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On The Road Through Nothingness

On The Road Through Nothingness It’s rare to see a positive story about the Catholic Church in the mainstream media, especially in newer online-only publications like Slate, but Harold Fickett, a Godspy contributing editor, managed to publish an essay there recently about the Clear Creek Monastery, a new and growing contemplative Benedictine monastery in Kansas, and the wider story of how Catholic religious communities are attracting young people. It could be that the critical success of the three-hour documentary, Into Great Silence, which had a long run at Manhattan’s Film Forum in 2007, left an impression on the editors. The appeal of that movie is captured in Harold’s ending: “From its rich liturgical rites to the pastoral details of its life as a working farm, as the monks raise sheep, make furniture, tend their orchard, and care for a huge vegetable garden, Clear Creek is what a monastery is meant to be—a sign of paradise. Father Anderson says, ‘We were only a bunch of bums, but by becoming nothing, you can be a part of something great.’" READ MORE >

(3) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    clear creek | monasteries | monks

Magazine > Faith

Struggling with the Rosary

Struggling with the Rosary The Rosary is excruciating. There I said it. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said it was the most perfect prayer because it takes 19 minutes, which is the maximum time the average person can maintain a state of concentration. The truth is the Rosary can be a real chore. St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, was being more honest when she said,… READ MORE >


News > Faith

Libertarian Heresy

You don't often find Commonweal hunting heretics. In the latest issue, Daniel Finn takes aim at Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute and other Catholics who force fit Catholic social teaching into free market ideology. Sirico, he says, "uses his tendentious view of law and morality to conclude that raising taxes to help others is unchristian, since citizens have no choice but to pay the tax... One wonders if this conviction hasn’t been engendered by a libertarian view of government actions, where such redistribution is always immoral." Commonweal isn't alone in recognizing this distortion of Church teaching, which has always recognized the authority of government to balance private property rights with the "universal destination of goods." There is a silent majority of orthodox Catholics who resent Acton and other Catholic think tanks that are so well-funded by wealthy pro-big business donors that they're able to drown out genuine Catholic social teaching. Finn thinks its time that "neoconservative Catholics inquire into the influence of libertarianism on their work and, most importantly, that they make Catholic moral theology the standard for judging right-wing claims about morality in economic life-and not the other way around." READ MORE >


News > Faith

Benedict’s Discomforting Message

"Benedict directly challenged an assumption so many Americans make about religion: that it is a matter of private devotion with few public implications. Not true, said the pope. 'Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted,' he told the country’s Catholic bishops Wednesday. 'Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.' That is a demanding and unsettling standard for the right and the left alike... This is the thinking of a communitarian counseling against radical individualism... Perhaps it is the task of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church to bring discomfort to a people so thoroughly shaped by modernity, as we Americans are. If so, Benedict is succeeding." READ MORE >


Magazine > Faith

What’s Behind the New Interest in Confession?

What’s Behind the New Interest in Confession? Is the present increase in the popularity of the confession of sins a step toward a realistic religiosity, or is it the popularity of the penitential rite of the American Church of Christ without Christ? READ MORE >

(4) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    church | confession | forgiveness | jesus | sin

Magazine > Faith

Doubting Doubting Thomas

Doubting Doubting Thomas St. Thomas’s evangelizing journeys after the Pentecost, culminating in his brutal death, tell a quite different story from the role he has been cast in the Christian script. READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    apostle | india | martyr | thomas

News > Faith

The Puzzling Pope: Six Surprising Things About Benedict XVI

"The head of the CDF has to draw lines, level punishments and basically talk tough, a role that Ratzinger seemed to relish, but one that won him epithets like God's Rottweiller and the old standby, the Panzerkardinal. But now that Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict, he knows better than anyone that he is also the chief pastor of the church. There can be no 'Panzerpope.' His job is to be the good cop, a symbol of unity who tries to encourage people to live their faith more deeply. As he told a dinner companion about his new role: 'It was easy to know the doctrine. It’s much harder to help a billion people live it.'" READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    benedict xvi | pope

News > Faith

Pope Benedict XVI’s Address at the End of the Way of the Cross

"Dear friends: After having lived together the passion of Jesus, let us this night allow his sacrifice on the cross to question us. Let us permit him to challenge our human certainties. Let us open our hearts. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be afraid: upon dying, the Lord destroyed sin and saved sinners, that is, all of us. The Apostle Peter writes: 'He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness' (1 Peter 2:24). This is the truth of Good Friday: On the cross, the Redeemer has made us adoptive sons of God who he created in his image and likeness. Let us remain, then, in adoration before the cross." READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    love | passion | via crucis

News > Faith

Good Friday is the Feast Day for Those Who Suffer

"'Jesus died in utter agony but also with total acceptance of the will of his Father: 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,' he said. Such trust and belief is hard to understand, but it lies at the heart of what faith is about.' ... Suffering and doubt is part of what it is to be human, but Jesus rising from the dead shows us that [it] is not the end of the story." ... But today it is enough to be humble and to share that sense of pain and desolation, wherever we know it to be and which many of us experience from time to time and pray that the darkness and despair will turn to hope and to light." READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    good friday | suffering

News > Faith

Through His Eyes: Stations of the Cross

For centuries... many stations were crowded with Roman soldiers and jeering or appalled onlookers, perhaps set against someone’s impression of first-century Jerusalem. Eric Gill’s 1918 stations, carved in shallow relief for Westminster Cathedral in London, pointed in a new direction. The figures were few and without background; the compositions were simple and formal, not theatrical. Rather than dictating an emotional response, the stone panels left space for the devotee’s own thoughts... Don Meserve, a fervent admirer of Gill, works within this contemporary current...'What strikes one from the outset is the absence of the figure of Christ — the perplexing absence of the protagonist himself.'” READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    lent | passion | stations | via crucis

Magazine > Faith

Bart’s Problem

Bart’s Problem In his new book, God’s Problem, Bart Ehrman tries to prove that the God of the Bible doesn't answer the question of why we suffer, but his argument falls flat. In the end, what Ehrman and other “new atheists” forget is that a world without God is not a world without evil or innocent suffering. It’s simply a world of suffering without hope. READ MORE >

(8) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    bart ehrman | god | suffering | theodicy

News > Faith

Bearing the Silence of God: The image of Christ in the persecuted church

“…The greatest glory Jesus brought to God was not when he walked on the water or prayed for long hours, but when he cried in agony in the garden of Gethsemane and still continued to follow God's will, even though it meant isolation, darkness, and the silence of God. Thus, we know that when everything around us fails, when we are destroyed and abandoned, our tears, blood, and dead corpses are the greatest worship songs we have ever sung. The dead body is not the end of the story. The one who sacrificed his life is also the one who has been glorified: 'because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence' (2 Cor. 4:14).” READ MORE >


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