Rediscovering Paul VI

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When the Vatican recently announced its new candidates for sainthood, there was a remarkable name on its list: Pope Paul VI. On December 20, 2012, Pope Benedict declared Paul a Christian of “heroic virtue,” granting him the title, “Venerable.” Paul VI is now one approved miracle away from beatification, and a second from formal canonization… . Continue Reading »

Therese and the Death Penalty

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He was among the most notorious criminals of his time, and certainly one of the most brutal. Henri Pranzini”tall, charming, and charismatic”was a life-long petty thief who took advantage of vulnerable women in nineteenth century France, a vice that eventually destroyed him. On the morning of March 17, 1887, the bodies of Marie Regnault, a prominent Parisian women, her servant, Annette Gremeret, and the servant’s daughter, Marie, were all found lifeless in an apartment… . Continue Reading »

Rupert Shortt and a Church Besieged

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As anxious as many Christians are about religious freedom in America, nothing we’ve experienced”and God willing, never will”comes close to the brutal persecution of Christians abroad. The stunning extent of this persecution is documented in Times Literary Supplement religion editor Rupert Shortt’s evenhanded and unsettling new book, Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack… . Continue Reading »

The Temptation of Secular Conservatism

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If there is one silver lining to President Obama’s re-election”an event that fills many with apprehension”it is that it’s provided a clarifying moment for American conservatism. For years, the conservative movement has been carried along by its “big tent” philosophy, which welcomes conservatives of various types. In the wake of Obama’s victory, however, these differences have been accentuated… . Continue Reading »

Democracy and the Gospel of Christ

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Tomorrow, Americans will be flocking to the polls to decide their President for the next four years. When the election concludes, there will be a great deal of discussion about the blessings of democracy, our grand political tradition, and the precious freedoms Americans have”all of which we should be thankful for. Hand in hand with those blessings come hazards, though they aren’t likely to be discussed much, since questioning any aspect of a democracy, while living in one, is itself considered undemocratic… . Continue Reading »

St. Kateri’s Long Journey Home

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When Pope Benedict canonized Kateri Tekakwitha yesterday”making her the first Native American saint”he not only elevated an extraordinary Catholic woman; he lifted the entire community of Native American believers. Ever since the “Lily of the Mohawks” died in the seventeenth century, her indigenous supporters have believed what the Catholic Church now officially proclaims: that she was a bold and prophetic saint… . Continue Reading »

The Flight from Hell

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During the Second Vatican Council, a little-known moment occurred when Msgr Alberto Gori, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, rose to raise a question. Why, he wanted to know, was so little being said about “the eternity of hell” and the possibility of “personal damnation”? Twenty-five years later, a prominent Cardinal voiced similar concern: “Belief in eternal life has hardly any role to play in preaching today.” … Continue Reading »