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Shipwreck and Mission

The post-Vatican II Lectionary for Mass has many fine features, one of which is the continuous reading of the Acts of the Apostles during weekday Masses in the Easter season. As the Church celebrates the Resurrection for fifty days, the Church also ponders the first evangelization: the primitive Christian community, in the power of the Spirit, brings the surrounding Mediterranean world the history-shattering news that Jesus of Nazareth, having been Continue Reading »

A Line Crossed in the Middle East

Say goodbye to one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world. Last week, members of ISIS—the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” a Sunni Islamist group that recently has captured parts of Iraq and declared a new caliphate—began going through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and marking the homes of Christians with the Arabic letter “Nun.” “Nun” stands for “Nasara,” from “Nazarenes,” a word that refers to Christians. The implications were clear. Mosul’s Christians faced the same fate the Christians of Raqqa, Syria, had when ISIS captured their city last spring. “We offer them three choices,” ISIS announced: “Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.” Continue Reading »

What Women Bishops Mean For Christian Unity

On July 14, 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to permit women to be consecrated as bishops in their church. It followed a long, and sometimes bitter debate, and a vote in 2012 that barely fell short of the required two-thirds majority among lay representatives. Part of the decision—debated as to its enforceability—guarantees parochial opponents access to male priests and bishops. Continue Reading »

An Eminent Distortion of History

As the world marked the silver anniversary of the Polish elections of June 1989, which eventually brought to power the first non-communist Polish prime minister since the Second World War, a conference met at the Vatican to consider “The Church in the Moment of Change in 1980-1989 in East Central Europe.” Continue Reading »

Mind the Gap

Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon College, the Christian liberal arts college that I attend on Boston’s North Shore, co-signed a letter to President Obama, asking that he include a religious exemption in his imminent executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Gordon President Michael Lindsay wrote his name alongside thirteen others, including Michael Wear and Stephen Schneck, both involved in faith outreach for the 2012 Obama campaign. But within hours of the letter’s reproduction in the Atlantic, Gordon was hit by a wave of controversy. Continue Reading »

Religion in a Heart-Shaped Box

never have known the joy of owning a small, pink, heart-shaped music box. In point of fact, I never will. I suppose, with two daughters in the home, that the purchase of such a box might be in the fatherly offing, but it won’t be for my own sake. Continue Reading »

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