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February 23, 2013

If you are not prepared for this Sunday’s first reading (Gen 15:5-12, 17-18), you will probably have a difficult time making sense of it. Your homilist might not discuss it, so I hope this brief explanation will be helpful. It is not a lengthy reading, so we will go all the way through it, splitting it into two parts but hopefully not slaughtering it.

The reading begins straightforward enough:

The Lord God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count...

February 19, 2013

The world's media have a habit of seeing papal elections through the lens of secular politics. It's understandable to a degree, but how many reporters have noticed that so few of the much ballyhooed "front runners" or "papabile" candidates have ever actually been elected pope? Modern exceptions to this might be Giovanni Montini (Paul VI) and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). But the Vaticanologist maxim "He who enters the conclave with a white hat emerges with a red one" usually carries the...

February 13, 2013

Well, not "all," but something, since Lent begins today and confession is good for the soul.

Like Tim Staples, I love my job. It is a privilege to be trusted with the responsibility to find information for Catholics and non-Catholics on the Catholic Faith. Whenever I learn that I in some way helped someone to better understand what Catholics believe and why, I am grateful once again to be...

February 11, 2013

It sets me on edge to hear people refer to themselves as "devout" Catholics. Adjectives modify nouns, and some nouns are sturdy enough to stand on their own.

I understand the idea, of course, of identifying oneself as firmly believing and taking the Faith seriously. But it seems to me that devout injects a note of pious self-puffery. (And don't get me started about the term "staunch Catholic." Does one's reputation as a Catholic really benefit from the added connotation of...

February 7, 2013

A number of years ago, I read a blog by an anti-Catholic Protestant apologist. The Protestant had been raised a Catholic, but (according to him) "found Jesus," "got saved," and was spending his time writing anti-Catholic screeds to inform Catholics why they didn't have Jesus and would be going to hell. The blog was fairly entertaining, when read from the perspective of a recently minted Catholic "grunt" apologist seeking to earn her stripes by dissecting and analyzing anti-Catholic arguments...