He has lined up six clerics —one more than the previous record-holder Nixon
From Wal-Mart to the White House, the fight over how to greet our fellow man this time of year has become a public embarrassment. Like Target, Sears, Lands' End and many higher-end retailers, Wal-Mart settled on "Happy Holidays," the innocuous greeting that covers customers of all religious persuasions and those of none.
The massive and moving funeral of Pope John Paul II has provoked the first major controversy since the cardinals arrived in Rome to choose his successor. Citing the shouts and placards demanding "Santo subito" ("Saint soon"), Archbishop Edward Nowak declared to the Italian media last week that the emotional outpouring was a signal that "the people" recognized the late pope's holiness and wanted him declared a saint--immediately.
Serious Christians have always been ambivalent about how society celebrates Christmas. It's hard to get children to focus on the birth of Christ, and what that means, when the arrival of Santa Claus--and all that that portends in the way of hectic getting and spending--is imminent.
In the middle of the 20th century, the American Roman Catholic experience found classic literary expression in the lives and work of four gifted writers whom a mutual friend dubbed "the school of the Holy Ghost." Three--Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Walker Percy--were converts.
Last September Boston College invited me to address the current crisis in the Roman Catholic Church--my church. Four thousand people turned out, not because I was speaker, but because their anger and frustration over the sex-abuse scandal had found no other better outlet.
Although Jesus of Nazareth is a universally recognized figure, no one has ever found any evidence for his existence apart from texts. Now, in the form of a 20-inch-long limestone ossuary, a box used by first-century Jews to hold the bones of the dead, Biblical archeologists may have found their holy grail.
The most famous sermon in American history was a graphic evocation of the horrors of the damned in hell. As Jonathan Edwards expanded on his subject, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," so many moans and cries rose from his proper New England congregation that the learned theologian had to pause while his listeners recoiled in fear of their fate in the life to come.
I stare at the lengthening list of priests accused of pedophilia and notice something others might overlook: most of these men are my age. Like me, they grew up in another era, before the so-called sexual revolution, and shared a Roman Catholic boyhood that was in many ways ideal for pubescent youngsters--the age group they are accused of abusing.The parishes we knew back in the '40s and '50s were more than merely places for Sunday worship.
The terrorist attacks of September 11 brought out the best and the worst in American religion. Clergy of all collars worked at Ground Zero in New York City, ministering to exhausted firefighters and emergency workers, helping those in the grisly business of identifying body parts and praying at the site's temporary morgue.