“If you’re there, you have to help me.” Those are the words that poet Sally Read said to an icon of Jesus in 2010. Read, a British poet and atheist, had stopped into a church in Santa Marinella, Italy. She felt burdened.
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Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach has donated some personal items to Caritas Manila to contribute to the Catholic Church's program for the poor this Christmas. "We are all doing this out of pure love and good faith," said the 2015 international beauty queen after meeting Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila on Dec. 12.
“The Big Bang theory, which is proposed today as the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of a divine creator but depends on it. Evolution in nature does not conflict with the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings who evolve,” Pope Francis explained.
Kandhamal, the hilly tribal district in eastern India has witnessed several incidents of anti-Christian violence in the past two decades. In August 2008 marauding crowds of Hindu extremists murdered Christians, destroyed churches and convents, set fire to Christian homes and institutions and raped nuns, in what came to be known as the largest persecution of Christians in modern Indian history.
The phenomenon of an aging population tends to be analysed through an economic lens and the issue of care for the elderly is often used as a political football. But how often do we step back and think clearly about our hopes and expectations for old age?
Church leaders in the Philippines have urged Catholics "to exercise discipline in the use of technology" amid the Pokemon Go craze, which is seeing people play the game even in churches. Brother Manuel de Leon, president of Notre Dame College in Kidawapan, Mindanao, said that while technology is a "welcome development," young people should be taught about a "technology with a soul."
So how will Catholic spouses today face the challenges of their times? By conducting their lives in mutual fidelity, freedom, responsibility and respect for each other. There is no one successful formula, but there are as many options as there are creative opportunities.
A seminarian I know recently went to a party on a Friday evening at a local university campus. The group was a crowd of young, college students and when he was introduced as a seminarian, as someone who was trying to become a priest and who had taken a vow of celibacy, the mention of celibacy evoked some giggles in the room, some banter, and a number of jokes about how much he must be missing out on in life.
Catholic teaching might not change, but there are certainly some mighty lurches of style and register. The way papal encyclicals are written is sometimes as telling as the content. Pope Benedict’s encyclicals combined limpid beauty and elegance with the occasional longueurs of the academic monograph.
A Hong Kong pastor has reportedly been prosecuted on the mainland for printing Christian books and raising money in the latest sign of China's growing desire to exert control on religion and extend law enforcement into Hong Kong. The Rev. Ng Wah disappeared in July and was arrested on the Chinese mainland.
For nearly two years, I explored the minutia of the historical data on whether Easter was myth or reality. I didn’t merely accept the New Testament at face value; I was determined only to consider facts that were well-supported historically. As my investigation unfolded, my atheism began to buckle.
A Lenten pilgrimage through a modern metropolis brings the sacred together with the ordinary. The Stations of the Cross are given a modern twist in Manchester and London this Lent with a trail taking visitors to different city-centre venues to view art works that reflect grief, loss and transformation.
As the Church’s Year of Consecrated Life has just ended, it is worth reflecting on what has happened to religious life in general in Western countries over the past 50 years and whether it has a future. At first sight it is a rather grim picture. Many religious orders in the West are declining and ageing, but there’s actually plenty of good news as well. Those of us who entered religious life just after Vatican II will probably remember it in the words of Wordsworth after the French Revolution: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”.
London is having a Botticelli moment, with two sizeable exhibitions devoted to the great Renaissance painter opening within a fortnight of each other. This show, focusing on the Florentine master’s illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy, opens ahead of the V&A’s Botticelli Reimagined.
On Tuesday February 9 Cardinal Vincent Nichols will celebrate Vespers in King Henry VIII’s chapel. The Vespers, at Hampton Court Palace’s Chapel Royal, will be celebrated in the Latin Rite and the Anglican Bishop of London will deliver a sermon.
Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a historic step to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West, both churches announced Friday. Francis is due to travel to Mexico Feb. 12-18. He will stop in Cuba on the way and meet with Kirill on Feb. 12 at the Havana airport, where they will speak privately for about two hours and then sign a joint declaration, the Vatican said.
Ecumenism is not condemned to disappear from China. Indeed, we can find within the Chinese society and among Chinese Christians a certain number of mediations infusing a path of mutual respect, convergence and relative spiritual communion. Chinese Christians are all aware of sharing the same spiritual filiation and of their duty to better honor Jesus' prayer for his disciples: "they may be one so that the world may believe."
He wants to build on this foundation but his approach is not to debate the finer points of ecclesiology. He instead operates a sort of “personal ecumenism” of encounter and friendship: a strategy that seeks to go round the structures and walls of division. One example of this is his planned visit this October to Lund, in Sweden for a gathering of October Catholic and Lutheran leaders preparing to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformation in 2017.