US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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.


Glad you asked: Is it a sin to drive an SUV?

By Kevin P. Considine | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Gas-guzzlers aren't generally chic in Catholic circles. These days many of us are wondering whether we can drive one with a clear conscience. But is it a sin?

Simply defined, to sin is to say "no" to God. It is a rejection of God's free gifts as well as the grace-filled relationship that God always offers. It is to choose what is not good while exercising one's mature free will. Often it is as simple as choosing what is easy or what is the societal norm without using the eyes of faith.


Ratzinger on the record

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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This is an article that appeared in the October 1973 issue of U.S. Catholic. We are publishing it as part of our 75th anniversary celebration.

Lost in the Shouting: The Meaning of Vatican II
By Desmond O'Grady

At the time of the second Vatican Council, it was said the bishops were learning their two R's: Rahner and Ratzinger.


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.


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.  


When bishops brawled: An interview with Philip Jenkins

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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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.


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

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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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."

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