US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Glad You Asked: Why do we go to confession?

By Victoria M. Tufano | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The very word confession conjures up all kinds of stories and images, but those who go to confession know that it is a source of holy comfort and blessed relief. Confession is a gift, a means of grace, a way to God, and a way back to God.

This sacrament originated early in the church’s life, when it became clear that those who had been baptized were not immune to sin. Lesser sins were considered to be forgiven through prayer, fasting, works of mercy, and participation in the Eucharist. Greater sins needed more.

Cuban comeback: Change is on the horizon in Cuba

By Araceli M. Cantero | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Overcoming great obstacles, many Cubans are returning to the Catholic faith and helping renew the island’s church.

To this day Aldo Santos remembers with gratitude the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child in his native town of Holguín in northeast Cuba. Everyone in the neighborhood would come out of their house to gaze at the stars.

He would look up and ask his father about the moon and the planets and about a future full of dreams. He learned that even galaxies die, and it was then that he began to understand something about the end of things.

The ups and downs of church-and-state relations in Cuba: A brief history

By Araceli M. Cantero | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

THE 1950s

When Fidel Castro claims victory for his revolution on January 1, 1959, he praises the support of the Catholic Church and declares, “Catholics in Cuba have given their most determined collaboration to the cause of freedom.”

Needs improvement: Readers rate the bishops' response to church sex abuse

By Scott Alessi | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
A progress report from U.S. Catholic readers says that bishops still haven’t learned all their lessons on the subject of sexual abuse.

Anger. Betrayal. Sadness. Disappointment. These are just some of the myriad of emotions felt by Catholics in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that broke in 2002. And a decade later—following a flood of additional details on cases of clerical abuse and cover-ups as well as new efforts to enforce transparency and accountability within the church—many U.S. Catholic readers still hold on to those same feelings of disillusionment.

Do Catholics believe in life on other planets?

By Kevin P. Considine | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Jesus is the savior of humanity, but what that mean if we discovered alien life forms?

In a 1995 episode of the popular TV drama The X-Files, FBI agent Fox Mulder—a true believer in extraterrestrial life—has a quick exchange with his partner Dana Scully, the rational scientist and devoted skeptic. He asks, “Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments?”

“You want me to recite them?” Scully responds. Mulder says, “Just . . . the one about the Sabbath. The part where God made heaven and earth but didn’t bother to tell anyone about his side projects.”

Stay with me

By Miguel Arias | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
By grieving with the Blessed Mother, we comfort all mothers who mourn.

In my hometown of San José de Gracia in Jalisco, Mexico, church celebrations marked the pace of our lives. Though liturgical reform took time to arrive, the practices of popular Catholicism kept our faith alive and active. These celebrations belonged to the people—to our mothers and fathers, to our ancestors, and to our rezanderos (laypeople who lead the prayer).

How I almost missed Good Friday

By James Philipps | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Philips describes how Easter season often brings feelings of conviction and discomfort over his self-centeredness.

What's so good about Good Friday?

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It's almost as if Mel Gibson's The Passion has come to life. In Chicago's largely Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood, some 7,000 people gather at Providence of God Parish for the beginning of the Via Crucis or "Way of the Cross" every Good Friday. This is no symbolic walk through the park, however; "Pontius Pilate" is dressed in Roman garb, as are the soldiers who accompany "Jesus" the 12 blocks to Harrison Park, where he will be literally tied to a cross.

Are we there yet?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Even Jesus had to spend some time--Holy Saturday to be exact--waiting to see if things were going to work out. In this column from the archives, Bryan Cones explores the importance of the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

What will you be doing April 15?