US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Glad You Asked: What are the Ten Commandments?

By Alice Camille | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Are there different lists of the Ten Commandments?

So much is debated about the Bible that you’d hope when it comes to the Ten Commandments, at least, you’re on solid ground. There are 10, right? And they’re chiseled in stone—quite literally—so we know exactly what they are, number by number. Or do we?


What's the history of adoration of the blessed sacrament?

By Victoria M. Tufano | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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It seems that a lot of parishes are starting to have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, either as a regular practice or just on occasion.

Is this something new? Isn’t the celebration of the Mass enough?

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is not something new. It is a centuries-old practice rooted in an essential teaching of Catholic Christianity: Jesus Christ is truly and completely present in the Eucharist. Like many practices of our faith, however, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament developed gradually.


Spanglish Lessons: Diversity and theology

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Who’s the norm, and who’s the diversity? So wonders this Latina theologian, who suggests that tensions in a parish may not be such bad thing after all.

Asked to introduce herself at a Hispanic ministry meeting a few years ago, Carmen Nanko-Fernández gave her name and then added, tongue firmly planted in cheek, “I’m a theologian, and my preferred theological method is pastoral hostility.”


Glad You Asked: How did Jesus found the church?

By Kevin P. Considine | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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While they are obviously connected, the link between Jesus and the church as we know it today isn’t exactly clear.

The Jesus movement of the first century was a group of mostly Jewish followers who were of little social importance and who often met in homes—a far cry from the cathedrals we know and love today. The pope today claims universal ecclesial authority, and because the Vatican is a nation-state, he is a head of state and even has diplomats. Jesus was certainly not a head of state and did not have diplomats (and neither did his disciple Peter).


Change we can believe in: The pope, condoms, and church teaching

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Church teaching is the same always and everywhere—except when it isn’t.

Using the words “pope” and “condom” in the same sentence is bound to draw attention; when it’s the pope himself using the latter word in a sentence of his own, the world takes notice.


Is there salvation outside the church?

By John Switzer | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Can my Buddhist husband be saved? What about my Jewish neighbors and my sister-in-law who is an atheist?

An ancient doctrine says extra ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the church there is no salvation"), so how does this affect those who are not Christian? You may be surprised that the doctrine still holds, but this doesn't mean that salvation is unavailable to those of other religions or of no religion at all.


The trouble with angels

By Alice Camille | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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These celestial beings are elusive and mysterious—but totally necessary.

Once upon a time I believed in angels. Then I got older and gave up childish ways. Then I got even older and became a child again. Once more I believe in angels. You may be presently too old to put your faith in such creatures; or not yet old enough. Wherever you stand on the "angel issue," you've got company.


Does the church still ban books?

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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What do Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, John Milton, and Galileo have in common?

Required reading for university freshmen? Maybe.


How does church teaching change?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Every doctrine or practice familiar to Catholics has a history of its own, and some official expressions of church teaching are quite recent, such as the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and Assumption of Mary (1950). That doctrine is slow to become official or may even change has to do with the nature of divine revelation: By definition, it is God’s self-giving, and God cannot be fully captured by any human expression.


What is theology?

By John Switzer | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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In the 11th century, St. Anselm of Canterbury described theology as fides quaerens intellectum, “faith seeking understanding.” A monk who eventually served as archbishop of Canterbury, he reminds us that our thinking skills are a gift of the Creator; there is no reason to neglect them in matters of faith.


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