Famous last words: Benedict’s final act as pope may be his most enduring

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Vatican

Pope Benedict’s final act may be one of his best gifts to the church.

So were you shocked, just shocked, when Pope Benedict XVI resigned back in February? “Shock,” or at least some form of it—“Pope’s sudden resignation sends shock waves through church,” claimed Reuters—appeared in nearly every headline covering the pope’s precipitous exit from Peter’s chair.

Why did Jesus “descend into hell”?

By John Switzer| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

We sometimes say of people that they’ve been “to hell and back.” Christianity says the same thing about our Savior.

The statement is found in the Apostles’ Creed, a profession of faith with origins that may go back to the questions asked of candidates for baptism in the late second century. It reminds us that the saving power of Christ is for all times and all peoples, even those who entered and passed from human history prior to his death and resurrection.


Speaking from experience

By Karen Dix| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life

Editors' note: Sounding Board is one person’s take on a many-sided subject and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.


Latino Catholics: Caught between two worlds

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Hispanic Catholics Parish Life
It's past time for the U.S. Catholic Church to make Hispanic ministry, especially to second-generation Latinos, a priority in everything we do.

When Catholic parishes notice uncomfortable tensions between parishioners of different backgrounds, one of the people they call in as a “fixer” is University of Notre Dame theologian Timothy Matovina. Parishes that want to get better at dealing with their lack of unity, says this expert on Latino Catholicism, must move away from thinking they should provide a “welcome” to fellow Catholics of other ethnicities.


Back to the drawing board: Should churches be used for more than just Mass?

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life

The religious landscape is shifting. Don’t hunker down—get creative.


The Latino priest shortage and three ways to respond

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Hispanic Catholics Parish Life
The editors of U.S. Catholic interview Timothy Matovina, professor of theology and executive director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.

[Read more from Timothy Matovina on Latino Catholics in the United States.] 


What is the New Evangelization?

By Kevin Considine and Meghan Murphy-Gill| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

When Catholics hear the word evangelization, we tend to think of Protestants. This is not surprising. They have been highly visible in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own way.


Brokenness is in the Body of Christ

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life Prayer and Sacraments Social Justice Spirituality

The church needs to open its doors to the broken bodies of Christ.

Of all the body parts I didn’t expect my busted knee to affect, it was my eyes. But I’m here to tell you that the first thing that changes when you’re hobbling around is what you see. Specifically, what I see are obstacles: stairs, curbs, uneven pavement, short drops—all of which, if not negotiated properly, result in exquisite little bursts of pain.


Who invented Advent?

By Victoria M. Tufano| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Saints, Feasts, and Seasons Scripture and Theology

The easy answer to that question is, we, the church, did. The feasts and seasons of the liturgical year all developed from the church’s desire to remember, celebrate, and live the great mysteries of our faith.

The answer gets more complicated when we realize that these seasons originated centuries ago and developed independently in different places, spreading, combining, and sometimes dying out.

Before we can talk about Advent, we have to talk about Christmas, obviously, and, less obviously, Epiphany.


What is original sin?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

You won’t find the phrase “original sin” in the Bible. The story of humanity’s “fall” in Genesis 1 doesn’t use the term, and St. Paul, one of the church’s earliest theologians, only hints at it in places. After the first century the early church fathers started to define it, but those in the East and West took different approaches.


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