US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Where do hosts come from?

In the Roman Catholic Church, bread for the Eucharist must be made of wheat, be unleavened, and be recently made and unspoiled.

By Victoria M. Tufano |
Article Your Faith

At the center of our celebration are the simple elements of bread and wine. 

The wine used for Mass is much the same as any wine we might serve at our own tables. Any unspoiled natural wine made only of grapes may be used. But the bread that we use for Mass is usually the flat, round wafers we call hosts. (The word host comes from the Latin hostia, which means victim, one to be sacrificed.) 


Is there a difference between mercy and compassion?

Mercy and compassion do not always go hand in hand.

By Beth Haile |
Article Your Faith

The logo for last year’s Year of Mercy, designed by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik, depicts the Good Shepherd, who in his mercy takes humanity on his shoulders. When you look closely at the image, however, you see the shepherd’s eyes are merged with the man he carries. 


Were women at the Last Supper?

If women had sat down to dinner with Jesus and the other men, it certainly would have made the written record. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t present.

By Alice Camille |
Article Your Faith

My friend Tim worked in Jerusalem. One night he was invited to supper at the home of a Palestinian employee. Tim arrived at the single-room dwelling, where an elaborate table was set. It was an honor to have the boss under one’s roof. Given the journey through checkpoints to get to the West Bank beyond the wall that divides it from Jerusalem, it was expected Tim would stay the night.


Does hell exist?

Hell may not be a literal burning fire, but does that mean it doesn’t exist?

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith
It’s hard for many Christians to wrap their heads around the idea of hell. How could a just and loving God create a place of eternal torment and torture? To get around this paradox, many theologians over millennia have argued that hell is a consequence of human sinfulness, not a product of the Creator. Hell, understood this way, is an extension of what it means to have free will.
 

Can Catholics celebrate the Reformation?

Despite its reputation, the Reformation did not divide the unity of the Catholic Church.

By Jacob Kohlhaas |
Article Your Faith

On October 31, 2016, the same day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in 1517, the Lutheran World Federation began a yearlong commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. To recognize the Lutheran Church and to affirm the Catholic Church’s continuing resolve to seek full Christian unity, Pope Francis participated in a Lutheran-Catholic liturgy in Lund, Sweden. However, his presence was not without controversy.


Is all church teaching created equal?

We tend to give all church teaching the same weight and authority, but is dumping limbo tantamount to dumping the Trinity?

By Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg |
Article Your Faith

Recent news about limbo kept us, well, in limbo. Is it in or out? To many, this issue had to do with the ability the church to modify its teaching. We tend to give all church teaching the same weight and authority, but is dumping limbo tantamount to dumping the Trinity?


Why do priests wear green in Ordinary Time?

What started as a tradition of convenience has become a rule.

By Victoria M. Tufano |
Article Your Faith

Ordinary Time, or the season in the liturgical calendar outside of Advent, Lent, and the Christmas and Easter seasons, is a time when the church focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus. The season celebrates the mysteries of Christ’s life and death and looks forward to the salvation and eternal life that he brings. Green represents hope—like the hope we feel when we see the first buds in springtime—and it is thus fitting that green is the liturgical color that marks this season. 


Is the Bible infallible?

Historical inaccuracies don't make the Bible untrue.

By Alice Camille |
Article Your Faith

A lot of people—even the kind who go to church—wonder if the Bible is true or just stories. The best answer to that question is: The Bible is true. And some of it really happened.


Did God create men and women to complement each other?

Most Catholics can agree that people are embodied creatures who are shaped by relationships. But how much of a role does sexual difference play?

By Jacob Kohlhaas |
Article Your Faith

In Catholic circles, the term complementarity is often used to indicate a belief that men and women both have different—but balanced—attributes and skills. For its advocates, complementarity is an integral aspect of sexual difference that reveals the handiwork of a loving God who designed men and women for relationships, both socially and in the unique context of marriage. Yet critics worry about the concept’s origins, what it implies about gender, and how it has been used in modern society. 


Was Jesus a Catholic?

Jesus may have been Jewish, but his universal message and vision are reflected in the very definition of the word ‘catholic.’

By Rhonda Miska |
Article Your Faith

Historical Jesus scholars all agree that Jesus was a Galilean first-century Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, was addressed by his followers as “Rabbi,” quoted Hebrew scripture in his teachings, and taught in the Temple in ancient Jerusalem. So how did we get from the Jewish Jesus of Galilee to the Roman Catholic Church that we know today? 


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