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The sin of envy, rightly described as deadly, severs the ties that bind. It sows discord between kin, between social classes, between races. It undermines whole communities because it sees as evil a social order ordained by God. Dante Alighieri knew firsthand its ruinous effects on human society. In his vision of the afterlife, souls being purged of envy discover that kindness is the key to their salvation.
Are Baptists the real practitioners of first-century Christianity? The claim is that early Christians were members of independent, self-governing congregations who interpreted the Bible for themselves and who certainly didn’t take orders from any worldly, centralized authority. To the contrary, the New Testament shows us that Jesus’ kingdom (though not of this world) was hierarchical in nature, headed by his appointed stewards, the successors of St. Peter.
Who was Matteo Ricci? In China he is justly honored as a scholar, diplomat, and man of science, a Renaissance man who lived as a Chinese in every respect. But while he was all of those things, he was principally a man of God who "became Chinese to save the Chinese"—all for love of Christ. His example shows us how authentic dialogue is always rooted in truth.
What are the limits of a bishop’s teaching authority? Nowadays, the U.S. bishops’ conference seems to have something to say about almost every public policy, from immigration reform to environmental concerns. But determining specifically how Christian principles should inform legislation is the job of the laity.
"In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]."
~ Anglo-Saxon "Ecclesiastical Institutes" translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric about A.D. 1000; explaining the English term "shrovetide" (from "to shrive", or hear confessions) wherein the religious idea is uppermost; but before long, human nature allowed itself some exceptional licence.