US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Glad You Asked: What is the Liturgy of the Hours?

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith
The Liturgy of the Hours is a small but bulky and intimidating-looking red-bound prayer book with lots of confusing multicolored ribbons. It is that, but of course it’s much more.



Who decided which books made it into the Bible?

The Bible is considered the inspired word of God by the faithful. So you have to wonder: where did it come from?

By Alice Camille |
Article Your Faith

The Bible is considered the inspired word of God by the faithful. So you have to wonder: where did it come from?

With all the writings floating around the ancient world, who decided which of them rated as sacred enough to be scripture?

This question is technically one of canonicity. “Canon” means norm or standard. The term was first applied by St. Athanasius to a collection of Jewish and Christian writings around the year 350. A fourth-century bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, Athanasius was a powerhouse.


Does the church tell me how to vote?

Every election season, Catholics wonder about the relationship between their church and politics.

By Jim Dinn |
Article

"I believe in an America where... there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote," declared John F. Kennedy. But today some wonder whether U.S. Catholic bishops are trying to create a political bloc by telling Catholics how to cast their ballots.


When do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

By Father James Field |
Article Your Faith

The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.


Glad you asked: Would God lead us into temptation?

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith
"Lead us not into temptation.” Christians have prayed these words so many times, it’s easy to slide over their meaning, but they are a bit curious, aren’t they?

Would God really lead people into temptation? Isn’t that supposed to be the job of the other guy, the one with the horns and pitchfork?


Why does the church require miracles for sainthood?

By Heidi Schlumpf |
Article Your Faith
The church requires two miracles before a person can be canonized. Why?

A Catholic friar on a plane that made a dramatic emergency landing in Poland last fall clutched a lock of hair from Blessed John Paul II while praying for the safety of his fellow passengers. Will this be the second miracle needed for the late pontiff’s canonization?


Does the church have any ‘mothers’?

Writers on the early church speak often of ‘Church Fathers,’ but were there any Church Mothers?

By Michael Cameron |
Article Your Faith

Because of the cultural situation of the time, women wrote little and wielded power even less, so it’s hard to speak of “Church Mothers” in the same way we do the “Fathers.” Nevertheless, many ancient Christian women were known for their heroic faith as martyrs, spiritual guides, teachers, and, of course, mothers. They were often commended for their unique purity of life, their inner strength, and even their “virile” courage.


Why does the priest pour water into the wine and put a piece of the bread into the cup?

Both actions are very ancient and began as practical necessities, but eventually the necessities disappeared and were even forgotten.

By David Philippart |
Article Your Faith

Both actions are very ancient and began as practical necessities, but eventually the necessities disappeared and were even forgotten.

Later when Christians started to ask what these two gestures meant, they began to interpret the actions symbolically. While these symbols may never have been intended in the beginning, the better ones made sense and became part of our rich tradition.


Can a Catholic receive communion in a Protestant church?

Should you pass on communion at a Lutheran church or participate fully?

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

You are at the wedding of a beloved family member or friend, which is taking place at a Lutheran church. You gladly accepted the invitation to celebrate this happy day with the bride and groom. But then there is a call to come to the table of the Lord’s Supper, to receive communion. This is the awkward moment you knew was coming. Can you, and should you, a practicing Catholic, accept the invitation?


Is there a list of infallible teachings?

I’d like there to be an infallible teaching declaring a universal procedure for lining up for communion.

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

Most Catholics have a pet list of teachings that they wish would be declared infallibly, or ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter). Odds are that these often revolve around hot-button issues like women’s ordination, gay marriage, or the reform of the liturgy.


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