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Opinion

What’s in the Koran?

During the weeks after Septem­ber 11, 2001, my religious com­munity’s motherhouse hosted a series of evening prayers. Their culmination was a gathering of roughly 600 people to hear a Muslim imam and the local Catholic pas­tor join in a time of mourning and faith-exchange. The imam came from nearby. He was in charge of a […]


Incense as a biblical symbol; getting son back to Church

Q: Why do we have incense at Mass? Sometimes it makes it really hard to breathe. (Charleston, SC) A: Incense can be used for solemn occasions but it should be used with prudence and temperance. Some parishes even announce be­forehand what Masses will have in­cense, and this seems to be greatly appreciated by people with […]


Turning the other cheek

Q: Does turning the other cheek mean I have to be nice to rela­tives who have been purpose­fully cruel or ugly to people I care about? That feels false, particularly when someone has been repeatedly unkind. How do I handle seeing these people at family events or in public? Some people say you have to […]


People for sale? The problem of human trafficking

In the late 1990s, when I was living in a seminary faculty residence, I was jarred by a news item about something discovered in the north­west Detroit suburbs very near our campus. Two teenagers who had been purportedly adopted from another country had been found to be virtually imprisoned in the home of an affluent […]


Helping hospice patients ‘die like angels’

The summer before I officially entered my religious community, I asked if there might be a summer job available with the sisters. Religious communities like to make sure that their sisters (in training and otherwise) have a diversity of experiences in ministry. I was already a teacher, so, of course, I was offered a position […]


Asking for blessings

Editor’s note: This week The Miscellany introduces a new question-and-answer column written by Father Jeffrey Kirby of the Diocese of Charleston. He holds an M.A. in philosophy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a doctorate in moral theology from Holy Cross University in Rome. He is the author of several books including, “Lord, Teach […]


Loving God before all else

If asked, most Christians would say we love God before everything else. But if we claim God is our first priority, how well do our ac­tions support that claim? To examine our priorities, we should first examine what it means to love God. Perhaps the best answer to this question originates from Jesus himself. Jesus […]


Liturgical orientation

In recent weeks, liturgical orien­tation of the worshipping con­gregation has been in the news. After Pope Francis’ point-man for Liturgy and Sacraments encour­aged a rediscovery of priest and people facing east for parts of the Mass, discussion both pro and con has erupted. For centuries either the priest alone, or both priest and people alike […]


A spirituality for society

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final column in a series on Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhorta­tion, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). The Francis Effect is what writers like John Gehring have termed the influence of the pope on politics and Catholic life. He notes what we all know: that the policies supported […]


Youth put tithing in perspective as a privilege to participate

Noah and Garrett — brothers who attend middle school youth group — have started a busi­ness mowing lawns. Last week, I was talking to their older sister, Kate, about how they were doing. She shared that they were adding new clients, hoping that by the time they were in high school they’d have a full-time […]


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