US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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? 

What is chrism?

The blessed chrism represents our new life in Christ and the fact that we are marked and set apart by God.

By Rhonda Miska |
Article Your Faith

In the ancient Near East, olive oil was used for healing, sealing, and strengthening. Athletes in ancient Greece would use it to limber up and soothe their muscles before competing. Oil was also poured on the head of guests as a sign of hospitality. Prophets were anointed with olive oil, and they in turn anointed kings.

Do dogs go to heaven?

Animals are part of God’s creation. But will they join us in heaven?

By Meghan Murphy-Gill and Shanna Johnson |
Article Your Faith

Humans have kept animals around for centuries. At first it was for hunting purposes, pest control, and general working tasks. It did not take long, however, for animals to start being bred and kept as companions. According to a 2015–2016 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, around 79.7 million households in America are home to a pet. It is clear animals hold a special place in our hearts. So when they die, as with our loved ones of the human variety, of course we want to know what becomes of them. Where do they fit into the world God has created? 

What do Protestants think of Mary?

Since the Reformation, Protestant traditions have been shifting and changing. Beliefs about Mary are no exception.

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

Growing numbers of Mexican Americans are converting to Pentecostalism from Catholicism, and some are bringing their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with them. In many cases, this devotion occurs mainly in the privacy of the home, but Guadalupe’s religious and cultural importance cannot be stifled. Pentecostalism, which places great importance on the inerrancy of scripture, honors Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus but does not feel there is enough biblical evidence to give her any larger role in the work of salvation.

Why does baptism have to be so wet?

While baptizing people with a little dribble of water is “enough” for a valid celebration of the sacrament, it hardly conveys the full meaning of Baptism.

By Victoria M. Tufano |
Article Your Faith

The gasps are audible at our Easter Vigil, when adults in parishes are baptized in cleverly disguised wading pools: “Was it really necessary to ruin their clothes?” Some may see this “overabundance” of water as too much of a good thing; others wonder (often aloud) if we’re becoming Baptists.

Is it sinful to charge interest on a loan?

It might initially seem like little is at stake, but interest is an issue of human dignity.

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Justice

Let’s say I take out a mortgage to buy a home, most likely from a very large bank, on which I am charged interest. Or maybe I loan a friend money to start her own business. Once her venture succeeds, she pays me back what she borrowed, plus a 10 percent return as a gesture of thanks. Are either of these situations sinful?