Liturgy often changes to meet the needs of the faithful, says Father Mark Francis. Nowhere is this more evident than during the Christmas season.
For many Catholics, the word liturgy brings to mind processionals with incense and a crucifix, Eucharistic prayers, or the Communion Rite. Vestments, incense, and music may be floating around in our mental pictures as well. But what about other kinds of faith practices? Eucharistic adoration or devotions to patron saints? The blessing of the animals on the feast of St. Francis or the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Are these celebrations also liturgical? Or are they merely popular reflections of our faith based on each parish’s individual nationality and culture?
Historical inaccuracies don't make the Bible untrue.
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.
Theologian Heidi Russell says that science doesn’t always have to shake up our core concept of God as creator.
Heidi Russell has a dream. “I would love to see parishes get a subscription to Scientific American,” she says. “And then have a group that discusses what’s in each issue, reads about what’s happening in science, and then asks, ‘What might science tell us about our faith?’ ”
Russell, who teaches theology at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, has a special interest in the relationship between science and faith. She speaks as passionately about neuroscience and quantum physics as she does about theology and God.
The future is a scary place, but we have to face it head-on—even if we’d rather deal with change by hiding our heads in the sand.
What do you do when the sky is falling? This is not just a problem for Chicken Little to solve in the familiar children’s story. It’s a life question all of us have to answer sooner or later. As is the case with most fables and nursery rhymes, the famous fowl must address a certain grim reality nested in the experience of a world at risk.
Most Catholics can agree that people are embodied creatures who are shaped by relationships. But how much of a role does sexual difference play?
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.
If God uses torture to save, what does that say to victims of violence, and what does it say about God?
That Jesus died for our sins is so ingrained in Christianity it seems almost absurd to question it. It’s in our creed: “For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate.” It’s in our prayers: “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.” It’s in our hymns: “Who did once upon a cross, Alleluia! Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!”
Learning about electromagnetic fields gave me new language to understand God.
I came to faith because of magnets.
Christ's death means that no one needs to be harmed in the name of maintaining community.
Christ is the “forgiving victim,” says James Alison, a Catholic priest, theologian, and author. This idea stems from Alison’s Christian interpretation of philosopher René Girard; his work is peppered with language like “the mimetic nature of desire” and “the scapegoat mechanism.”
When we bathed our son in holy water, our whole family was immersed in a holy community.
My son turned 2 this summer, and over the past year he has expressed a keen interest in church. And when I say that he has expressed an interest, I really mean that he has started to lead our little family on a journey of faith that I had never before imagined for us. It started with his pointing out crosses. Sans serif, lower-case t’s demand his attention (and ours), as do graphicly hip plus signs, ornate crucifixes, and the simple stone crosses on the church we drive past every day to and from his daycare.
Jesus may have been Jewish, but his universal message and vision are reflected in the very definition of the word ‘catholic.’
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?