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Catholicism Unriddled

I first read Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Riddle of Roman Catholicism: Its History, Its Beliefs, Its Future (1959) while doing my pastoral residency in Detroit, 1978–79. I just finished it for the second time. It is still a book with value. Pelikan says one thing in particular that struck me: Any . . . . Continue Reading »

The Weakness of Laudato Si

Please enjoy this excerpt from “The Public Square” of the forthcoming August/September issue of First Things. To read more, subscribe here.Laudato Si addresses global warming and other environmental issues, as well as global development and economic justice. The conjunction of concerns is . . . . Continue Reading »

The Hero of Hungary

Today, we mark the fortieth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, a courageous Hungarian prelate who fought against communist tyranny despite great suffering, yet at the end was betrayed by Rome. As today’s Church faces threats around the world from secularists, Islamic fundamentalists and others, it is worth recalling his story to see the dangers of being excessively polite with evil ideologies.The Hungarians are an ancient, patriotic people united under one state and Christianized during the reign of King St. Stephen I (997-1038). In the subsequent millennium, Hungary had at times been a regional power (before the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, Hungary was three times its present size), and at others was subjugated and invaded by Mongols, Turks, Habsburgs, Nazis, Soviets. Continue Reading »

Questions for the Atlanta Archdiocese

The latest issue of the Georgia Bulletin, newspaper of the Atlanta Archdiocese, announces a new pastoral plan aimed at expanding and unifying the congregation. The plan is the result of a survey that drew nearly 15,000 responses, followed by delegate sessions in ten deaneries and a Convocation of Priests. Initially, four hundred recommendations came in, which have now been refined to fourteen key issues. Continue Reading »

Licensing the Kingdom

St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality on the Lower East Side of Manhattan was one of the original communities f­ounded during the Depression by Dorothy Day and Peter ­Maurin. When I lived there a few years ago I observed up-close the often tense, sometimes funny interactions between the Catholic . . . . Continue Reading »

World Christianity by the Numbers

The annual “Status of Global Christianity” survey published by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research is a cornucopia of numbers: Some are encouraging; others are discouraging; many of them are important for grasping the nature of this particular moment in Christian history. Continue Reading »

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