US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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.

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

When and why did the church begin celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday?

By Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg |
Article Your Faith

The world was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1931 and the memories of World War I were still very much alive in the minds of Europeans when in Poland a sister of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), is said to have been personally visited by Jesus.

Is social justice the same as socialism?

Social justice means living in right relationship.

By Kathy McGourty |
Article Your Faith

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.”

Unfortunately, statements such as this have left even Catholics, who enjoy a rich social justice tradition, confused.

Is it a sin to drive an SUV?

Gas-guzzlers aren't generally chic in Catholic circles. These days many of us are wondering whether we can drive one with a clear conscience. But is it a sin?

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

Simply defined, to sin is to say “no” to God. It is a rejection of God’s free gifts as well as the grace-filled relationship that God always offers. It is to choose what is not good while exercising one’s mature free will. Often it is as simple as choosing what is easy or what is the societal norm without using the eyes of faith.

How similar are Catholics and Anglicans?

By Bryan Cones |
Article Your Faith

The Vatican's October announcement of a special process to admit Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church raised questions for many who perhaps thought that "crossing the Tiber" would require a major shift in belief for Anglicans.

The relationship between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, however, has always been somewhat different from the other Catholic-Protestant divides, which may make it easier for Anglicans to find a home in the Roman communion.

Why can’t Catholics wed outdoors?

Is the out of doors a suitable place to get married?

By Heidi Schlumpf |
Article Lifestyle Your Faith

Of the four wedding invitations currently posted on my refrigerator, only one is for a ceremony to be held in a church. The others? All will be outdoors: in a hotel garden, under a restaurant gazebo, or in a park. The beauty of God’s creation seems a perfect setting for making a lifetime commitment. So why doesn’t the Catholic Church allow couples to get married outside?

Who were the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, chief priests, and elders?

Were the Pharisees really bad guys?

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith

“By what authority are you doing these things?” (Mark 11:27–28). With this and similar questions the gospels relentlessly portray Jesus’ opponents—the chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees—as bad guys who resisted Jesus at almost every turn and conspired to have him killed.

The gospel accounts, however, tend to lump these folks together and offer very little information about who they were. Understanding them better helps us to grasp why the New Testament depicts them as such villains.