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?
The blessed chrism represents our new life in Christ and the fact that we are marked and set apart by God.
In the ancient Near East, olive oil was used for healing, sealing, and strengthening. Athletes in ancient Greece would use it to limber up and soothe their muscles before competing. Oil was also poured on the head of guests as a sign of hospitality. Prophets were anointed with olive oil, and they in turn anointed kings.
Animals are part of God’s creation. But will they join us in heaven?
Humans have kept animals around for centuries. At first it was for hunting purposes, pest control, and general working tasks. It did not take long, however, for animals to start being bred and kept as companions. According to a 2015–2016 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, around 79.7 million households in America are home to a pet. It is clear animals hold a special place in our hearts. So when they die, as with our loved ones of the human variety, of course we want to know what becomes of them. Where do they fit into the world God has created?
Since the Reformation, Protestant traditions have been shifting and changing. Beliefs about Mary are no exception.
Growing numbers of Mexican Americans are converting to Pentecostalism from Catholicism, and some are bringing their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with them. In many cases, this devotion occurs mainly in the privacy of the home, but Guadalupe’s religious and cultural importance cannot be stifled. Pentecostalism, which places great importance on the inerrancy of scripture, honors Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus but does not feel there is enough biblical evidence to give her any larger role in the work of salvation.
While baptizing people with a little dribble of water is “enough” for a valid celebration of the sacrament, it hardly conveys the full meaning of Baptism.
The gasps are audible at our Easter Vigil, when adults in parishes are baptized in cleverly disguised wading pools: “Was it really necessary to ruin their clothes?” Some may see this “overabundance” of water as too much of a good thing; others wonder (often aloud) if we’re becoming Baptists.
It might initially seem like little is at stake, but interest is an issue of human dignity.
Let’s say I take out a mortgage to buy a home, most likely from a very large bank, on which I am charged interest. Or maybe I loan a friend money to start her own business. Once her venture succeeds, she pays me back what she borrowed, plus a 10 percent return as a gesture of thanks. Are either of these situations sinful?
In many ways, the story of the church starts with Peter. With the words, “And I tell you, Peter, that on this rock I will build my church,” Jesus appoints Peter as head of his new church and charges him with the responsibility to build it from the ground (Matt. 16).
Throughout the centuries, biblical scholars and theologians have taken these words to imply that Jesus gave unique authority to Peter. But Catholics understand Jesus’ words differently: The new Christian church would be physically built on Peter’s remains.
The progress of the Industrial Revolution came with a steep price: the horrible excess of human wreckage. Be it death or dismemberment in factory work, chronic disease thanks to pollution and lack of sanitation, or the cruelty of child labor, the basic humanity of workers was not respected.
The word relic denotes antiquity, but in just the past couple years, this centuries-old tradition has been causing a bit of medieval-style controversy. In September of 2014, the beatification process for Archbishop Fulton Sheen was postponed indefinitely, largely because of a dispute over Sheen’s body. (Sheen was an Emmy Award-winning television and radio personality who became a midcentury pop culture icon preaching and teaching on Catholic theology, making him one of the world’s first televangelists.) While the location of the archbishop’s body is not in question—he’s buried beneath St.