Praying with (or to?) John Paul II

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was a soft-spoken nurse in the south of France when her life was changed by what the Vatican has decided was an answered prayer.She was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2001 and, with other nuns in France and Africa, immediately began prayed for healing. However, her symptoms worsened after the death of Pope John Paul II in April of 2005. That was when Simon-Pierre and her supporters began seeking the help of the pope, who suffered from the same disease in his … [Read more...]

A Catholic education flashback

The young pope was friendly, but blunt, as he faced the 240 college leaders from across the nation who gathered at Catholic University to hear his thoughts on faith and academic freedom."Every university or college is qualified by a specific mode of being," said Pope John Paul II, who was only 57 on that day in 1979. "Yours is the qualification of being Catholic, of affirming God, his revelation and the Catholic Church as the guardian and interpreter of that revelation. The term 'Catholic' will … [Read more...]

The popes and evolution, part II

It would be hard to name two more radically different men than the late Pope John Paul II and New York Times columnist Frank Rich.Nevertheless, the acerbic culture-beat scribe did his best to say something positive when biding the pope farewell. At least, said Rich, John Paul II had seen the light on the "core belief of how life began.""Though the president of the United States believes that the jury is still out on evolution," he wrote, "John Paul in 1996 officially declared that 'fresh … [Read more...]

The popes and evolution, part I

Editor's note: The first of two columns.Vatican watchers pay close attention to the sermons a pope preaches during the historic rites that immediately follow his election.Yet few flinched when Pope Benedict XVI made the following comment on the origin of human life during the Mass marking the inauguration of his pontificate."The purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men," he said, in St. Peter's Square. "And only where God is seen does life truly begin. ... We are not some casual and … [Read more...]


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