US Catholic Faith in Real Life

What I learned from Father Dan: Let's not scapegoat gay priests

By Margaret Brennan| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Many gay priests have served and continue to serve our church well. Let's not make them scapegoats for the sins of others.

In our church and in the media there has been much talk about the recently released Vatican instruction on vocation discernment and gay seminarians. As a middle-aged, married woman and the mother of two teenage children who has worked for most of her professional life in ministry, why should I care to add to that debate? Shouldn't I just leave the commenting to a gay priest or seminarian?

Pride and prejudice: A history of the relationship between gay and lesbian Catholics and their church

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

1969: Dignity, the first group for gay and lesbian Catholics, is founded. The Stonewall Riots, considered the beginning of the gay rights movement, follow a police raid on a gay bar in Greenwich Village.

1973: The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

1974: The National Federation of Priests Councils and the National Coalition of American Nuns adopts a platform supporting the “civil rights of homosexual persons.”

Pride and prejudice: The uneasy relationship between gays and lesbians and their church

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
As church leaders turn up the volume on same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian Catholics find themselves wondering just where they stand in their church.

On a clear, windy Sunday in March 2010, Father William Breslin told his parishioners at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colorado why the parish school would not re-enroll a child of same-sex parents for the coming school year.

The mamas and the papas: What it's like for Catholic parents of GLBT children

By Kristen Hannum| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Parents have much to say about the church and their children.

The young priest preached on the sanctity of life at a Denver hospice. Afterward an older couple asked him if their son, who had died of AIDS, would be in hell forever. The priest said he couldn’t answer that.

More than 20 years later Shawn Reynolds still remembers the anguish on the couple’s faces. “He didn’t say anything about Christ’s love,” Reynolds says.

When do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

By Father James Field| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.

Built of living stones

By Cyprian Davis| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The history of African American Catholicism began with the arrival of the Spanish settlers in the 16th century in Florida. In fact, on the first page of the 16th-century baptismal registers are the names of black infants who were baptized into the Body of Christ along with white infants in St. Augustine Church.

What's the Catholic view on church and state?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
During Christianity's earliest centuries, an era of official persecution of Christians, church and state were not only separate but opposed.

Then in the early fourth century, when Emperor Constantine became a Christian, the church and state began to visibly collaborate. The crowning of Charlemagne as emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 fostered the belief that the pope embodied ultimate authority to which secular leaders were subordinate. The ensuing Holy Roman Empire continued this perception.

Dancing with the stars: An interview with astronomer George Coyne, S.J.

By A U.S. Catholic interview| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
With 10,000 billion billion heavenly bodies in the cosmic ballroom, God has created a grand universe of possibilities.

As a priest and an astronomer, Jesuit Father George Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science, but he’s quick to acknowledge that they serve two different purposes. “I can’t know if there is a God or if there is not a God by science,” he says.

Off the corporate ladder: Working for the church

By Leslie Scanlon| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Some professionals are quitting their day jobs and stepping up to a new spiritual calling.

if someone had told Barbara Evans a decade ago that she’d be working as the director of religious education for a parish in New Jersey, responsible for the faith formation of children and teenagers, she’d have told them they were crazy.

Degrees of service: More on lay ministry programs

By Leslie Scanlon| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
What types of lay ministry formation programs are available?

The answer varies—from shorter-term diocesan programs that might involve a class taken at night or on Saturdays for a month or two to formal university graduate school programs lasting several years.