Why sacrifice?

By Christine Gudorf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

Sacrifice was certainly a central factor in the catholic spirituality of my youth. We attended the "sacrifice of the Mass" daily. Sacrifice was not onlystrongly suggested as the appropriate response to the suffering ofothers, as in appeals for the missions or the poor; it was also taught as a good in its own right, as an important part of theprocess of following Jesus Christ. We were encouraged to veneratethose who sacrificed for others, including fathers, who sacrificed intheir jobs to provide for children, and mothers, who sacrificed oftheir time and energy to care for children.

You're holier than you know

By Father Robert Barron| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Spirituality

In June of 1997, while on retreat at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, I had an opportunity to talk at some length with Father Godfrey Diekmann. One of the giants of the liturgical movement in this country and a major player in the shaping of Vatican II's document on the reform of the liturgy, Diekmann was in his upper 80s but his mind, wit, and tongue were as sharp as ever.

What would a democratic church look like?

U.S. Catholic| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

The  20TH Century, punctuated by the reforms of Vatican II, has offered hope to the Catholics who would like to see the church renew it's democratic spirit.  But what would "a democratic Catholicism" look like? It would not, could not, look like our modern political process. And not just anyone could run for office. But why not?

How to build a better priest

By Father Robert Barron| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life Scripture and Theology

"For too long we've had a preferential option for mediocrity in the priesthood," laments Father Robert Barron, assistant professor of systematic theology at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. "Teilhard de Chardin said the priest calls down fire on the earth," says Barron. That's a far cry from "organizer of ministries," which is one of the dull-as-dishwater descriptions Barron remembers from his seminarian days. "Who's going to be lit on fire by a term like that?" he fumes.

We need to revise our perfidious views

By Mary C. Boys| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Ecumenical & Interfaith Dialogue Scripture and Theology

Let's get right to the heart of the matter and talk about the fancy "S word." What exactly is "supersessionism," which you say is at the core of Christian anti-Judaism?
I'm sure most people are not familiar with this term, but once it's explained, it's easy to understand: Supersessionism is derived from the Latin supersedere-to sit upon, to preside over-and describes the Christian claim that Christians have replaced the Jews as God's people because the Jews rejected Jesus.

How do we deal with death?

By Mary Smalara Collins| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Spirituality

Someone to watch over me

Marie Allen, of Charleston, South Carolina lost her husband when he died unexpectedly of a heart attack only a few months after their wedding. "That next morning, around 5 a.m., I remember sitting on my bed and thinking that surely this was all a dream, and when the light of day came, it would all be back to normal. I was just full of despair, when suddenly I felt my husband's presence very strongly telling me he was okay and that I would be, too. A peace washed over me. No, the grief wasn't gone, but I could bear it."

How does God answer prayer?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology


Back in the day, the rock band The Doors performed a song titled "Petition the Lord with Prayer." Its refrain ran-in contrast to the title-"You cannot petition the Lord with prayer."

I am not sure what Jim Morrison had in mind when he wrote those lyrics. But in a way they imply a fair question: Why do we ask God for certain things to happen?

Can a Catholic refuse medical care?

By Father Thomas Nairn, O.F.M.| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

It's a common scene in any hospital. A person is rushed in with a life-threatening condition. Family members wait in the emergency room. Two doctors approach, tell the family that things don't look good, and then explain options ranging from very aggressive treatment to comfort care. They ask which course they should pursue.

Who picks the holy days of obligation?

By Victoria M. Tufano| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Saints, Feasts, and Seasons Scripture and Theology

Holy days of obligation-days when Catholics are required to celebrate Eucharist-are a result of tradition, devotion, and church law, and their number has varied according to history and place.

Before the mid-17th century, individual bishops could determine what holy days would be observed in their diocese. This resulted in vastly different church calendars from diocese to diocese and a huge number of holy days.