Catholics on the Arabian Peninsula, Three Mistakes About Francis, and More

from John L. Allen, Jr.: From the “not what you might expect” files, here’s a fact about Catholicism in the early 21st century that flies in the face of conventional wisdom: It’s growing by leaps and bounds in the heart of the Muslim world.Many Americans have heard or read reports about an exodus of Christians out of the Middle East, and in terms of the indigenous Arab Christian population that’s all too real. Christians now make up only 5 percent of the region’s population, down from 20 per … [Read more...]

From John Cardinal Newman, “Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. 4″

from Sermon 20: Consider for an instant. Let every one who hears me ask himself the question, what stake has he in the truth of Christ's promise? How would he be a whit the worse off, supposing (which is impossible), but, supposing it to fail? We know what it is to have a stake in any venture of this world. We venture our property in plans which promise a return; in plans which we trust, which {301} we have faith in. What have we ventured for Christ? What have we given to Him on a belief of His … [Read more...]

In Defense of Wasting Your Life

Speaking of contradictory truths... I often tell this story when I talk: A couple of years ago I received a poignant email from a man who said, among other things, that he did accept the Church’s teaching and was trying to live up to it. But he still wondered: What happens if I change my mind? What happens if, years from now, I look back on my celibate life—will I regret it? Will it seem like an enormous waste?I think it depends. If one’s celibacy is purely rule-following, then yeah, once yo … [Read more...]

Lots of Really Great Stuff at Spiritual Friendship Now

including: Melinda Selmys on the Cross as gift. This post manages to take a discourse I usually find kind of impenetrable--the argument about whether and how "homosexuality" (STILL NOT A THEOLOGICAL CATEGORY) is a gift--and make it into something truly sublime. I still resist looking at "homosexuality" (is this a thing?) as a "cross" full-stop, but that's really not the point of her post, which you all should read.Jeremy Erickson has some powerful reflections on what he experienced as a … [Read more...]

From “The Orthodox Way”

Perhaps apatheia can best be translated "purity of heart." It signifies advancing from instability to stability, from duplicity to simplicity or singleness of heart, from the immaturity of fear and suspicion to the maturity of innocence and trust. … [Read more...]

From “The Orthodox Way”

Our aim in the life of prayer is not to gain feelings or "sensible" experiences of any particular kind, but simply and solely to conform our will to God's. "I seek not what is yours but you," says St Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:14); and we say the same to God. We seek not the gifts but the Giver. … [Read more...]

Your Profession of Faith Is Not the Catholic Church’s TOS

Walk with me through some possibly ill-formed and definitely ill-informed thoughts about what it means to profess one's faith. I had to do this when I was becoming Catholic--I think this took place during Confirmation? probably that's wrong--and there was a set formula which I always misremember but which was probably actually, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."What (on earth) did I mean? What should I have … [Read more...]


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