Public Square

Was Jesus a Secularist?

Did Jesus legitimize the concept of a secular state? Many people, including well-intentioned Christians in today’s polite society, seem to think so. The “proof-text” they point to is Christ’s famous retort in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “render unto to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but render unto God that which is God’s.” Yet a closer examination, [...]

Islam in the Public Square

Secularists like to advise Christians that, for the sake of social harmony, they ought to keep their religion to themselves. Religion, they argue, is a private affair between an individual and his designated deity, and ought not to be dragged into the public square. Moreover, they helpfully add, it’s an imposition on others to confront [...]

Growing Opposition to Prayer in Public Life

In the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino on December 2, I noted a very disturbing reaction, which speaks of a growing cleft in American society. That chasm should be worrisome both to those who believe America is growing into two separate and irreconcilable societies, as well as for those who think American [...]

Ash Wednesday in the Public Square

  Rev. Richard John Neuhaus long wondered about the phenomenon of innumerable Catholics, pious and not, practicing and not, who throng to churches at all hours of Ash Wednesday to receive ashes on their foreheads on the first day of Lent. He was unable to pinpoint a reason why the annual ashes exceed both the [...]

A Debate Out of Season

Bishops often speak about the virtue of "collegiality"—their desire to act and speak in one voice. The recent history of the Church illustrates problems arising from the expectation that individual bishops should subjugate their public message in favor of the USCCB. John Cardinal O'Connor and Bernard Cardinal Law were among the first bishops to challenge [...]

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