The man from Buenos Aires vs. dead Catholic museums

BUENOS AIRES -- It's hard to wrestle with the crucial moral and cultural issues in modern Argentina without getting Catholic and Protestant leaders into the same room.During one tense gathering, some Catholic speakers kept referring to decades of rapid growth by "evangelical cults" in Latin America. The assumption seemed to be that evangelical Protestants were all the same, with no real differences between, for example, the freewheeling "prosperity Gospel" preachers and ordinary Protestant … [Read more...]

Pope Benedict XVI exits, on his own terms

In the spring of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI stopped in Aquila, Italy, to pray at the shrine of St. Celestine V.The pope left his pallium -- a wool garment that resembles a yoke, symbolizing bonds between a shepherd and his flock — on this medieval pope’s tomb, noted theologian Scott Hahn of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Then, 15 months later, he visited a cathedral outside Rome to pray before the relics, once again, of St. Celestine V.Few noticed Benedict’s actions at the time, wro … [Read more...]

Angels, demons & good Catholics

Near the end of Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons," the beautiful scientist Vittoria Vetra clashes with a Vatican official who insists that the day researchers prove how God acted in creation is "the day people stop needing faith.""You mean the day they stop needing the church," she shouts, weaving together the novel's main themes. "But the church is not the only enlightened soul on the planet! We all seek God in different ways. ..."God is not some omnipotent authority looking down from … [Read more...]

Catholic South shall rise

Catholics in the urban Northeast are getting used to the headlines.Parishioners in East Harlem have decided to conduct a vigil in a beloved old sanctuary because church leaders plan to lock the doors -- forever. The Archdiocese of New York recently said it would close or merge 21 churches in order to gather more people in fewer pews to be served by a declining number of priests.A parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Angels told the New York Times: "People have been baptized here and married here, … [Read more...]

Into the Anglican wilds

All it took the other day was hearing pop star Olivia Newton-John'srecording of the "Ave Maria" for Father Paul Zahl to feel that old,familiar tug at his heartstrings.Then came the voices in his head asking those nagging questions that manyweary Episcopalians have pondered in recent decades: "Why keep fighting?Why not join the Roman Catholic Church?"Every now and then, Zahl feels another urge to "swim the Tiber." This issomewhat problematic because he is dean of the Trinity School forMinistry in … [Read more...]