US Catholic Faith in Real Life

What should we make of the other gospels?

By Michael Peppard |

If Catholics know anything at all about the Bible, we know that there are four gospels. But every so often, a newly discovered ancient text hits the headlines, such as the Gospel of Thomas (1945), the Gospel of Judas (2006), or the papyrus fragment last year that included a phrase about Jesus’ “wife.”

What are Catholics supposed to make of texts not included in the canon of the New Testament?

In short, be not afraid. While the fourfold gospel canon holds a mine of inexhaustible spiritual riches, there is also much to be learned from noncanonical sources.

What is the soul?

By Joel Schorn |

When I was a teenager, I took a religious education correspondence course from the Paulist Fathers. They would send me booklets to read, and at the end of them were questions on the material that I would answer and send back. Then some anonymous Paulist priest would grade my answers and return them to me with the next pamphlet.

Are popes required to serve for life?

By Joseph McHugh |

Catholics have become accustomed to the idea of popes dying in office—after all, 600 years is a long time between papal resignations. But there is no written rule that a pope must serve for life.

Pope Benedict, in his announcement of resignation, said of the papacy that “both strength of mind and body are necessary—strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Why did Jesus “descend into hell”?

By John Switzer |

We sometimes say of people that they’ve been “to hell and back.” Christianity says the same thing about our Savior.

The statement is found in the Apostles’ Creed, a profession of faith with origins that may go back to the questions asked of candidates for baptism in the late second century. It reminds us that the saving power of Christ is for all times and all peoples, even those who entered and passed from human history prior to his death and resurrection.

What is the New Evangelization?

By Kevin P. Considine and Meghan Murphy-Gill |

When Catholics hear the word evangelization, we tend to think of Protestants. This is not surprising. They have been highly visible in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own way.

How the door was opened for Catholic women theologians

By Heather Grennan Gary |

If necessity is the mother of invention, it’s fair to say that American Catholic school students in the early 20th century were, in a way, the mothers of Catholic women theologians.

Words fail us: Parishioners respond to the new Missal a year later

By Meghan Murphy-Gill |
Reporting straight from the pews after a year of the new translations, U.S. Catholic readers say they are still stumbling through the prayers.  

Stilted, awkward, unnatural, strange, choppy, clumsy, obtuse. If you read these words in a movie review, would you head for the ticket line or run in the opposite direction? What about wooden, tortured, terrible, ridiculous, inaccessible, or abominable? Are you at least intrigued by what could warrant such description? Would you want to check it out once a week?

The church in Asia: A place for all peoples

By Edmund Chia and Gemma Tulud Cruz |
Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the church faces new challenges. In this final installment of a three-part series,

Read more scholars on today's signs of the times.

What is the future of the liturgy?

By Father Anthony Ruff, O.S.B. |
Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the church faces new challenges. In this final installment of a three-part series, Father Anthony Ruff says the best way to defend the church’s liturgical renewal is to celebrate the reformed liturgy as well as possible.

Read more scholars on today's signs of the times.