US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Pride and prejudice: A history of the relationship between gay and lesbian Catholics and their church

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

1969: Dignity, the first group for gay and lesbian Catholics, is founded. The Stonewall Riots, considered the beginning of the gay rights movement, follow a police raid on a gay bar in Greenwich Village.

1973: The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

1974: The National Federation of Priests Councils and the National Coalition of American Nuns adopts a platform supporting the “civil rights of homosexual persons.”

Pride and prejudice: The uneasy relationship between gays and lesbians and their church

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
As church leaders turn up the volume on same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian Catholics find themselves wondering just where they stand in their church.

On a clear, windy Sunday in March 2010, Father William Breslin told his parishioners at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colorado why the parish school would not re-enroll a child of same-sex parents for the coming school year.

The mamas and the papas: What it's like for Catholic parents of GLBT children

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Parents have much to say about the church and their children.

The young priest preached on the sanctity of life at a Denver hospice. Afterward an older couple asked him if their son, who had died of AIDS, would be in hell forever. The priest said he couldn’t answer that.

More than 20 years later Shawn Reynolds still remembers the anguish on the couple’s faces. “He didn’t say anything about Christ’s love,” Reynolds says.

When do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

By Father James Field| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.

What's the Catholic view on church and state?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
During Christianity's earliest centuries, an era of official persecution of Christians, church and state were not only separate but opposed.

Then in the early fourth century, when Emperor Constantine became a Christian, the church and state began to visibly collaborate. The crowning of Charlemagne as emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 fostered the belief that the pope embodied ultimate authority to which secular leaders were subordinate. The ensuing Holy Roman Empire continued this perception.

Dancing with the stars: An interview with astronomer George Coyne, S.J.

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
With 10,000 billion billion heavenly bodies in the cosmic ballroom, God has created a grand universe of possibilities.

As a priest and an astronomer, Jesuit Father George Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science, but he’s quick to acknowledge that they serve two different purposes. “I can’t know if there is a God or if there is not a God by science,” he says.

Where did the new Mass translations come from?

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
How did we arrive at this translation of the Mass?

As Catholics in the United States get accustomed to new responses and prayers at Sunday Mass, many will probably ask: Why did the Mass change? The answers have to do with changes to the Latin text upon which the English translation is based and on the rules according to which the translations are made.

Has hell frozen over?

By J. Peter Nixon| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Church teaching has shifted away from damnation and now focuses on salvation. Is that a good thing?

To a young girl attending Catholic school in the 1940s, eternal damnation was no abstract concept. “The nuns really terrified us,” says Pat Conroy, who grew up in Maryland. The list of potential transgressions—from eating meat on Fridays to missing Mass on Sundays—was long. “It seemed like almost anything was enough to send you to hell. I became so scrupulous and worried about everything I did.”

Why do we anoint the sick?

By Victoria M. Tufano| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
One of the great mysteries of our faith is the incarnation, our core belief that the eternal and almighty God became a human being, a man who could and did suffer just as we do.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus had a particular concern for sick people; he healed them not just with a word of power, but also with a human and compassionate touch.

Does the church have any "mothers"?

By Michael Cameron| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Writers on the early church speak often of "Church "Fathers," but were there any "Church Mothers"?

Because of the cultural situation of the time, women wrote little and wielded power even less, so it's hard to speak of "Church Mothers" in the same way we do the "Fathers." Nevertheless, many ancient Christian women were known for their heroic faith as martyrs, spiritual guides, teachers, and, of course, mothers. They were often commended for their unique purity of life, their inner strength, and even their "virile" courage.