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...]

Heaven, hell and funerals

Anyone who has lived in a minister's house knows that middle-of-the-night telephone calls often bring bad news. But for many pastors there is one kind of call that is uniquely painful. There are times when the shock of death is easier to handle than questions about eternal life. "It happens like this," noted the Rev. J. Gerald Harris, who became editor of the Southern Baptist newspaper of Georgia after 40 years in ministry. "A grieving widow would call and say with a broken heart and … [Read more...]

Define ‘religion,’ please

Ask Southern Baptists to name their "religion" and most of them will simply say, "I'm a Baptist."Ask Roman Catholics the same question and most will say, "I'm Catholic." Odds are good that most Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and occupants of other name-brand pews will take the same approach.However, some of these believers may choose to define "religion" more broadly and say, "I'm a Christian." A researcher would certainly hear that response in scores of independent evangelical and … [Read more...]

The prayers of Hebrew Catholics

NEW YORK -- It's hard for Roy Schoeman to share his faith without mentioning Abraham, his son Isaac and a sacrificial altar on Mount Moriah.This story from Genesis is a cornerstone of the Jewish faith in which he was raised and educated, the son of Jews who escaped the Holocaust and came to America. But this familiar passage -- with its covenant between God and Abraham's children -- also is crucial to his testimony as a convert to Roman Catholicism.For Schoeman, these faiths cannot be pried … [Read more...]


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