Cardinal prays with Democrats, too

As the Republican show closed in Tampa, Cardinal Timothy Dolan faced a flock of Tea Party activists, religious conservatives and country-club loyalists and gently addressed the sanctity of life. "We ask your benediction upon those yet to be born, and on those who are about to see you at the end of this life," said the shepherd of New York, who also leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A week later, Dolan offered the final benediction for a Democratic National Convention in which 25 … [Read more...]

Cardinal praying in a GOP spotlight

Political conventions have always included prayers and, through the decades, legions of preachers, rabbis, bishops and others have stepped to the podium to deliver them -- whether the delegates were paying attention or not. Then Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles faced the Democratic National Convention in 2000. First, he reminded the delegates they were in the presence of God and that true prayers must focus on "moral values, not partisan politics." In his litany, Mahony said: "In You, O … [Read more...]

Concerning the prayers of Tim Tebow

Moments after the New England Patriots smashed his Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow stood before a wall of reporters and said exactly what anyone who has been paying attention already knew he was going to say. The Patriots, he stressed, "came out and they played well and they executed well and you've got to give them a lot of credit." Then Tebow interrupted himself to deal with a higher matter: "But before I talk about that, I just want, you know, to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thank … [Read more...]

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...]

Patricia Neal and her angels

After her destructive affairs with married men, after the death of her first child, after an accident left her infant son brain-damaged, after the near-fatal strokes that struck months after her 1964 Oscar win for "Hud," actress Patricia Neal faced yet another personal crisis that left her on the verge of collapse. While her marriage to British writer Roald Dahl, the author of children's classics such as "James and Giant Peach," had long been troubled, Neal was shattered when she learned he was … [Read more...]

Hail Marys for Hitch

One of the last things Thomas Peters does each day is face the Cross of St. Benedict that hangs over his bed and say his evening prayers. The sobering final phrases of the Hail Mary prayer have recently taken on a unique relevancy: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." A month ago, the conservative Catholic writer challenged readers of the American Papist website to join him in praying one Hail Mary a day on behalf of the iconoclastic atheist … [Read more...]

Fasting, for evangelical Protestants?

Elmer Towns had a big problem three decades ago after he moved to Lynchburg, Va., to help a Baptist preacher named Jerry Falwell start the school that grew into Liberty University. Month after month, Towns faced two house payments -- a real family crisis. Thus, the veteran Bible professor decided to try something that he considered a radical, "Old Testament thing." In addition to praying that someone would buy the house back in Chicago, Towns and his wife Ruth began fasting on the day that … [Read more...]

Breakfast prayer wars

The way President Barack Obama sees things, Americans should be able to find unity in prayer -- even if they disagree on the details of faith and politics. That's true in the current debates about health care, poverty and even gay marriage, he said, at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. "Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary," said Obama. "But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are … [Read more...]


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