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May 1, 2013

Many years ago, when I was in the process of becoming Catholic, I read Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Catholic Answers president and founder, Karl Keating. It was in that book that I first came across a popular quote by Bishop Fulton Sheen that is often repeated today by Catholics discussing the phenomenon of anti-Catholic bigotry:

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April 25, 2013

Matthew Warren committed suicide at age 27 on April 5. He was the son of Rick Warren, pastor of the well-known megachurch Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. During this time of grief and devastation for the Warren family, Rick and his wife, Kay, a couple well-known and warmly loved throughout much of the world, have been graciously flooded with condolences and prayers of support. 

Sadly, though, as I follow the aftermath of this tragedy I cannot help but see in it a second...

April 5, 2013

If I were to compile a list titled "Common Catholic Misconceptions of the Catholic Faith," near the top would have to be this Catholic misconception about the nature of sanctity:

The saints are to be considered perfect in their earthly lives, to such an extent that all that they did while in this life is considered right, just, and necessary for Catholics to imitate in their own lives.

We see this misconception play out in the multitude of ecclesial...

April 2, 2013

The first time I tried to see the Shroud of Turin was in 1992, but I forgot my x-ray specs, so I caught only a glimpse of a stone box tucked in a badly lit chapel of that city's Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I fared better in 1998, when the Shroud was exhibited for the first time in two decades. As I stood in front of the yellowed cloth, stretched and lit in its bulletproof case above the altar, I had a strong and perhaps absurd urge, which at first I resisted. Then I gave in.

I...

March 14, 2013

In 2005, I was in a colleague's office when another colleague came running down the hall, breathlessly announcing, "There's white smoke!" I ran for a radio in my office, but an announcement came over the intercom. "We're gathering in the conference room!" Table and chairs were shoved aside, people stood or sat on the floor, all eyes were glued to a tiny TV set that had very poor reception. 

When "Josephum" was announced as the new pope's first name, I sucked in my breath. At the word...