US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Spring of hope

By Marianne Comfort | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
With a sprinkle of water, an infant is reborn in Christ and welcomed into the Catholic community.

In some parts of the world, however, water is anything but a lifegiving force. Instead, it brings death, battles between humans and nature, and conflict among peoples over use of a precious resource.

Material issue

By Georgia Alexakis | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It was a cold, winter day when one of Mary Lou Aiello's most memorable clients walked into the Care Center, five months pregnant and with only a thin winter coat to shield her from the rapidly amassing snow.

"Her fingers were blue from the cold," says Aiello, the Care Center's executive director. "I was trying to warm them up when she told me that she was wearing the only coat in the family. Her husband had gone to work in that kind of weather without one so she could come to the center.

Care Tactics

By Mariana Farrell | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare


"God bless you."

One of the legends behind saying "God bless you" originates in the belief that a person's heart stops for a fraction of a second during a sneeze. Even though that old wives' tale won't help cure the cold or allergy that caused the sneeze, people continue to say it.

Catholics might offer a different reason for saying "God bless you." The phrase does two fundamental things that Catholic leaders call for when they talk about caring for the sick.

At the hour of our death

By Martin E Marty | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Even death cannot rob us of our fundamental dignity as human persons. -From the U.S. bishops' Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites

Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy because Christians care for the bodies of humans-even though they are deceased. "The dead deserve as respectful a burial as can be provided, this is a minimum," says Father Richard Rutherford of the University of Portland.

Corporal Acts of Mercy: A place to call home

By Ginny Cunningham | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Christian influence has finally been felt at the highest levels of government. Policymakers and legislators have, at long last, studied the model that Christ presented during his life on earth as documented in the gospels. And they've come to a profound and cost-conscious conclusion: Christ didn't have a home address. It must be okay-or at least, Christianto be homeless, to rely on the charity of friends and relatives for a bed to sleep on, or to wander out to the desert (or under a bridge) and find a rock to use as a pillow.

Let's get a big bang out of science

By Father Richard G. Malloy, S.J. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Far from being a threat to faith, modern science is an invitation to get better  acquainted with the force behind the universe.

How can you believe in evolution?” a Christian woman accuses me. I explain that I don’t believe in evolution. I accept evolution as a scientific theory in the same way I accept the theory of gravity.

In 2006 National Geographic News reported that only 14 percent of Americans thought evolution is “definitely true.” Around 30 percent reject the idea entirely. Only people in Turkey have a lower rate of acceptance of Darwin’s discoveries.

Day by Day: The letters and journals of Dorothy Day

By Robert Ellsberg | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Thirty years after her death, Dorothy Day’s letters and diaries reveal an ordinary but committed woman trying to put love where there was none.

There is probably no more famous image of Dorothy Day than the iconic photo by Bob Fitch that shows her seated with a look of utter tranquility between two armed and imposing police officers. That photo was taken in 1973 when she was 75. The occasion was her final arrest while picketing with striking farmworkers in California.

Reading list

Online Editor | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
We couldn't include everyone's responses in the Feedback section of October 2010's Reader Survey, "Used books," so here is a selection of responses that includes some of our readers' favorite books and recommendations.

My favorite contemporary book addressing issues related to the Catholic faith today is...

Elizabeth Johnson's Truly Our Sister: A theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints. It strengthens one's love for Mary and helps to make Mary relevant in the lives of today's women.

It makes a difference whether you're Catholic

By James Breig | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
In the May 1979 Sounding Board that inspired the 75th anniversary essay of the same title by Angela C. Batie, James Breig explains why it matters if you're Catholic.

An acquaintance recently returned to the church after more than 10 years of apostasy. One motivation for coming back was the religious education of her son, who was nearing the age for First Communion. His growth had spurred her to reconsider her religious views.

More than a feeling: A desire for God

By James Martin, S.J. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
You're longing for God--you just don't know it, yet.

A few years ago I was having lunch with a friend who is an agnostic. I had just finished my annual eight-day retreat at my favorite place to pray, Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts, right on the Atlantic Ocean. Despite her agnosticism, she was interested in hearing about my retreat. So I told her a little about my prayer.

After a few minutes she said, "Boy, it must be nice to have had an experience of God. There's nothing I want more."