US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Does the church live up to its teaching?

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Does the Catholic Church Practice what it preaches about a just wage? The response of church employees, ranging from lay ministers to chaplains to hospital workers and school teachers, is a resounding no.

If the church isn't a democracy, what is it?

By R. Scott Appleby| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

In the year 373 The See of Milan fell vacant and the emperor dispatched Ambrose, governor of the province and scion of an aristocratic Roman family, to reestablish order over the stormy assembly of Catholic faithful, whose duty it was to elect a new bishop. So impressive was Ambrose, so naturally did he exude authority and "presence," that the crowd milling about the cathedral moved unanimously to acclaim him the new bishop, ignoring the inconvenient fact that he was not even a Christian, much less a member of the clergy.

Irreconcilable differences Wrestling with American prolife politics

By Robert J. McClory| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Last December Bishop Raymond Burke then of the relatively small, mostly rural Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, made national and international news with a simple directive: Catholic legislators in his diocese who continue to support abortion "may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion," he said. And should they present themselves, he added, "they are not to be allowed to receive until such time as they renounce these most unjust practices."

The directive precipitated a series of similar condemnations by other bishops in the following months.

Out of Africa -- The Editors Interview Father James Chukwuma Okoye, C.S.Sp.

By Father James ChukwumaOkoye| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

We hear that the church is growing fast in Africa. What's behind that growth?

In parts of Africa it is not growing. But where it is, I think we have to consider the grace of God. Because God's grace is mediated through culture, many also think it is because traditional African religion is close to Catholicism. The traditional religion is sacramental, with sacred words, places, and events.

Timeline of Black Catholic history

By Cyprian Davis| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

1565-1899: St. Augustine, Florida
Blacks, both slave and free, help to found this oldest town in the United States. In 1693 Spain offers freedom in Florida to slaves who convert to Catholicism.

Until 1763, these freed slaves live in a community northeast of St. Augustine. Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or Fort Mose, established in 1738, thus becomes the first free black town in the United States.

Who's following orders?

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In a classroom at Mt. St. Vincent's College in the Bronx, New York, Professor Rob Jacklowsky guides his class of sophomore and junior English majors through the intricacies of John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn." Although this poem from the Romantic age of English literature may seem far removed from the day-to-day concerns of this ethnically diverse group of college students, Jacklowsky does everything but turn cartwheels to bring the piece alive for his students.

Back to where you once belonged

By María Ruiz Scaperlanda| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As a 39-year-old husband and father, much of Mark's life is taken up with the daily and often demanding tasks of family, including spending time with his 6-year-old son. While Mark's father and grandfather once experienced the Catholic Church as part of this fabric of life, the same is not true for the Denver programmer and systems analyst, who was raised Catholic in a family of six children.

Gays and lesbians beg to differ

By Thomas J. Billitteri| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

"Someday," Gina Marie says quietly, "I would like to be asked forforgiveness." Her words are simple, direct, and uncompromising. It isnot a lover from whom Gina Marie seeks a gesture of reconciliation,at least not a lover in a temporal sense. Rather, it is the RomanCatholic Church, an institution she cherished and revered inchildhood but now views as hurtful, indifferent, sometimes brutallycruel.


Who says the church can't change?

By Christine Gudorf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

There is an Apocryphal story in my family about my great-grandmother Philomena, who died when I was 12 or 13. Great-Grandma was a big TV watcher-soaps, Lawrence Welk, and the evening news-as well as a devout Catholic. When she was in her early 90s, she heard on the news one day that the Vatican, amid preparations for the Second Vatican Council, had just released the conclusions of a study on the historicity of certain saints and had determined that some saints were no longer official saints because of insufficient evidence of their historical existence.

Good news in the mission field

By Meinrad Scherer-Emunds| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

Over the past half-century the Catholic approach to mission has shifted dramatically. Today's Catholic missionaries continue to proclaim the Good News, but most do so in a far more open and respectful encounter and dialogue with the cultures and people they engage. Their witness invites people to a more subtle—and at the same time more profound—"conversion."

Father Josep Maria Abella, the superior general of the Claretians—the missionary congregation that publishes U.S. Catholic—has made the renewal of his order's missionary charism a cornerstone of his leadership.