Pain, hope and schisms in the long Anglican wars

Anglicans seem to be hopeful about their flocks in the United States, even if the warring factions in their Communion keep moving further and further apart. That was a common theme in two upbeat recent sermons preached by leaders in the progressive and orthodox Anglican bodies now competing in the marketplace of American religion. In the first sermon, Father Cameron Partridge became the first openly transgender priest to preach at Washington National Cathedral. The June 22 liturgy was part … [Read more...]

Sobering words define a young priest’s life

As sermons go, it was not the kind of pulpit performance that -- when it was given -- created a buzz in the pews. The young Catholic priest's voice was flat and subdued, his face calm but not expressive. After all, he was only a year or so into his priesthood and preaching was still rather new to him. On this day he was working with a sobering text from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus looks over the city of Jerusalem and weeps, knowing that death and destruction looms in the future. So … [Read more...]

A wry case for using beer in evangelism

While he knows that millions of teetotalling Christians disagree, Father William Miller believes he can make a theological case for the moderate consumption of beer through a simple use of evangelistic math. "Beer is the universal beverage. If you want to sit down and have a friendly, personal conversation with about 90 percent of the people in this world then that is probably going to take place over a beer, that is if you want them to open up and level with you," said Miller, who is -- … [Read more...]

British rabbi stands to defend America’s first freedom

When Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks arrived in America recently representatives of the United States government did not greet him with a demand that Great Britain's former chief rabbi remove his yarmulke while in public. That's a good thing. But there are places -- France leaps to mind -- where this would not be the case. In fact, religious liberty is under siege in many corners of Europe, said Sacks, a member of the House of Lords. "In Britain we have seen a worker banned from wearing a small … [Read more...]

The quest for safe, generic, ‘ceremonial’ prayers

As the members of the Town of Greece Board prepared for business, a local Catholic priest rose to offer a short prayer. "Heavenly Father, you guide and govern everything with order and love," said Father John Forni, of St. John the Evangelist parish. "Look upon this assembly of our town leaders. ... May they always act in accordance with your will, and may their decision be for the well being of all. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. … [Read more...]

Dueling saints from the Second Vatican Council?

History will show St. John XXIII was a pastor with an "exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit," while St. John Paul II will be known "as the pope of the family." That was as close as Pope Francis came to providing the sound bite all the so-called Vatican experts were waiting to hear during the historic St. Peter's Square rites in which he -- with the retired Pope Benedict XVI looking on -- elevated to sainthood two popes who did so much to shape modern Catholicism. The media mantra called … [Read more...]

Year 26: Frustrated Catholics playing ‘Name that pope’

Soon after Pope Francis skyrocketed into media superstardom, some frustrated Catholics started playing an online game that could be called "Name that pope." Most of them were not upset with what their charismatic shepherd from Argentina was actually saying and doing. Instead, they were frustrated with the media storm portraying him as radically different -- in substance -- from his predecessors. Frankly, this is one of the strangest stories I have seen during the many years -- 26 as of … [Read more...]

An honest Easter with doubters and the ‘nones’

It's the first thing people do after meeting strangers in coffee shops and clubs favored by the young professionals now flocking into Austin, Portland and America's other trendy postmodern cities. Job one is to define themselves in terms of what they do and what they believe. "I am an accountant," one will say. "I am a vegetarian," or "I am gay," or "I am a techie," others will reply. Hipsters don't need to say, "I am a hipster," because everyone can see the obvious. "Usually, our identity … [Read more...]


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