US Catholic Faith in Real Life

A new way to think about the ‘consistent ethic of life’

Being pro-life shouldn’t be about individual issues, but rather about solidarity.

By Steven P. Millies |
Article Justice

Before we talk about what the consistent ethic of life is, maybe we should start by talking about what the consistent ethic of life is not. We might get a little farther that way.

The “seamless garment” (Jn 19:23) has always been an appealing image. As a metaphor, however, this common way people talk about the consistent ethic is problematic. The image of the garment is tempting, because it helps to make the consistent ethic seem more concrete.

Sister Helen Prejean says check your (white) privilege

The eye-opening experience that sparked her lifelong commitment to justice.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Justice

Sister of St. Joseph Helen Prejean grew up in a bubble. “My family is very Catholic and very white,” she says. When Prejean joined the religious life at age 18, she went from one social bubble to the next. Throughout her childhood, her parents employed African American servants. “They ate separate from us and had a separate toilet, but I never thought anything was wrong with that,” Prejean says. “That’s what culture does. Culture says, ‘Honey, that’s just the way we do things here.’ ”

What happens when a parish rallies around an ex-offender?

Churches in Washington State are building real connections with prison inmates.

By Katie Bahr |
Article Justice

Sam Middleton had already been in prison for 26 years when the letters started coming. One day he had a pile of five unopened envelopes, addressed to him from people he had never met. Each return address was from a family in his hometown of Bay View, Washington.

What one prison chaplain learned from those she served

New insights into the story of the Good Samaritan from behind bars.

By Patricia Halsey |
Article Your Faith

I pulled out a bright green Naugahyde chair from the pile in the sparse room and started down the checklist in my mind. Let’s see. . . . The two bathrooms were unlocked, one for the men, one for me. I had dragged the heavy oak podium across the room to place it near the table that would soon serve as an altar. The consecrated hosts were safe in a pyx in my black leather burse. I’d set up five chairs in a row in front of me and put missals on the seats. Everything was in place.

This Christmas, learn from the generosity of those in prison

It's not the size of the gift but the intention behind it that shows the true meaning of Christmas.

By Valerie Schultz |
Article Justice

The Christmas baskets were almost ready. Only a few donations were still needed. “If anybody can help,” the chairman announced, “We still could use a couple of soups, two bars of soap, and a book of stamps. I know it’s a lot and you guys have been real generous, but c’mon, y’all. It’s Christmas.”

Should we rebuild crumbling Catholic landmarks?

In typical Catholic fashion, the answer is both/and.

By John Christman |
Article Culture Justice

Where were you on April 15 when you first saw flames tear through the ancient wood roof of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral? What thoughts and emotions gripped you as plumes of smoke rose from that sacred space? And, equally relevant, how did you react days later when protesters hit the streets of Paris waving placards that read “1 Billion for Notre-Dame! Zero for the Homeless!”?

To end human trafficking, Catholic colleges take a leading role

The mission to protect human dignity is a central part of the Catholic faith.

By Wyatt Massey |
Article Justice

Jamie Pizzi remembers the lunchtime meetings. They would take place in a college classroom. There, people would discuss their work, work not just happening on campus but in the community.

Pizzi, then 23 years old, was a first-year student at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Her classes had rigid curricula with a lot of reading on law and its foundations. There was little room to see the law in action, she says, and not much space in the initial coursework for specific law interests. That’s why Pizzi loved the weekly meetings.

Catholics around the country are taking seriously Pope Francis’ call to abolish the death penalty

The pope's resolve on this life-or-death issue poses a challenge to the U.S. church.

By Amanda Hendler-Voss |
Article Justice

About 25 years after the brutal murder of her older sister, Jean Parks unearthed her true feelings about the death penalty. 

Build bridges, not walls, says Pope Francis

Francis on the margins lives up to his rhetoric.

By Kevin Clarke |
Article News

At the beginning of his papacy Francis famously spoke about his desire to lead a church that was willing to go to the margins on behalf of the oppressed and the vulnerable, and he has lived up to those words, sometimes at no small personal risk.

What would you put in a parent’s toolbox?

U.S. social services often turns what should be a hand-up into a civic pushdown. One example: disposable diapers.

By Kevin Clarke |
Article Justice

My wife asked me a week before school started this September if I had remembered to purchase my youngest child’s “school toolbox.” For the uninitiated, that’s the giant package of everything your kid needs to survive grade school that better-organized parents never fail to preorder.

To my great shame, I forgot to buy one this year.