2004

It has to be one of the strangest things in the world: So many Christians who love Jesus with all their hearts recoil in fear at the mention of His mother's name, while many who do love her find themselves tongue-tied when asked to explain why. Most of the issues people have with Mary are [...]

It has to be one of the strangest things in the world: So many Christians who love Jesus with all their hearts recoil in fear at the mention of His mother's name, while many who do love her find themselves tongue-tied when asked to explain why. Most of the issues people have with Mary are [...]

Natural family planning (NFP) needs a slogan, because as a "product"—if I might adopt business-speak—it's not selling too well. According to some surveys, about 90 percent of professed Catholics reject the Church's teaching on birth control. Even among priests, fewer than one in three considers artificial contraception to be "always" sinful. So let me propose [...]

It's no exaggeration to say that the sad task of the 20th century was to rid itself of the Christian sexual ethic. If we're to build a culture of life, the task of the 21st century must be to reclaim it. But the often repressive approach of previous generations of Christians (usually silence or, at [...]

On Pentecost, 1998, 300,000 members of the world's apostolic movements filled the colonnade of St. Peter's Square in Rome and spilled out down the Via della Conciliazione. There were Communion and Liberation members, whose philosophically exuberant approach to the Faith is like the jazz music they're famous for promoting at a yearly festival: eclectic riffs [...]

COMMUNION AND LIBERATION www.clonline.org Founded in 1954, Communion and Liberation (CL) has 100,000 members in 70 countries: “There is no membership card, only free participation of persons." Mission: The education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life. Apostolates: While its members [...]

During the early 1960s, my family and I spent three summers in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I—an Episcopalian priest—studied in the graduate program of St. Luke's School of Theology. There I met another seminarian with whom I shared a common interest: We were both admirers of Thomas Merton. At that time I'd read only Merton's spiritual [...]

The Church dodged a bullet on November 2. The last thing the Church needed was an openly dissenting Catholic in the White House. By now everyone knows that Catholics voted for George Bush at the historic level of 51 percent overall and 55 percent of regular Mass attendees. This shift in political support provides further [...]

The 108th Congress is done, and the 2004 presidential election is history. It's time to review what President George W. Bush and Congress accomplished with regard to the Catholic Church's most significant issues. While much remains to be done, this Congress and this president have made substantial progress on core social matters. Of the five [...]

It is entirely possible that we have now had a surfeit of American politics. As a Catholic, however freshly minted, one wonders if this is a good thing. One emerges from the experience (if one can emerge) feeling as if one had been cooped in a vat of molasses for too long—tarred, to all appearances, [...]

Election 2004 is done and the   pundits have picked it over well. But one fact can stand a little repetition: This election, more so than any in recent memory, has demonstrated the power of the Catholic vote. It had become fashionable in the months leading up to November—even among some Catholic conservatives—to deny that there [...]

Evelyn Waugh liked nothing better than to trumpet his contempt for all things modern. In The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, he placed this counter-credo in the mouth of the novel's title character, his fictional alter ego: His strongest tastes were negative. He abhorred plastics, Picasso, sunbathing and jazz—everything in fact that had happened in his [...]

It's Christmas season and I'm supposed to be thinking of others. What would they like for Christmas? Of course, this is very hard for a narcissist. I continue the childish habit of giving people close to me gifts that I want. That way I will eventually get those things back—with the added advantage of seeming [...]

In the final presidential debate, Senator John Kerry explained that he could not come to the defense of innocent human life because he is a Catholic. That would, he explained, be imposing his privately held beliefs. It apparently did not occur to him that babies obtain their inviolable right to life not because they are [...]

In the 1935 film The Crusades, there is a breathless moment when Loretta Young pleads with Henry Wilcoxon, playing Richard the Lion Heart, "You gotta save Christianity, Richard! You gotta!" Though not a high point in cinematic art, the line reminds me of how so many spoke to Mother Teresa, now Blessed. All who knew [...]

A colleague mentioned hearing "White Christmas" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in Japanese during Christmastide, seasonal music popular among those who generally do not believe in what Christmas represents. Similarly, during my European years, I was struck by the different cultural expressions surrounding Christmas among those who did historically hold it. My Australian [...]

Having taught English literature and the Greek classics for about 40 years, I have found myself from time to time mulling over some of the questions that seem to arch over the whole enterprise. One likes to let one's mind run along some of the thunderous questions of ultimacy that roll across the heavens under [...]

Granting all the wonderful, important things modern scriptural scholarship has given us, it bears within it something dreadfully wrong. If you have had the misfortune of coming into earshot of all too many of our contemporary scriptural scholars, they will assure you that scholarship, properly speaking, must strip both the Old and New Testaments of [...]

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, the culture war can look more like a culture siege—a one-sided contest pitting the attacking villains against a peace-loving Church. Or worse, sometimes it feels like the Church is hiding in a stained-glass bunker, dividing into factions and arguing about who is more orthodox while the attackers are [...]

A married friend of mine says that his palms start to sweat whenever his wife says, "Sweetheart, do you love me?"  The reason is simple. It usually means that very soon he'll be replacing the garage door or painting a bedroom. Relationships have consequences. In a loving marriage or a good friendship, the rewards always [...]

"I had a brick in my face and had twelve stitches, and I had a chair thrown at me. On one occasion, the council was suspended when a man had his hands round my throat and had to be pulled off by the police. As a [Member of Parliament], my weekly advice centers were regularly [...]

On a dead-end stretch of what was once U.S. 11 Route 22, in a small village with tacky-friendly billboards boasting "Genuine Dutch Cooking," where old folks and even some of the young still scold their children or go a-courting or order scrapple and beer in Low German—in a veritable little oxbow lake cut off from [...]

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