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What ESPN’s Lance Armstrong documentary taught me about Confession…

Individual sin, however private it may have seem, always has an effect on others. During this time of quarantine, one of the biggest examples of how much things have changed has been the disappearance of professional sports. However, ESPN has been broadcasting a series of spectacular documentaries on Sunday evenings. I’m not an absolute sports nut, but something about the combination of professional athletes, especially ones at the absolute top of their game, combined with documentary style films, was just irresistible. I’ve sat down nearly every Sunday evening to watch them, including the four-hour Lance Armstrong documentary. One of the reasons these documentaries are so compelling and draw so much interest is precisely because they reveal to us something that often goes unnoticed in our...

It’s not good to pay so much attention to news and social media. Instead, try thinking about trees more often…..

“Trees were the temples of the gods, and, following old established ritual, country places even now dedicate an outstandingly tall tree to a god.”Pliny the Elder, Natural History What we find in the news and social media tends to frame much of what we think about throughout the day. This calls for a consideration of our daily thought patterns. We rational animals are always thinking about something or other. But just what we think about—and in what mode and unto what end—can vary dramatically. As individuals and even as a society we might become very narrow in our focus. We might become fixated on certain things and then spend much time thinking—and perhaps worrying—about these, to the exclusion of other things. There are of course practical things that require our attention, research, and...

Turkish high court puts Hagia Sophia’s future in Erdogan’s hands…

Catholic World News July 03, 2020 » Continue to this story on Fides CWN Editor’s Note: Dedicated in 537, Hagia Sophia has been the cathedral of the Patriarch of Constantinople (until 1453), a mosque (until 1931), and a museum (since 1935). The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage. For all current news, visit our News home page. Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in. All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off! There are no comments yet for this item.

The angels have our backs…

“For he will give his angels charge of youto guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:11). Angels are real — a vast variety of spirits who are more active in our lives than we might know. We should be mindful of them, particularly our guardian angels, and have a personal relationship with them. We should pray to them, speak to them whenever we think of them – and they will seek our attention if we but pay attention — whether or not we are in need. For they want to be with us in weal or in woe. They pray not just for us but with us, sharing in our spiritual and moral challenges and growth. We should thank them and bless them and honor them as the exalted yet humble fellow creatures they are, endowed by God with prodigious intelligence and powers they freely, lovingly, use for His glory and for o...

This Sunday, Jesus offers rest — if you are “little”…

By Tom Hoopes, July 2, 2020 This Sunday’s Gospel (the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A) includes some of the most consoling words in Scripture. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Anyone who has had a relationship with Jesus Christ knows exactly what that means. The greatest feeling in the world is not any kind of bodily pleasure, but the supernatural rest of an encounter with Jesus Christ, especially in the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist. But we also know that Christ’s peace is not an easily won sentimentality, as his next words make clear. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart,” he says; “and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Jesus does not come s...

A warning from the Prophet Amos explains a lot of our current decline…

Continuing this small series on the decline of culture, a word from the Prophet Amos in today’s reading (Thursday of the 13th week of the year) paints a brief picture of what happens when we a nation demand that the Word of God be banished from it hearing. The picture is not complete and may need a bit of adjustment to fit our times but the basic parameters are clear. Let’s look at an excerpt from the reading and seek to apply it.  Amos has been ordered by the Amaziah, priest at Bethel to be silent and go away. This may seem astonishing coming from the High Priest at shrine of Bethel, but many of the religious leaders were corrupted and tied to political leaders more than to the Lord. Hence, Amaziah silences Amos with the authority of Jeroboam, King of Israel. Amos replies:  You ...

“For God’s sake, stop demonizing the NYPD,” says Cardinal Dolan…

Whenever I go back home to Missouri, family and friends ask me, “What do you like most about New York?” The list is lengthy, I reply. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is up there, of course, and nothing beats that magical feel of Manhattan around Christmastime. But near the top would be the men and women of the New York Police Department. I chat with them on their beat. I have a coffee with them in the kitchen of my home behind the cathedral. I celebrate their weddings, baptize their kids and show up at their events. And yes, I visit them in the ICU, and attend their wakes and funerals when they’re wounded or killed in the line of duty, which happens more often than I care to recall. Much too frequently of late, I have grieved with the family of an officer who took his or her own life. Our valian...

What kind of fear do you have — the right kind, or the wrong kind?

The readings from Tuesday (13th week of the year speak about the right and wrong kinds of fear. The wrong kind of fear is illustrated in the Gospel reading: As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Mathew 8:23-27) The world in which we live is filled with dangers. Some come from nature: floods, famines, earthquakes, plagues, and so forth. There are also dangers in term...

‘Soft despotism’ of anti-Catholicism on the rise, USCCB religious liberty chairman warns …

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. (Wikimedia Commons.) USCCB Religious Liberty Chair Warns: ‘Soft Despotism’ of Anti-Catholicism on the Rise Archbishop Wenski cited a new wave of religious intolerance pointing to laws forbidding public funding of religious schools—overruled by the Supreme Court this week—but also in the HHS contraceptive mandate case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and 21 year-old Jack Denton, who was removed from his student government position at Florida State University for defending Church teaching. Matt Hadro/CNA. WASHINGTON — The new leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops on religious liberty has warned of a “soft despotism” of religious intolerance in the U.S.  Archbishop Thomas Wenski told CNA that “new Jacobins” are driving Catholics from the public squ...

San Diego de Alcalá, St. Junípero Serra’s first mission in California…

ABOVE: Exterior of the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, with a statue of St. Junípero Serra. INSET: Exterior of the mission. BELOW: A model of the mission house where St. Junípero stayed; an example of native dwellings; a 19th-century photo of the mission; and photos of the interior and exterior of the mission. (All photos by Mark Armstrong) St. Junípero Serra’s First Mission in California St. Junípero, pray for us, that we will be filled with the same courage and love that you showed during your lifetime. In early March, my husband Mark and I visited Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego, the first of 21 Catholic missions founded in California. It was established July 16, 1769 by the Spanish Franciscan friar, St. Junípero Serra (1713-84). During our visit, the coronavirus...

Facing scandal and debt, Pope Francis shifts into high gear on financial reform…

ROME – Maybe there’s no single blueprint for reform, but one time-honored propeller for change often is the intersection of scandal and necessity. That certainly seems to be the case in Pope Francis’s Vatican with regard to finances, where at no time since 2013-14 have reform moves been rolling out so fast and furious as right now. The difference is that seven years ago, the flurry of activity was mostly about new laws and structures. Today it’s more about application and enforcement, which is always trickier, because it means specific people could lose jobs or power and, in some cases, they could face criminal indictments. The latest such development came Tuesday, when the Vatican announced that following a raid on the offices of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office that administers St....

Hunger and hallucinations — How the stages of starvation describe the decaying West…

This is the third in a series of articles on the decline of the West. Given the exceptionally poor condition of whatever is left of Western Culture and Christendom, it may help us in this article to gain some perspective of what is going on from the stages of starvation. Physical hunger is a serious problem; We are obliged to assist the starving and malnourished. But even more prevalent these days is spiritual hunger, if not outright starvation. As is the case with physical hunger, the source of spiritual hunger is not God, who has given us abundant grace and truth; it is we who are the source. It is a strange starvation to be sure, for it is largely self-inflicted. Further, it seems to be at an advanced stage. I am told that as physical starvation advances there comes a time when a k...