HSI Features Season 5
Mary, the Model by Frederick W. Marks
St. Thérèse of Lisieux once wrote that suffering is "the very best gift" God can give us, adding that "He gives it only to His chosen friends." She actually prayed for it. But her saying is not an easy one, given our deep-seated instinct for self-preservation. We learn from childhood how to relieve every imaginable type of pain. Aspirin is a household word, and all of us know where to go when we have a toothache.
The Lost Tomb of Christ: The Discovery Channel's Shameless Assault on Faith by Phil Lawler
Every year now, as Easter approaches, the media lavish attention on some sensational new theory, advanced to undermine the claims of Christian faith. Sometimes these new theories come from writers with appropriate academic credentials. Not this year. "The Lost Tomb of Christ," a television special to be aired by the Discovery Channel on March 4, has not a wisp of credibility.
The Songbird and the Cell Phone: Rediscovering the Sacramental Sense
by Russell Shaw
In modern times, we see a pervasive loss of the sacramental sense and a concurrent hollowing-out of our understanding of what "sacrament" signifies, leaving behind only the shell of symbol. The difference between sacrament and symbol is crucially important.
Back to the Garden: Theology of the Body from Eden to Today
by Edward P Sri
While lay Catholics may initially respond with much enthusiasm to the ideas they’ve heard about the theology of the body, many of those who actually dare to read these addresses quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the depth of John Paul II’s philosophical, theological, and indeed mystical thought on this topic. In this short article, Edward Sri offers a brief overview.
Beware of False Prophets
by Aneel Aranha
Jesus warned that in the last days many false prophets would appear and deceive many people. Though Jesus also said that by performing great signs and miracles they would deceive even the elect—if that were possible, there are many things that give such men away. These are some of them.
Canon Law and Catholic Education
Canon law is not something that affects only bishops and seminarians. Rather, to the surprise of many lay Catholics, canon law touches upon most day-to-day aspects of the practice of the faith. A large part of the Church’s daily life concerns Catholic education. For this reason, the Code of Canon Law devotes one of its seven books to the Church’s teaching office.
by Pete Vere
The Joy of Priesthood
Thirty-six years ago, a 43-year-old professor of Catholic theology in Germany wrote: “It seems certain to me that very hard times await the Church. Her crisis has hardly begun.” Today the author of those words is Pope Benedict XVI. What form the hard times he predicted back in 1970 would take, then–Josef Ratzinger did not say. Today we know.
by Rev. John Jay Hughes
Truth and Apologetics
To the lay reader it may sound odd to speak of a theory of truth. Isn't truth obvious enough? Unfortunately, it is not. Truth—like fairness and reality and many of the other predicates we take for granted—is much more complicated than it first appears. There are very good reasons why the skeptical argument against truth has perennially raised its head since the days of ancient Greece.
by Paul A Wagner
The Gift: A Married Priest Looks at Celibacy
by Rev. Ray Ryland
“You're a married priest? I didn't know we had married priests. I think the Church should let all her priests marry.” Words like these have greeted me frequently since my ordination to the priesthood in 1983, with dispensation from the rule of celibacy. I always assure those who favor optional celibacy that both my wife and I strongly support the Church's discipline of priestly celibacy.
The Meaning of Marriage
by Benjamin D. Wiker
What does a word mean, if it can mean anything? Is there a difference between a word meaning anything, and one that means nothing at all? This isn't merely a semantic problem if that word is “marriage.” When I maintain that the definition of marriage has been all but lost, I intend both senses of “definition.” It no longer has definite meaning as a word or determinate form as a cultural reality.
The Martyr’s Cup
by Mike Aquilina
In A.D. 64, a great fire consumed much of the city of Rome. The fire raged out of control for seven days—and then it started again, mysteriously, a day later. Many in Rome knew that Nero had been eager to do some urban redevelopment. He had a plan that included an opulent golden palace for himself. The problem was that so many buildings were standing in his way—many of them teeming wooden tenements housing Rome’s poor and working class.
The King's Anguish: Mistranslating the Holy Scriptures by Anthony Esolen
Readers, examine your memories. "Greater love than this hath no man." "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." "My cup runneth over." I'll wager that your memories are like mine. When we think of a verse from the Bible, we recall the old language: King James, or Douay-Rheims, or an amalgam of several old-fashioned renderings. What we don't recall are the words from our lectionary or our modernized hymnals.
To Inspire Love: A Return to Modesty
Does it really matter what a woman chooses to wear? In our post-sexual-revolution world, skimpy dresses, mini-skirts, tiny bikinis, low-rise pants, and lowcut shirts have become part of the mainstream attire for women today. And anyone who might raise questions about the appropriateness of such dress is viewed as "rigid," "old fashioned," or "out of touch" with modern style. Modesty is no longer a part of our culture’s vocabulary.
by Edward P Sri
The Angelic Doctor - Thomas Aquinas by Fr. Brian Mullady
Much has been written about St. Thomas Aquinas and his thought and influence on the Church. Unfortunately, the focus of these writings is more often the result of scholars’ preconceptions than of the truth of the man himself. There is a story that he had a vision of Christ and was asked by Our Lord what reward he wanted for all he had done and written. Thomas answered, "Non nisi te, Domine." Only you, Lord.
The Beauty of Marital Love
by Regis Martin
Forty years ago it was widely regarded as morally wrong, and socially ruinous, for a man to walk out on his wife and children. In 1961, for example, Nelson Rockefeller, who was then governor of New York, decided to divorce his wife of more than 20 years for a younger woman. The result? Despite every prediction that Rockefeller would easily become the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 1964, the scandal of divorce wrecked his chances at the convention.
The Average Catholic's Guide to Becoming A Doctor of the Church
by Emily Stimpson
So, you want to be a Doctor of the Church? Good luck. Considering only 33 men and women in the entire 2000-year history of Christianity have obtained such lofty status, the odds are against you. Nonetheless, it is a worthy aspiration, and if those long odds don’t dissuade you, why should I? In fact, I’ll even give you a few helpful hints about how to stack the deck in your favor.
Misgivings About Mary
by Dr. James Hitchcock
Nowhere is the gulf dividing Catholics and Protestants wider than on the subject of Mary. Those conservative Protestants with whom Catholics increasingly find that they discover common ground, in defending Christian morality and the historic core of Christian revelation, are precisely the kind of Protestants who most quickly object to what they consider Catholic distortions in this regard.
Teresa and Thérèse -
Feminine Perpectives of the Path to Holiness
by Gina Giambrone
Whenever their parish priest spoke about St. Teresa, Louis Martin would gently nudge his youngest daughter, Thérèse. "He’s talking about your patroness." Thanks to her father’s influence, St. Thérèse of Lisieux grew up with a special affection for her namesake, St. Teresa of Avila. She looked to Teresa as her model throughout her life, once telling a priest, "Father, I want to love God as much as St. Teresa did."
Dirty Little Secret: Why Condoms Will Never Stop AIDS in Africa
by Sue Ellin Browder
Every ten seconds, a man, woman, or child in Africa dies from an AIDS-related disease. According to the USAIDS/World Health Organization (WHO), 40.3 million people now live with HIV infections, two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In Swaziland, 42.6 percent of pregnant women test positive for HIV. There’s no cure for this killer, and no end in sight.
Saints: Our Unseen Prayer Partners by Mark Shea
Some of my non-Catholic friends find prayer to the saints ooky. They ask me, "Since when is talking to a bunch of dead guys Christian?" Since biblical times! Consider Moses. He had been a dead guy for several centuries when Christ began his ministry, yet he was intensely interested in earthly doings judging by his behavior on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Christian Unity - Let's Make It Happen
by Aneel Aranha
There are many people who believe that the Church has become so severely fragmented over the years, uniting Christians is something that is no longer possible to achieve. Yet, if Christians, especially Christian leaders, are prepared to step out in courage and boldness and do what it takes to make it happen, we can see Christian unity, and in our lifetime, at that.
Contemplatives in the Midst of the World by Bishop Robert W. Finn
What is it that most of us are called to do to transform the world, particularly if they don’t take up a Church function? How can the baptized meaningfully live out the universal call to holiness in their everyday lives, in everyday work that has a secular character? Is this notion of holiness through "work" limited to a person’s job?
The Canons of Friendship by Alice von Hildebrand
Friendship is the remnant of paradise. Aristotle sees it as a virtue, and one’s behavior toward one’s friends tells us a great deal about a person’s character. That great friendships are rare is a sad fact that has been powerfully expressed in the words of Ovid: As long as you were happy, you counted many friends. As soon as the sky was covered, you found yourself alone.
God, Sex & Babies: What the Church Really Teaches about Responsible Parenthood by Christopher West
In my experience sharing Catholic teaching on marital love and sexuality around the world, one thing is certain: confusion reigns regarding Church teaching on responsible parenthood. Perhaps the main problem is failure to grasp the profound distinction between contraception and periodic abstinence or "natural family planning". While contraception is never compatible with an authentic vision of responsible parenthood, the Church teaches that NFP – given the proper disposition of the spouses – can be.
Benedict Contra Nietzsche: A Reflection on Deus Caritas Est by Benjamin D. Wiker
When Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical came out, the media were a bit confused. They, along with eager conservatives, were expecting the new pope to line up the ecclesiastical howitzers and mow down dissenters in crisp, staccato prose.
Instead, they got Deus Caritas Est, “God Is Love.” Had the pope gone soft? Even daft? Too old to fight? What gives?
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