US Catholic Faith in Real Life

What's after life?

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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.”


Shelf life

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 “Modern spiritual classics” recommended by Kathleen Norris, Martin E. Marty, Joyce Rupp, Joan Chittister, and other prominent U.S. Catholic contributors

Buyer's guide to the Good Book

By Peter Gilmour | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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He thought it would be easy to buy a Bible, a birthday gift for a godchild. The bookseller directed him to section 41. There he found more than 35 linear feet of shelving stocked with myriad editions of the Bible. Like cereals lining the aisle of a huge grocery store, the variety was overwhelming.

This would-be purchaser of a gift Bible returned home empty-handed. Worse yet, he felt empty-headed. He knew the Bible was central to his Christianity. When faced with making an intelligent selection of a specific edition of the Bible, however, he froze.


Chronological list of the Doctors of the Church

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SAINT AMBROSE (c. 340-397), BISHOP OF MILAN, Italy, a major opponent of Arianism, wrote and preached extensively [named a Doctor of the church, 1298].

Saint Augustine of Hippo (c. 354-430), North African bishop, author of Confessions, City of God, and numerous treatises, countered heretical movements, one of the most influential theologians of the Western church, called "Doctor of Grace" [1298].


Five scripture scholars pick their golden oldies

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Maybe you've heard them since childhood and know them by heart, but what do some of those Old Testament stories really mean?

A son betrays his father. A wealthy man has an adulterous affair. Sound like the plot lines from the daytime soap operas? Actually, these are themes from some Old Testament stories. But however intriguing the plot lines may be, readers of the Old Testament may struggle to make sense of the tales. "The Old Testament does baffle people," says Old Testament scholar Robert Schoenstene.


Getting to know Paul

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Will Saint Paul’s letters to the Romans play in Peoria? In an interview, Father Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J. offers clues to understanding the evangelizer whose writings predate the gospels.

What was it that Saint Paul preached that attracted so many to embrace the early Christian faith? Sitting in a pew in the third millennium, it can be hard to grasp what meaning Paul loaded into such terms as flesh and spirit and the world. But, says Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer, there’s power to be had in Paul’s letters of faith, proclaimed years before the Gospels were compiled.


How to get a better read on your faith

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Sometime in the late 12th century a Monk named Guigo, the second prior of the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse in France, wrote to his friend Gervase about some thoughts he had concerning exercises "proper to a cloistered monk." Those thoughts, in fact, constitute a tightly argued, pamphlet-sized treatise on how to read scripture as a form of prayer.


How to get the most out of reading the Bible

By Father Daniel J. Harrington | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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How did your love for the Bible develop?
I became interested in scripture as a boy. I stutter sometimes, and when I heard that Moses stuttered-that he was "slow of speech and slow of tongue"-I looked it up in the Book of Exodus and found the story of God's call to Moses to speak on behalf of God. In this way I found God in the Bible, and that experience has always been with me.


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