Our sisters' keeper
A recent United Nations report offers a sobering assessment on the condition of women.
Many Catholics couples struggling with infertility naturally turn to the scriptures for solace. Maybe they shouldn't.
Although the Old and New Testaments are full of examples of "barren women"-Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Elizabeth, to name a few-it's unlikely that many contemporary infertile couples will find comfort in their stories.
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?
A Bible is a Bible. Or is it? When I taught religion at a Catholic high school, I always had to tell my students to be sure they had a Bible that was "Catholic." Why did I have to make this clarification?
While all Christian Bibles have the same number of New Testament books, they do differ on the number of books found in the Old Testament.
As a 39-year-old husband and father, much of Mark's life is taken up with the daily and often demanding tasks of family, including spending time with his 6-year-old son. While Mark's father and grandfather once experienced the Catholic Church as part of this fabric of life, the same is not true for the Denver programmer and systems analyst, who was raised Catholic in a family of six children.
Gary Hoffman's passion for the Bible has caused him to wind up in prison. "When you begin to reflect on scripture, it calls you deeper and deeper," he says. "I remember several times when we would hold Bible study sessions in our home. They were supposed to go for an hour and a half or two, but then people would start reflecting on how a passage applied to their own spiritual journey, and they'd really get into it. It would go on and on into the night.
During Mass each Wednesday at Casa Juan Diego in Houston, immigrants speak of not eating for days, having nothing to drink for a week, seeing people die of thirst or because they drank irrigation water with chemicals in it.
It happened again last Sunday, as it has happened other Sundays. A young couple arrives-usually late-with an infant and toddler in tow. After making a commotion in the back of the church, taking off coats, extracting the toddler from his buggy, and assembling an array of child-care accessories, they walk to a seat in front of the church-almost as in solemn procession-during one of the readings, thereby becoming the center of attention. For the duration of the Mass, the baby fusses, and the older child, unattended, runs back and forth up and down the aisle.
"Someday," Gina Marie says quietly, "I would like to be asked forforgiveness." Her words are simple, direct, and uncompromising. It isnot a lover from whom Gina Marie seeks a gesture of reconciliation,at least not a lover in a temporal sense. Rather, it is the RomanCatholic Church, an institution she cherished and revered inchildhood but now views as hurtful, indifferent, sometimes brutallycruel.