US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Did God cause the earthquake in Haiti?

By Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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When horrible things happen in the world, it's natural to seek an explanation. Explanations offer a sense of control and meaning in situations that seem devoid of both. The devastation in Haiti caused by the January earthquake has left many asking, "Why did this happen?" Answering that question can be confusing and difficult when we consider our faith in an all-loving and all-powerful God.


When bishops brawled: An interview with Philip Jenkins

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Have you ever had a fist fight about the natures of Christ? If you have, you would fit right in among ancient Christians, says this church historian.

Christians today may take it on faith that Jesus has both human and divine natures, but any church historian will tell you that in the early church the question sparked a wild and even deadly debate that lasted for centuries, centering on three church councils in the mid-400s.


What is heresy?

By Michael Cameron | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The ancient Greek word hairesis meant “choice” and identified one’s intellectual “choice” among the many philosophies of late antiquity. The word originally carried no negative judgment. But Judaism and Christianity insisted that certain core ideas about the nature of God and his saving work were non-negotiable.  


How not to talk about God: An interview with Karen Armstrong

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The current debates about God’s existence hardly lift us up to transcendence. Karen Armstrong shares a vision of faith that is less about proofs than practice.

Karen Armstrong has met atheist Richard Dawkins a number of times. "He doesn't like me, and I don't like him much, but we are British, so we smile politely and exchange pleasantries," she says. "We have been on panels together, but it's absolutely pointless."


In case of Rapture, don't get fooled: Debunking end-time myths

By Meinrad Scherer-Emunds | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Joyce Donahue first became aware of the popularity of the Rapture belief among Catholics a few years ago when a catechist at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Hampshire, Illinois told her about "all the wonderful things he was teaching his seventh-grade class about the Rapture."

Ready or not, here I come...again: Catholics on the second coming

By Meinrad Scherer-Emunds | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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From disaster movies to fundamentalist techno-thrillers, Americans are fascinated with scary end-of-the-world scenarios. So what are Catholics, who in every Mass profess belief in the Second Coming, to make of that?

Along with oceans flooding over Himalayan peaks, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John F. Kennedy crashing into the White House, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer crumbling high above Rio de Janeiro, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is one of the show-stopping sights of the just-released blockbuster movie 2012.


Will the real Jesus please stand up?: An interview with Daniel Harrington, S.J.

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Yes, the gospels present four different portraits of Jesus. That's the whole point.

Like many Catholics of their generation, Daniel Harrington's family wasn't made up of Bible readers. Harrington recalls two Protestants coming to his house when he was a child. "We'd like to discuss the Bible," they said, to which his mother replied, "We're Catholics. We don't read the Bible."


What's after life?

By Sarah Sharp | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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U.S. Catholic readers think heaven’s doors open far wider than our reputation in pop culture would indicate.

Don't know much about Islam

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"Al-salamu alaykum!" That's the voicemail greeting you get when Scott Alexander is out of the office. Alexander, the director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, speaks Arabic fluently. So don't be surprised if he throws an Arabic phrase or two into the conversation just to keep you on your toes.

But you may be surprised to learn that Jesus was a muslim—Moses, too. That's muslim with a small "m." To be a muslim simply means "one who submits to God." Are you a muslim, too?


Birth announcements: Examining the infancy narratives

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We shouldn’t get hung up on the details surrounding Jesus’ birth, says this Bible scholar. As with any scripture story, there’s more here than meets the eye.

Learning scripture in the land of the Bible changes the way you read it, says Sister Laurie Brink, O.P., who leads study tours to places such as Bethlehem. “The land holds memory,” she says. “It’s made holy by everybody that went there before.”


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