HSI Features Season 3
More Catholics must take studying the Bible more seriously than they do. The infinite transforming power of the Eucharist requires hearts and minds that are formed by the Word of God, which is why in the Mass the table of Scripture must always precede the table of the Lord’s Body.
Understanding the Scriptures
by Peter Brown
The Relevance and Challenge of C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity sat innocently on the bookrack at a neighborhood bookstore, right next to end times prognosticator Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. The author of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis, was unknown to me. I confused him with Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame. What could a weaver of children’s tales teach me about Christ?
by Mark Brumley
It's still a jolt for some people to realize this, but the Bible did not fall down out of the sky, leather-bound and gold-monogrammed with the words of Christ in red, in 95 AD. Rather the canon of Christian Scripture slowly developed over a period of about 1500 years.
How Tradition Gave Us the Bible
by Mark Shea
The Winds of Change
I believe we are coming into a very exciting, but trying time for the church. The winds of change are blowing, and I believe the church must listen and trust in the Spirit, and have the courage to be led by Him. I imagine that many a bishop went to Vatican II very happy that all was well with the church but, as events showed, the Lord didn't think so.
by Fr. Jack McArdle
None So Blind: How Secularists Ignore the Value of Religion
It’s the same argument we’ve heard so many times before, except now with increasing frequency and intensity: The world’s troubles are caused by religion. If only people would at last abandon these silly superstitions and get with the times.
by Thomas E. Woods Jr.
In Defense of Feelings
Anyone acquainted with the history of philosophy knows that many of the great thinkers have looked down upon feelings. Fleeting, unreliable, misleading, they’re fraught with danger and must be kept carefully in check. Moreover, feelings are shared with animals. What characterizes man as man is his reason and will.
by Alice von Hildebrand
What in the World is Faith Anyway? Defining the word "Faith" seems to be one of the most
baffling things in the world for most of us. Every day you'll hear people
say stuff like "You just gotta have faith..." and then not finish the
sentence. They will assure us in a time of crisis "Just believe. Your
faith will make you strong." But when we ask the $64,000 question, "Just
believe what?" many are not exactly snappy in their response. Read
The Work of Human Hands: When Catholicism Becomes a Hobby
by Anthony Esolen
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us always that the Church is something we receive as a gift. It is not a human work but God's work, and only insofar as we unite ourselves to it can it be said, through God's grace, to be our work, too. Only then can we claim that our work in the Church does indeed have merit, not because it is ours, but because it is the work of Christ alive within us.
What is Sacred Tradition?
Something wonderful is happening. Many of our Evangelical brothers are beginning to appreciate the ancient Catholic teaching that Sacred Scripture is the written portion, not the totality, of Sacred Tradition given to us by the apostles with the authority of Christ himself. Increasingly, they are beginning to grasp the idea that, though Scripture is sufficient, there is a distinction between material and formal sufficiency.
by Mark Shea
The Body’s Forgotten Ally: A Brief Defense of Corporal Mortification
by Fr. Michael Giesler
It’s an interesting question. Did Leonardo wear a cilice or use a discipline? Though not mentioned in Dan Brown’s fantasy novel, The Da Vinci Code—with its bizarre and misleading description of corporal mortification—and granting Leonardo a certain religious fervor, it’s possible.
Fourteen Easy Ways to Improve the Liturgy
Boredom during the liturgy is something all Catholics have felt from time to time, and it’s never justifiable. No matter how mundane the architecture, how dull the homily, or how bad the music, what’s taking place on the altar is a miraculous sacrifice that gives us the grace for salvation. That reality should be enough to keep our attention.
by Arlene Oost-Zinner and Jeffrey Tucker
Your Complete Guide to Setting up a Youth Ministry
Have you ever wanted to set up a Youth Ministry in your parish or community, but didn't quite know how to get started? Holy Spirit Interactive presents a 52-week course by Anand Menon that will take you through all the steps you need to build a vigorous, purpose-driven youth ministry in a year.
Indulgences: The World's Most Misunderstood Spiritual Gifts by Mark Shea
Most Catholics live and die blissfully unaware that the Church even offers indulgences anymore. (A Catholic friend to whom I mentioned I was writing this article said, "They went out with Vatican II, didn't they?") Practically no Catholic gives much thought to them. They languish in the Church's attic of doctrinal knick-knacks. So why bother with them?
Heaven by Angus Sibley
Heaven is an unfashionable topic, even in church. In half a century of regular worship, I have hardly ever heard a preacher celebrate the joys of the hereafter. The old hymns that ecstatically envisage those joys, such as Bernard of Cluny’s “Jerusalem the Golden,” are seldom sung today. Even Christians, it seems, now give rather little attention to the world to come. One can only assume that the non-religious world gives even less.
The Other Catholics by Kevin R. Yurkus
As millions watched the funeral for Pope John Paul II, many were confused by the concluding Panakhyda celebrated not in Latin, but in Greek and Arabic by hierarchs in black hoods, turbans, crowns, and unusual vestments. Was this not the responsibility of the cardinals? And were those clerics even Catholic? The answer may surprise you.
The Meaning-Full Universe
In a now-famous passage from his justly acclaimed The First Three Minutes, physicist Steven Weinberg provides a rather dismal assessment of the human drama: It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning…
by Benjamin D. Wiker
No Prophet In His Own Land: Reflections on Benedict XVI by Alice von Hildebrand
The election of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter has elicited a response of joy from all the faithful who love Christ and His Church. A man of outstanding talents, he has proved to be an unwavering servant of the Lord and has accepted the burden of the papacy with humility and courage, putting all his trust in God. Not surprising—though still sad—is the response given by many of his compatriots.
Who Do You Say I Am?
Every Christmas and Easter without fail, Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report (not to mention a PBS special and a Mysteries of the Bible episode or two) will go looking for Jesus again. For secularist reporters, he has an amazing way of turning up missing. And, of course, it never occurs to our intrepid reporters to go to the Church to see if he's there.
by Mark Shea
Outcome Based Spirituality
What difference does Jesus Christ make in your life? This is the make-or-break question we all have to ask ourselves. If faith in Jesus Christ were a crime, would there be enough evidence in our lives to convict us?
There are many ways to explain how our Christian faith must inform each and every aspect of our lives. Scott Hahn suggests that our faith must even affect the way we brush our teeth!
by Leon Suprenant
Toying With Evil: May a Catholic Advocate Torture?
"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils,” said G. K. Chesterton; “they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” Different political ideologies tend to have different ways of finessing and nuancing what, in Catholic thinking, is more bluntly called “mortal sin.”
by Mark Shea
The Facts of Life & Marriage
In 1968, Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae, an encyclical affirming the Christian tradition’s ancient and constant moral teaching that contraception is wrong. Sadly, Humanae Vitae came as a shock to many Christians inside and outside the Catholic Church, who thought that the church was ready to accommodate herself to the modern view of marriage as primarily a relational, not procreative, institution.
by W. Bradford Wilcox
The Blind-Obedience Myth
In an otherwise reasonably fair-minded front-pager in the Sunday New York Times, Richard Bernstein and Daniel Wakin write that as a young professor in 1968 Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, began to insist on "unquestioned obedience" to the authority of Rome. That phrase is a residue of unexamined anti-Catholic bigotry. It is an insult. Its aim can only be to make the new pope look stupidly dogmatic.
by Michael Novak
What It Means to Be "Catholic"
The term Christian has become so diluted that the phrase, "I am a Christian" has very little precise meaning. This lack of definiteness has largely occurred because of the fragmentation of Protestant Christianity. So many groups exist, all of whom claim the title "Christian," that it's nearly impossible for an outsider to figure out who is really Christian and who isn't!
by Jonathan Bennett
Spiritual Warfare Made Easy
The world, the flesh and the devil are the three fronts where intense spiritual warfare is constantly taking place. Jesus called the Devil a Murderer and a Deceiver, whose obsession is always to rob us of life. Hence, for Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare always includes the struggle for personal sanctity, together with the struggle to witness daily to the new life in the Spirit gifted to us by Jesus.
by Fr. Fio Mascarenhas
Regeneration is the recreating and transformation of a person by the Holy Spirit. Through this process eternal life from God himself is imparted to the believer's heart, and he becomes a new person, a true child of God. The process of regeneration is a gradual process, and in many ways like a traditional educational system, where your teacher and guide is the Holy Spirit himself.
The School of the Holy Spirit
by Aneel Aranha
No Apology Necessary: Vatican II and the “New Apologetics”
Nowhere in the 16 documents of Vatican II do the words “apologetics,” “apologist,” or “apology” appear. There are reasons for this. One is that Vatican II was summoned 10 or 15 years after the apparent demise of Catholic apologetics. The heyday of the modern apologetics movement had been in the 1930s and 1940s.
by Karl Keating
The New Language by Christopher West
A Crash Course in the Theology of the Body
As many people are only now discovering, the late Pope John Paul II devoted the first major teaching project of his pontificate to developing a theology he called a “theology of the body.” This collection of 129 short talks has already begun a sexual counterrevolution that is changing lives around the world. The fire is spreading, and in time we can expect global repercussions.
The Slippery Slope of Biotechnology
The idea of cloning makes people uncomfortable. Until quite recently, that is. Most people had been ready to declare: “Cloning to make copies of people is wrong—that’s where I draw the line.” Usually they weren’t aware that cloning can be done for other reasons besides making a live-born baby.
by Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk
Back to the Beginning: A Brief Introduction to the Ancient Catholic Church
No institution in history is remotely comparable to the Catholic Church. It is a subject that well repays study. And yet most Catholics know very little about their own history. This is unfortunate for many reasons, but especially today, when a dinner party conversation can suddenly turn to some specious best-seller that presumes to rewrite Church history. Read more
by George Sim Johnston
Theology teaches us that the word 'spirit' refers to two different types of motivating powers. The spirit of an individual refers to the internal inclination to good or evil, and it manifests itself with such regularity that it must be considered a personal trait. But it is also possible for an individual to come under the influence of a spirit that is extrinsic to the personality - whether from God or the devil.
The Art of Discernment
by Fr. Fio Mascarenhas
Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005
Pope John Paul II died Saturday night, aged 84. Thousands of people have been flowing into St. Peter's Square to mourn and pray for one of the most loved popes of all time. John Paul II, who was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church in October 1978. April 2, 2005, marked the 9,664th day of his pontificate.
"Jesus came to give us moral guidance, and to prove he meant business, he let himself be killed and seen after death, so we would listen and be good." Not being raised in any particular religion myself, it wasn’t until later that I discovered that this view of Jesus’ death and resurrection had more in common with The Day the Earth Stood Still than it did with the historic faith of Christianity.
The Evidence for the Resurrection
by Mark Shea
Reconciliation: An Unclaimed Treasure
"What? Me worry?" Remember the picture of Alfred E. Neumann with this caption on the cover of Mad Magazine? That was supposed to be a rhetorical question. Now substitute a picture of the average Catholic with the caption, "What? Me sin?" That, too, would seem to be a rhetorical question. Read more
by Fr. Ray Ryland
Many Catholics who have gone to Mass all their lives still do not understand it. Part of the problem is that by the time people are old enough to appreciate and understand the sacred words and actions, it has become mere repetition. People complain about seeing the same priest at the same altar saying the same old prayers. It is a lack of understanding that induces boredom. So what do we do? How are we to find meaning in the Mass? Read more
Reflections on the Mass
by Fr. Barry O'Sullivan
The Eastern Rite Church
Many Latin Rite Catholics are ignorant about the Eastern Rite Church. What are the differences between the rites? Can Latin Rite Catholics fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending an Eastern Rite Mass? Can Latin Rite Catholics receive Holy Communion in an Eastern Rite Catholic Mass? Is the Eastern Rite Catholic Church the same as the Orthodox church? Fr. Saunders provides some answers.
by Fr William Saunders
Killing Terri Schiavo
On Friday, February 25, a Florida judge extended a court order keeping Terri Schiavo's feeding tube in place for three more weeks. Judge George Greer made his decision after pleadings from the woman's parents that they need more time to pursue additional medical tests which might prove their daughter has more mental capabilities than previously thought. Her husband—and others—want her dead. Read the story here
by Fr Robert Johansen
Some time ago, my kids got a computer game called Myst. It's a very curious game—there are no instructions, no rules, and no commentary offered at the beginning. You find yourself plunked down into a strange environment on a mysterious island. You don't know where you are or why you're there. As you look around, you discover various things that were put there before you by some unseen intelligence. There are rocks, trees, and many other things, and each is invested with a mysterious, disjointed, and elusive significance. Read more
Mere Theism: The Case for God
by Mark Shea
The core teaching of the Second Vatican Council is the radical call of all to holiness. However, we also know that God calls a chosen few, that should be many, to follow him even more closely in a life of apostolic celibacy for the kingdom of God, whether it be as a priest, religious, or layperson. The founder of Opus Dei once remarked that those called by God owe ninety percent of their vocation to their parents. The family is the seedbed of vocations.
The Family: Seedbed of Vocations
by Fr John McCloskey
Lent offers us a special chance to grow in our relationship with God. By observing Lent, we have an opportunity to take stock of our lives, to pray more deeply, to experience sorrow for what we've done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need. Holy Spirit Interactive presents Lent 2005 - a variety of resources to help make this wonderful season of soul searching and repentance a memorable and meaningful one.
How to Pray
The highest aspiration of man is to pray; to converse with our God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. To know that He is listening always and that He also responds in this life prepares us for the eternal life of prayer that is the possession of God in heaven. Learning to pray, to grow in the interior life (the spiritual life within our soul), is more important than food or sleep, and certainly more important than worldly pleasures and ambitions. This is not a question of "either/or."
by Fr John McCloskey
Blaming God First
What are we to say about a human condition in which "Nature red in tooth and claw" rears up on its massive hindquarters, and hurls a 30-foot wall of water against the lowlands of eleven of the poorest and most populous nations on earth, including some playgrounds of the rich of Europe and America, and crushes, chokes, and twists away the lives of going past 150,000 human beings?
by Michael Novak
Few doctrines of the Catholic faith are more misunderstood than Purgatory, and yet few make more sense—or are more biblical—when rightly understood. Some people think the Church teaches it is a second chance, where deceased souls headed for hell get a shot at working their way to heaven. Still others have the notion that Catholics think Purgatory necessary in order for souls to supplement Christ's grace with our own niceness and good deeds.
Purgatory? Where's That
in the Bible?
by Mark Shea
Groundswell: The Pope, the New Movements, and the Church
On Pentecost, 1998, 300,000 members of the world’s apostolic movements filled the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Many Catholics who had never encountered the movements were shocked by the giant, jubilant crowd of young Catholics waving flags and cheering for Pope John Paul II, and unsure of what to make of them. This pope, however, understood, for he was one of them.
by Tom Hoopes
Called to be Holy
Among the many achievements of Vatican II was the council’s teaching on the universal call to holiness. The teaching is found primarily in chapter five of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. We could summarize the chapter in this way: Because the Church is holy by reason of her establishment by Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, so every member of the Church is endowed with that same holiness
which belongs to the Church. Read more.
by Bishop Michael Sheridan
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