgers and his family in Washington at the start of his Ride for Hope and Mercy.

– Steve Seguin / One Billion Stories

On Monday, June 13, Skip Rodgers dipped the back tire of his steel-frame touring bike into the Pacific Ocean in Anacortes, Wash., 93 miles south of Vancouver, B.C., settled onto the seat, and began a trek of over 3,400 miles across the northern tier of the United States. His goal is to dip his tire in the Atlantic Ocean in Bar Harbor, Me., around August 9.

Why did 59-year-old Skip Rodgers take on this challenge which he calls the Ride for Hope and Mercy?

He just had to do something about the plight of the persecuted and displaced Christians fleeing violence in the Middle East, he explained.

The seed of the idea took root after Rodgers went to St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy...READ MORE

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The Belief in Purgatory is Much Older Than You Realize

06/17/2016 Comments (15)

Kaddisch at a grave in Jerusalem. (Photo Credit: Christian Rosenbaum, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Last time, in this space, we left off with a common notion concerning Purgatory, namely:

Wasn't Purgatory unheard of in Scripture and only invented in the Dark Ages?

No. Just the term "Purgatory" arose after the time of the apostles, just as the terms "Trinity", "Christianity", "Second Coming", and "Bible" did. But the idea of Purgatory was already present in the period before Jesus was born. So, for instance, we find a Jewish hero named Judas Maccabeus, about a century and a half before Jesus, praying for the dead and specifically asking they be forgiven their sins after they have died (2 Maccabees 12: 43-45). This practice, known as the "kaddish", continues in Judaism to this day and...READ MORE

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I Think Therefore I Am…a Woman

06/16/2016 Comments (7)

After Frans Hals (1582/1583–1666), “Portrait of René Descartes”

By now you have heard of the infamous directive, the “Dear Colleague Letter on  Transgender Students,” issued jointly from Obama’s Department of Justice and Department of Education. The point of the pointed letter to public schools is to ensure that the Administration’s most radical wishes for acceptance of the LGBT agenda are understood to be commands.

Many have already commented on the unconstitutionality and immorality of the directive. As to the first, our government was originally designed with three branches—the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial—each with its own functions and limits. Congress makes the laws, the President’s Executive branch enforces them, and the Judicial branch...READ MORE

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Why Pantheism Stifles Science (and Christianity Does Not)

06/16/2016 Comments (5)

The Milky Way over Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest mountain in the world. (Image: Mudassir Ahmed, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Central to the claim that science was born of Christianity is the flip side of the coin that modern science did not emerge in any other culture. Why? The short answer is that all the other cultures were influenced by pantheism. The explanation takes more ink though.

Definition first. The word “pantheism” is borrowed from Latin. “Pan” refers to the whole universe and mankind. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “pantheism” is a belief that God is immanent in (existing within) or identical with the universe. It is the doctrine that God is everything and everything is God. Pantheism is essentially nature worship.

Shouldn’t nature worship be conducive to science? Pantheism is, after...READ MORE

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How Our Culture Fosters Sexual Predators Like Brock Turner

06/16/2016 Comments (5)

Brock Turner in a January 2015 mugshot. (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)

I am part of  the ranks that is horrified that Brock Turner, a swimmer on scholarship at Stanford, received only a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus. The response of his parents to minimize his actions and portray him as a victim has ignited outrage.

The real victim's powerful letter that she read in court went viral and has cleared our cultural vision of how damaging sexual assault is.  Turner  blamed drinking and promiscuity among the party crowd, but his victim pointed out that partying was not what destroyed Turner’s dreams. Sexual assault was.

The Whole Picture

In the midst of this moral momentum is the invitation for people...READ MORE

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One Tear from Blessed Virgin Statue Sparks Pilgrimages, Military and the Catholic Faith, and More!

The Best in Catholic Blogging

06/16/2016 Comment

Click on One Tear from Blessed Virgin Statue Sparks Pilgrimages by Shaun McAfee, O.P., of epicPew link to view and read more.

One Tear from Blessed Virgin Statue Sparks Pilgrimages – Shaun McAfee O.P., epicPew

Me Before You and the Slow Suicide of the West – Chelsea Zimmerman, Catholic Lane

The Top Five Ways Catholics Evangelize Today – Nick Alexander

The Military and the Catholic Faith: Training – Brandon Schild, Catholic Stand

Comparisons Between Cardinal Sarah and Then Cardinal Ratzinger - Robert Royal Ph.D., The Catholic Thing

The Loss of Self-Knowledge in Modernity – Mitchell Kalpakgian Ph.D., Truth and Charity Forum

Self-Sorting and Living in a Silo? Well, the Stakes Have Been Raised – Jeffrey A. Mirus Ph.D., Catholic Culture

Cardinal Says Italian Government Has Effectively Legalised Same-Sex...READ MORE

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Faith Before Me: Why Life Is Always Worth Living

06/15/2016 Comments (4)

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), “Christ on the Cross”

On Friday, June 10, I went to the 2:15 show of the new romantic drama Me Before You.  I already knew the story: a wealthy, young British banker becomes a quadriplegic after a traffic accident. But I didn’t expect to tear up as I watched the opening scene. The GQ type Will Traynor puts on a crisp gray suit, kisses his beautiful girlfriend goodbye, and leaves his luxurious urban apartment to conquer the world.  “Don’t walk out that door, man,” I thought, knowing on a visceral level what was about to happen. Exactly six years ago today, on the morning of June 13, 2010, I left my apartment to conquer the world and, like Will, suffered a spinal cord injury that left me, a dancer on a performing...READ MORE

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Ohioans Pray for US in Massive Rosary Rally

06/15/2016 Comment

The Knights of Columbus process into St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Cleveland on June 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerri Donohue)

Every day since Jan Marie Shannon opened Tilma, a religious-goods store in Berea, Ohio, she has invited customers to pray the Rosary with her.

Each October, patrons also recite a public Rosary in front of her little brick shop, as part of the “America Needs Fatima” initiative.

Shannon considers her store to be an apostolate as much as a business. She named Tilma for the cloak on which Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted her image when she appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

As Tilma’s 20th anniversary approached, Shannon resolved to observe it in a meaningful way. At the same time, she and others felt a growing concern about problems in America.

The Rosary was a natural choice. Even before...READ MORE

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