US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Is there a list of infallible teachings?

I’d like there to be an infallible teaching declaring a universal procedure for lining up for communion.

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

Most Catholics have a pet list of teachings that they wish would be declared infallibly, or ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter). Odds are that these often revolve around hot-button issues like women’s ordination, gay marriage, or the reform of the liturgy.

What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

When and why did the church begin celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday?

By Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg |
Article Your Faith

The world was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1931 and the memories of World War I were still very much alive in the minds of Europeans when in Poland a sister of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), is said to have been personally visited by Jesus.

Is social justice the same as socialism?

Social justice means living in right relationship.

By Kathy McGourty |
Article Your Faith

Conservative TV personality Glenn Beck told Christians, “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. . . . If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop.”

Unfortunately, statements such as this have left even Catholics, who enjoy a rich social justice tradition, confused.

Is it a sin to drive an SUV?

Gas-guzzlers aren't generally chic in Catholic circles. These days many of us are wondering whether we can drive one with a clear conscience. But is it a sin?

By Kevin P. Considine |
Article Your Faith

Simply defined, to sin is to say “no” to God. It is a rejection of God’s free gifts as well as the grace-filled relationship that God always offers. It is to choose what is not good while exercising one’s mature free will. Often it is as simple as choosing what is easy or what is the societal norm without using the eyes of faith.

How similar are Catholics and Anglicans?

By Bryan Cones |
Article Your Faith

The Vatican's October announcement of a special process to admit Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church raised questions for many who perhaps thought that "crossing the Tiber" would require a major shift in belief for Anglicans.

The relationship between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, however, has always been somewhat different from the other Catholic-Protestant divides, which may make it easier for Anglicans to find a home in the Roman communion.

Why can’t Catholics wed outdoors?

Is the out of doors a suitable place to get married?

By Heidi Schlumpf |
Article Lifestyle Your Faith

Of the four wedding invitations currently posted on my refrigerator, only one is for a ceremony to be held in a church. The others? All will be outdoors: in a hotel garden, under a restaurant gazebo, or in a park. The beauty of God’s creation seems a perfect setting for making a lifetime commitment. So why doesn’t the Catholic Church allow couples to get married outside?

Who were the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, chief priests, and elders?

Were the Pharisees really bad guys?

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith

“By what authority are you doing these things?” (Mark 11:27–28). With this and similar questions the gospels relentlessly portray Jesus’ opponents—the chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees—as bad guys who resisted Jesus at almost every turn and conspired to have him killed.

The gospel accounts, however, tend to lump these folks together and offer very little information about who they were. Understanding them better helps us to grasp why the New Testament depicts them as such villains.

Are the gospels historical?

It’s fair to say the gospel writers, like all ancient historians, ‘played’ with history

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith

People today tend to think that history is pretty much about facts. Though history is always interpreted, the aim of history is to uncover facts to paint a picture of the past as it more or less happened. So to ask if the gospels are historical is the same as asking, “Did things really happen that way?”

Can St. Anthony help me find my keys?

Faith and prayer involve a lot more than solutions to personal difficulties.

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith

When my mother was a girl, she lost a ring that meant a lot to her. Given that she was a very devout child, she did what any right-thinking Italian American in her neighborhood would do: Go to the statue of St. Anthony of Padua in church and pray for the ring’s return. A few days later she was passing the statue, and at the feet of St. Anthony lay her ring. Miracle? Or the work of someone—maybe a janitor—who found the ring and put it in a place where its owner would likely find it?

Can a non-Catholic receive Communion?

There are five conditions set down in canon law by which a baptized Christian who is not Roman Catholic can receive with us.

By Father James Field |
Article Your Faith

The smarty-pants answer is that it happens all the time. There’s no security check at Communion stations. Ushers seldom rack up more than a couple of Communion-line tackles in a long career. So every Sunday just about everyplace, a Lutheran or Presbyterian or Druid sneaks in. Perhaps the person has not read the statement of the U.S. bishops printed in the worship aid about who’s in and who’s out when it comes to Holy Communion. Perhaps they are operating on the theology of their own churches, which can be summed up by saying that once you’re in the water, you’re at the table.