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May 05, 2015
The courageous witness of Blessed Oscar Romero
By Tony Magliano

Who would have predicted it?

Who would have imagined on Feb. 23, 1977, the day of his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador, that the highly conservative Oscar Romero – who was suspicious of the Catholic Church’s involvement in political activism – would die a martyr’s death for courageously defending his people against the murderous assaults of the Salvadoran government, military and right-wing death squads?

Romero’s appointment was welcomed by the government, but many...

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The summer movie season is officially upon us this weekend, with the release of the new “Avengers: Age of Ultron” leading the annual flood of superheroes, action movies and broad comedies into theatres.  But while the new movie costs $250 million and features an array of star actors including Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johannsen and Jeremy Renner in its cast, there is a more intriguing science fiction film that’s also in theatres now, called “Ex Machina.”

The two movies...

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May 01, 2015
The Pope’s visit and same-sex marriage
By Russell Shaw

When Pope Francis comes to the United States in late September, chances are good that he will arrive in the middle of a bitter, highly politicized national debate on same-sex marriage and religious liberty.

That suggests several large questions for the papal visit. Should the Pope say anything about these high-voltage issues? Given the circumstances, how could he responsibly fail to do that? But if he does say something, what should it be?

Note that this trip will take place just three...

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April 30, 2015
Lectionary-based catechesis for converts is inadequate
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

Recently, I received a letter from a woman in Portland, Oregon, with the question,

“What do you think of lectionary-based catechesis for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA]? I became a Catholic three years ago and I was amazed at how little I was taught using this approach. Surely there is a better way of preparing adults to become Catholics? What would you recommend that I might read to help deepen my knowledge of the faith?”

My answer to the woman’s letter was more...

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April 29, 2015
The Revolving Door
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

A few months ago, Jimmy Fallon, the late-night host at NBC, was reminiscing with his guest, Bill O’Reilly, about their common experience serving as altar boys at the Latin Mass.  Gleefully, they rattled off the prayers proud of their sure memories.  The host then asked his guest if he was still a practicing Catholic. Yes, Mr. O’Reilly nodded.  Then, eager to react, Mr. Fallon countered in his careless diction and in poor taste: “I don’t practice anymore.”

While many walk out or...

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April 28, 2015
'Peace be with you'
By Tony Magliano

“On the evening of that first day of the week,” according to the Gospel of John, “when the doors were locked, where the disciples were … Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ ”
To his closest followers, who feared that they too would suffer crucifixion, Jesus stood in their midst on Easter Sunday, and shared with them his peace.  

But the peace Jesus offered them, and us, is greatly different from the “peace” offered by the world....

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April 27, 2015
Deafeated by pleasure
By Alice von Hildebrand

That pleasure – that is physical satisfaction – plays an enormous role in our lives, is already strongly manifested in small children. Give a toddler – whose vocabulary is very limited – a delicious candy, he will utter the word: “More”. On the other hand, parents know but too well that if the child must be given a bitter medicine ordered by the doctor, they are heading for a fight: for he will refuse to take it; he is “shocked” and horrified that his “loving”...

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April 27, 2015
Papal Impressions
By Alan Sears

Last fall, while in Rome to take part in the extraordinary, multi-faith, Vatican-sponsored colloquium on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage”, my wife and I had the privilege and wonderful opportunity of meeting briefly with His Holiness, Pope Francis. Later that same day we were even blessed to glimpse a little bit of his personal residence, lunching with some other guests in his dining room, and seeing the small chapel where he offers his private prayers and begins each...

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The idea of a little faith being able to change lives, and even the world, goes back as far as the parable of the mustard seed: that even faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain. The new movie “Little Boy,” out in theatres today, hinges on that parable but also is a prime example itself of that tale’s principles in action.

Starring the remarkable child actor Jakob Salvati as an 8 year old kid nicknamed “Little Boy” by everyone around him because he’s tiny for...

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April 23, 2015
What's broken in the Church's liturgy that needs fixing?
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

I think that by now readers know that I am an unambiguous supporter of the liturgical reforms brought about by the Second Vatican Council. These reforms were sorely needed, and there is no going back, as some “conservatives” would wish.

The reform in the liturgy, particularly of the Mass, was undoubtedly the centerpiece of post-Vatican II developments. The liturgical changes impinged immediately on the life of worshipers. Practicing Catholic experienced the liturgical reforms first...

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