US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Sins of the father: Wrestling with Abraham's parenting skills

By Alice Camille| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The suspect actions of Abraham should give us pause about what makes him one of the heroes of the Bible.

By anonimus ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dads behaving badly: A closer look at the fathers in the Bible

By Alice Camille| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
In this first installment of a two-part meditation, we are reminded of Abraham's "daddy issues." Even this exalted father of faith had a rocky start.

Lorenzo Monaco (circa 1370(1370)–circa 1425(1425)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Male and Female, God created them

By Susan A. Ross| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Rethinking John Paul II's theology of the body.

Glad You Asked: Why do we go to confession?

By Victoria M. Tufano| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The very word confession conjures up all kinds of stories and images, but those who go to confession know that it is a source of holy comfort and blessed relief. Confession is a gift, a means of grace, a way to God, and a way back to God.

This sacrament originated early in the church’s life, when it became clear that those who had been baptized were not immune to sin. Lesser sins were considered to be forgiven through prayer, fasting, works of mercy, and participation in the Eucharist. Greater sins needed more.

Putting Paul in his place: Examining the apostle through the eyes of a classicist

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Though some may see him as the grump of the New Testament, St. Paul is full of surprises.

What’s the connection between St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians and the second-century Roman novelist Apuleius’s comedy The Golden Ass? More than you might think, says classicist Sarah Ruden in her book Paul Among the People (Image). Ruden, who specializes in ancient Greek and Roman literature, became interested in the preconceptions modern readers bring to Paul’s writing when she began studying the apostle herself.

Do Catholics believe in life on other planets?

By Kevin Considine| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Jesus is the savior of humanity, but what that mean if we discovered alien life forms?

In a 1995 episode of the popular TV drama The X-Files, FBI agent Fox Mulder—a true believer in extraterrestrial life—has a quick exchange with his partner Dana Scully, the rational scientist and devoted skeptic. He asks, “Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments?”

“You want me to recite them?” Scully responds. Mulder says, “Just . . . the one about the Sabbath. The part where God made heaven and earth but didn’t bother to tell anyone about his side projects.”

What does the church say about the death penalty?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Here's another selection from the GYA archives. Conversation and questions about the death penalty are evergreen and Catholics in a society that permits the state executions as punishment continue to ponder the church's say in this.

About a year ago in central Maine we had three mild earthquakes within a couple of months. They reminded us that our underpinnings are not static, that our planet is still evolving. At present, in the church we also sense a shifting and realigning of the tectonic plates that underlie our moral judgments about the death penalty.

Who decided which books made it into the Bible?

By Alice Camille| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The Bible is considered the inspired word of God by the faithful. So you have to wonder: where did it come from?

With all the writings floating around the ancient world, who decided which of them rated as sacred enough to be scripture?

This question is technically one of canonicity. “Canon” means norm or standard. The term was first applied by St. Athanasius to a collection of Jewish and Christian writings around the year 350. A fourth-century bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, Athanasius was a powerhouse.

GYA: Why are some deacons married?

By Meghan Murphy-Gill| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Celibacy isn't required for all clergy.

Last year, with the creation of the personal ordinariate for Anglicans, more people became aware of the presence of married clergy in the Catholic Church. Long known for its celibate priesthood, many media outlets began covering the church with profiles of these former Anglican priests who were to become Catholic priests despite having wives and children—the very thing other clergy, like Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, have lost their jobs over.

Does the church tell me how to vote?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
This Glad You Asked column from six years ago shows that every election season, Catholics are wondering about the relationship between their church and politics.

"I believe in an America where... there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote," declared John F. Kennedy. But today some wonder whether U.S. Catholic bishops are trying to create a political bloc by telling Catholics how to cast their ballots.