Features

The priest who died on a Vietnam battlefield Comments 0

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Labor Day, September 4, 1967, in the United States was just like so many other Labor Days before: the last day before the start of school, a federal holiday, banks and stores closed, and people preparing to join friends and family for backyard barbeques. But some 8,000 miles away in South Vietnam it marked the Read more

Feeling guilty about drinking alcohol? Ask the saints Comments 0

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Each year the holidays bring with them an increase in both the consumption of alcohol and concern about drinking’s harmful effects. Alcohol abuse is no laughing matter, but is it sinful to drink and make merry, moderately and responsibly, during a holy season or at any other time? As a historical theologian, I researched the role that pious Christians played in Read more

Open letter to Father Weinandy, from his predecessor, on Amoris Laetitia Comments 0

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
amoris laetitia

You may remember me as your predecessor as executive director of the Secretariat for Christian Doctrine at the U.S.C.C.B. You replaced me in January 2005. I am writing this open letter to you in response to your open letter to Pope Francis in which you address what you describe as a “chronic confusion” that seems to mark Read more

Denis O’Reilly: The gangs have been convenient whipping boys Comments 0

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
Gangs are whipping boys: Denis O'Reilly

Denis O’Reilly, a Pākehā now well into his 60s, linked up with Black Power because he was committed to social justice. It was the same concern for social justice that had his brother, Laurie, who died nearly 20 years ago, becoming a lawyer and then the Commissioner for Children. Each of the boys had many other Read more

God only knows what Facebook is doing to children’s brains Comments 0

Monday, November 13th, 2017
Facebook

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider’s look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains. Be smart: Parker’s I-was-there account provides priceless perspective in the rising debate about the power and effects of the social networks, which now have scale and reach unknown in human history. He’s Read more

Vatican history of tobacco use Comments 0

Monday, November 13th, 2017
tobacco

John B. Buescher offers an entertaining history of tobacco use in the Vatican. It turns out that rolled tobacco (cigars and cigarettes) has been especially favoured by recent pontiffs: Pius X took snuff and smoked cigars. Benedict XV did not smoke and did not like others’ smoke. Pius XI smoked an occasional cigar. Pius XII did not Read more

When Americans tried to reunite Christianity Comments 0

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, a German monk, initiated a split in Christianity that came to be known as the Protestant Reformation. After the Reformation, deep divisions between Protestants and Catholics contributed to wars, hostility and violence in Europe and America. For centuries, each side denounced the other and sought to convert its followers. Then, in the early 1900s, Read more

Why do Eastern Christians make the Sign of the Cross ‘backwards’? Comments 0

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

The Sign of the Cross is a gesture by which Christians signify the blessing of their person in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Other religions have similar practices, and it is difficult not to see in certain Jewish traditions the prefiguration of this particular Christian symbol, a physical, outward Read more

Experts divided about suspected suicide rates rising Comments 2

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Suspected suicides have increased by 11 per cent in the last three months compared to 2016, raising concerns from the chief coroner. Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall shared the new figures at a zero suicide prevention forum in Christchurch this week. She said it was too early to draw conclusions on the 2017-18 figures, but said: “Clearly Read more

The Catholic world is turning upside down Comments 1

Monday, November 6th, 2017

The Catholic Church worldwide is passing through an era of historical transformation, a decisive shift in numbers towards the Global South – to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many are aware of this trend as an abstract fact, but we are scarcely coming to terms with the implications for Church life, for the composition of Read more