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Poet or syncretist? Catholic religious or Buddhist mystic? The true identity of Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton has been a matter of debate since his untimely death at age 53. Should Catholics read his books at all? Yes and no:True, some make excellent spiritual reading. Others should be read with caution.
We’ve read the stories and seen the pictures: Christian communities in Muslim-majority countries face discrimination, persecution, and increasingly, extinction. Part Two of our series on Christians in Islamic lands looks at the extreme challenges of life under Muslim rule today. But better prospects may be on the horizon, as Pope Benedict XVI’s continued call for dialogue with Muslims is beginning to find a response.
In 19th-century Uganda, over 40 young Christian converts—mostly teenage boys—were brutally put to death.Their crime? Their beliefs would not allow them to submit to the perverted desires of a hotheaded young king. As modern-day Africans endure disease, poverty, and genocide, the example of these young martyrs offers hope to a culture wearied by promiscuity and tribal violence. With additional reporting by Matthew E. Bunson.
The Church always has held that Scripture teaches “firmly, faithfully, and without error”—despite the assertions of some theologians at the Second Vatican Council (and even today) that it contains historical and scientific errors.
~ Maximus, martyr, saint, about A.D. 250, in answer to the demand of the civil authorities for sacrifice to the pagan gods; a test in common use as belief in a single Godhead was known to be definitive in the early Christian community; thus any Christian might be called on to seal with his blood his faith in the One God. (See: The Blessed Trinity)