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November 30, 2013

Few texts have been the occasion for the spilling of more ink than Matthew 16:17-19: 

And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,...

November 26, 2013

Now that we’re entering the last part of the year, the familiar sight of Salvation Army bell-ringers has returned.

The bell-ringers are volunteers or employees of the Salvation Army, and they stand in public places, such as in front of supermarkets, ringing bells and soliciting donations, which are placed in large red kettles (or buckets).

In other times of the year, people drop off donations—often of clothes, furniture, and other used items—at Salvation Army drop boxes or at...

November 25, 2013

Some people mistakenly believe that Catholics elevate the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the status of the Bible. Others believe the Catechism is meant to explain the supposedly unbiblical teachings of the Church. Both views hold that the Catechism is essentially unnecessary “extra stuff.” In their view, all one needs is the Bible itself to know and understand the word of God. How can we Catholics respond to this?

The Catechism is not...

November 25, 2013

Once upon a time, a long time ago by journalistic standards, a little girl wrote a letter to The Sun, a New York City newspaper. Little Virginia O'Hanlon, eight years old, had a very important question to ask:

Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in ...

November 22, 2013

A few days ago I received the following e-mail query: What is the identity of the naked man in Mark 14:51-52?

This is one of those biblical mysteries that have always fascinated me, and I am certainly not alone in this. Believers have been puzzling over the identity of this young man in the linen garment for centuries.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Mark’s account of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, in it the Evangelist describes a mysterious figure:...