US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Who was St. Patrick, and would he drink green beer?

Sarah Butler |
Article Your Faith

c. 2015 Religion News Service

For Catholics, Episcopalians and some Lutherans, March 17 is the Feast Day of St. Patrick. For the rest of us, it’s St. Patrick’s Day — a midweek excuse to party until we’re green in the face. But who was Patrick? Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland or use the shamrock to explain the Trinity? Why should this fifth-century priest be remembered on this day?

Q: Was St. Patrick a real guy, and would he approve of green beer?


Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on the Catholic Church in Ireland

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Your Faith

When Bishop Diarmuid Martin was asked by Pope John Paul II in 2003 to leave his post at the Vatican and return to Dublin to eventually become its archbishop, the pope also lobbed this question at him: “How is it that secularization came to Ireland so quickly?” Martin has said that his unvarnished answer to that question would have been, “Your Holiness is wrong,” although of course he didn’t say that exactly. But he did tell the pope that secularization had been on the Irish radar for many years, even if few had realized it.


The battle over altar girls: A tale of two bishops

By Catherine O'Connell-Cahill |
blog Your Faith

Cardinal Raymond Burke, quoted in a Religious News Service story today by David Gibson, appears to be blaming altar girls for the drop in priestly vocations. 

“Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural,” Burke was quoted as saying. “It requires a certain manly discipline to serve as an altar boy in service at the side of (a) priest, and most priests have their first deep experiences of the liturgy as altar boys.”


Can you question the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian?

Scott Alessi |
Article Your Faith

(RNS) It’s a tough sell: A young, unmarried teenager gets pregnant, but the father isn’t a man but God himself. And the girl is a virgin—and (some believe) remains one even after she delivers a strapping baby boy. 

That’s the story of the Virgin Birth, one of the central tenets of faith for the world’s 2 billion Christians. The story is embraced by every branch of Christianity, from Eastern Orthodoxy to Mormonism, Catholic, and Protestant.


Why is there no patron saint of veterans?

By Patrick Gallagher |
Article Your Faith
The ranks of the saints are filled with men and women who risked their lives in battle. So why don’t military veterans have a patron of their own?

In the parish church of my youth, my family often sat under a stained glass window that depicted a poor man lying on the ground with his hand out to the Roman officer towering over him. Oddly, the soldier was cutting his own cloak in two. It was a long time before I learned that the Roman was St. Martin of Tours, a patron saint of soldiers.


Pope Francis’ overlooked sentence: An important statement on Islam and violence

By James Ball |
Article Your Faith

It’s now been almost a year since Pope Francis issued his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.” Much has been written about this long document; its approach to evangelization, social justice, and a more decentralized church has been variously dissected, praised, and panned.


Flower child: St. Thérèse of Lisieux

By Mary Anne McElroy |
Article Your Faith
Just like modern millennials, Thérèse of Lisieux struggled with how to make an impact on her world.

Ten years ago, when I was a 14-year-old high school student, my religion teacher arranged for me to interview Father Patrick Ahearn, a leading expert on St. Thérèse of Lisieux who happened to reside just blocks away from our school at St. Thomas More Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. What at the time seemed like frustrating extra work now stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of my adolescence.


How canon law can be revised to easily eliminate abusive priests

By Nicholas Cafardi |
blog Your Faith

In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano last month, Cardinal Francecso Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said that his council was working on a revision of Book Six of the Code of Canon Law, “On Sanctions.” The proposed changes would hopefully make the canonical penal process more accessible for bishops who wanted to bring canonical charges against priests who had sexually abused youngsters. 


Can we call God ‘Mother'?

In using maternal metaphors for God alongside the paternal ones, we embrace the fullness of God’s love for us.

By Katherine Attanasi |
Article Your Faith

Most Christians are familiar with referring to God as Father, but can we call God “Mother”? Many places in the Bible and Christian tradition as well as theological voices answer this question affirmatively: God can be referred to as “Mother.” In fact, every recent pope since John Paul I has made some reference to the value of understanding God like a mother.


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