US Catholic Faith in Real Life

December 2009

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Vol. 74, No. 12


'Twas the fight before Christmas: A survival guide to a fairly happy holiday

By Leslie Scanlon
Juggling far-flung families, annoying uncles, and hurt feelings, many Catholics find the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's more merry-go-round than Merry Christmas. Leslie Scanlon explores the demons of Christmases past and suggests some solutions to our sometimes perilous Christmas present.


Sounding Board

Manger danger

By David A. Lysik
Is that Rudolph eating out of the manger? And what's Uncle Sam doing in there with the Magi? It's time to clean up that nativity scene, argues attorney David A. Lysik, and a robust wall between church and state is the Catholic way to do it. In Feedback readers suggest a few windows in the barrier.



Mass instruction

An interview with historial Father Robert Taft, S.J.
It's time to get our facts straight when it comes to the reform of the liturgy, says historian Father Robert Taft, S.J. The pope who got the ball rolling, after all, died in 1914



Ready or not, here I come...again

By Meinrad Scherer-Emunds
Some evangelical Christians expect Jesus to return any minute-and mow down the bad guys in an apocalyptic bloodbath. (By the way, if you're Catholic, you're toast in this scenario.) Meinrad Scherer-Emunds explores a more hopeful answer to the question of the Second Coming.



(Essays, short stories, and poems are not available online.)

Wise Guide: Contagious spirit

By Daniel Murphy
Though his ministry ended up being a death sentence, St. Damien de Veuster preferred to stay with the outcasts he served, writes Daniel Murphy, who found in the church's newest saint the courage to step outside his comfort zone.

The more the merrier

By Nick Wagner
Christmas may start in October at Wal-Mart, but it doesn't have to end at 10 a.m. Christmas morning, writes Nick Wagner. There are still 12 more days of Christmas to celebrate.

Miracle on East 14th Street

By Father Patrick Hannon, C.S.C.
Miracle on East 14th Street
Even tough guys can learn the real meaning of Christmas, writes Father Patrick Hannon, C.S.C., in this book excerpt. He just can't tell you his buddy's real name--even 35 years later.  



Editors' Note

You May Be Right (Letters to the Editor)

Signs of the Times (News)

Catholic Tastes (Humor)

Culture in Context: Music, film, and book reviews

At Home with Our Faith  (Family spirituality)

Eye of the Beholder (Art meditation)

Glad You Asked: Are there rules for decorating churches?



The Examined Life: Seaon's greetings
By Bryan Cones

Margin Notes: This is your country on drugs
By Kevin Clarke

Culture in Context: This land is our land
By Patrick McCormick

Testaments: The trouble with angels
By Alice Camille