US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Jason Isbell's brilliant lyrics describe the struggle of blue collar life

A review of Jason Isbell's newest album, Something more than free

By Danny Duncan Collum | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The release of Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free was as much of a mainstream media event as one can expect in this age of audience fragmentation. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in country, rock, and folk, and it garnered Isbell profiles everywhere from The New Yorker to NPR.  

Isolated brothers rely on movies and each other in ‘The Wolfpack'

By Kathleen Manning | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The Wolfpack
Directed by Crystal Moselle (Kotva Films, 2015)
After watching Star Wars as kids, no wrapping paper roll in my house was safe; my brothers and I stole them for light saber battles. The Wolfpack opens with a similar scene of kids recreating movies, but only slowly does this documentary reveal the strange necessity of their movie play. 

Is social justice the same as socialism?

By Kathy McGourty | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Lately there have been accusations that a church with a social justice mission is one that supports socialism.

Conservative TV personality Glenn Beck told Christians, "I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice' or ‘economic justice' on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. . . . If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop."

Our health care system needs a heart transplant

By Thomas G. Pretlow, M.D. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
And our politicians need a brain transplant. Universal health care is the most compassionate option we have, argues a Catholic doctor, and it’s the smartest, most economical solution as well.

The Congo’s killing fields

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Families separated. Millions left for dead. Do we share some of the blame?

Patrick Mwnyamahord knows where his father is buried because a neighbor showed him that small place. What he doesn't know is how his father got there, and there was no one he could safely ask, not then. Twelve years ago he and his family made one of a series of sudden escapes from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into nearby Burundi. On this particular exodus his father was too ill to travel and the family had to leave him.

Abundant life: The art of Martin Ramirez

The artwork of Mexican artist Martin Ramirez reminds us that the spirit is always free.

By John Christman | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Postal Service issued a collection of stamps honoring the art of Martín Ramírez. At the time of his death, in February 1963 at California’s DeWitt State Hospital, such an accolade would have seemed like a dream.

Who is today's C. S. Lewis?

The era of best-selling Christian children’s books has passed. Is God still present in children’s literature?

By Laura Whitaker | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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When Time magazine and the New York Public Library compiled their lists of great children’s books, authors notorious for their Christian motifs—like J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and the late, great Madeleine L’Engle—were well represented. 

The representation of Christian writers on the list doesn’t come as a surprise to historians of children’s literature. Spiritual formation has long been an important theme within children’s books.

A field guide for Catholics

Being a good Catholic isn't about specific devotional practices, but instead about what these practices say about our relationship with God.

By Emily Sanna | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Flipping through the pages of Melissa Musick and Anna Keating’s The Catholic Catalogue : A Field Guide to the Daily Acts That Make Up a Catholic Life, I immediately thought, “Wow, I must be a bad Catholic.” I’m not big on the veneration of relics, I’ve never blessed my home, and I don’t have a “Mary garden.” 

All that is seen and unseen

Scary podcasts feed our hunger for the unknown.

By Jessica Mesman Griffith | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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What’s old is new again, and in entertainment we’ve come full circle, back to where we started, gathered round the hearth to listen to old wives’ tales. But the firelight has been replaced by the glowing screens of our handheld devices, and we call these broadcasts podcasts. There’s raw, elemental, and inexpensive power in one human voice calling a story into being, as my children know when they beg for “just one more” every night before bed. 

Make a joyful noise

Whether an ancient hymn or a Top 40 pop song, music can create a path to God.

By Anna Keating | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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As a kid with three much older siblings, I was introduced to a wide variety of music at a young age. When I was 11 and my sister was 16, we spent a summer stripping wallpaper and painting our bedroom to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. My other sister took me to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to see musicians like singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, and my eldest brother often made me mixtapes.