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...]

John Paul II and the death of ‘Christian’ America

It was just another day, another Washington, D.C., press conference and yet another appeal for the U.S. government to allow believers to follow the doctrines of their faith, as opposed to a Health and Human Services mandate."The United States, at its best, is unique among the nations of the world when it defends the self-evident freedom of all people to exercise their faith according to the dictates of their consciences," said the "Standing Together for Religious Freedom" text. It was signed … [Read more...]

From Texas Baptist to Orthodox saint?

Wherever bishops travel, churches plan lavish banquets and other solemn tributes to honor their hierarchs.Visitations by Archbishop Dmitri Royster of the Orthodox Church in America were different, since the faithful in the 14-state Diocese of the South knew that one memorable event would take care of itself. All they had to do was take their leader to a children's Sunday school class and let him answer questions.During a 1999 visit to Knoxville, Tenn., the lanky Texan folded down onto a … [Read more...]

Polish visions behind Vatican rites

To grasp the full symbolism of the Vatican rites in which a million or more Catholics celebrated the beatification of Pope John Paul II, it helps to understand the visions recorded decades earlier in the diary of Sister Mary Faustina Kowalksa.Popes come and popes go. But the lives of this Polish nun and this Polish pope may be helping to reshape a crucial piece of the Catholic year -- the celebrations that follow Easter, the high point of the Christian year.It was in 1937 that Sister … [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...]

Walking in St. Tikhon’s footsteps

It didn't take long for controversy to spread about the photograph taken after the consecration rites in 1900 for a new bishop in Wisconsin.Low-church Episcopalians called it the "Fond du Lac Circus" because of all the ornate vestments. Not only was Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, who presided, wearing a cope and mitre, but so were the other bishops. Then there were was the exotic visitor on the edge of the photograph -- Bishop Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church.Imagine the outrage if … [Read more...]

Voice for Orthodox unity — from Brooklyn

The rites were quiet, yet elaborate, and drew small clusters of dedicated worshippers out of their homes on a Saturday morning and into Byzantine sanctuaries across the nation.Somewhere in each church stood an icon of a dignified Arab wearing the rich liturgical vestments of an Eastern Orthodox bishop. The worshippers took turns kissing the icon and chanters gave thanks to God for the work of the new saint whose name still causes smiles -- St. Raphael of Brooklyn."It isn't every day that you … [Read more...]

Santa Claus vs. St. Nicholas?

We see the headlines every two or three years during the holidays.A pastor preaches on the true meaning of Christmas, warning about sins of selfishness and materialism. Then, in a moment of candor, disaster strikes.This time the dateline was Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Local newspapers, followed by national wire services, reported that Father Ruben Rocha of St. Pius X Catholic School did something shocking during a Mass for students in kindergarten through third grade. He told the children that … [Read more...]


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