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Pope begins answering priests from troubled Nigerian diocese...

Days after time ran out for the priests of an entire Nigerian diocese to write and apologize for having refused to accept their bishop for the past five years, Pope Francis, through some of his closest advisers, has begun to respond to each of them. “The pope promised he would write back, and he’s doing so,” said Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja...

Is Catholicism too casual about sin, salvation and mercy?

In the Protestant world of my youth, nearly everything was a matter of life or death. The Evangelicals made your salvation a drama that depended on you making a decisive commitment. They loved the drama of a sobbing sinner stumbling forward at the altar call. The mainliners didn’t sweat salvation the same way, but they made your social conscience almost as crucial...

‘Dunkirk’ (Rotten Tomatoes 93%) is an improbable wonder of a film...

Dunkirk is the first film Christopher Nolan has made that feels bigger than the director’s preoccupations and obsessions. There is something ironically liberating about this sprawling yet frequently claustrophobic war movie about soldiers trapped by the sea, crowded in long queues on a great concrete and wooden jetty waiting for ships...

Greed: A meditation on an underreported sin...

One of the more underreported sins is greed. It is easy to conclude that greed is something manifested by “that other person,” who has more than I do. Yes, that rich guy over there, the one who earns a dollar more per hour than I do; he’s greedy, but I’m not. But honestly, does any one of us ever come to a point in our life when we say...

What you shouldn’t do in a disaster...

“I’ll never forget the sound. The sound of metal crunching,” says George Larson, a passenger on Indian Airlines Flight 440 from Chennai (Madras) to New Delhi in 1973. It was 22:30 – pitch black outside. A storm was raging, and the plane was flying low. The rear end slammed into the ground first. Larson was thrown from his seat...

How my branch of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family converted to Catholicism...

Edith Florence Ingalls is mentioned only in passing by her nickname, Dolly, in The Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was only a baby in the chapter entitled “Christmas.” But that’s a thrill enough for this great-great-grandchild of hers! But what’s even more amazing is the story of how that branch of the Ingalls family converted to Catholicism...

Catholic cathedral shelters 2,000 Muslims as violence flares in Central African Republic...

Bullet-riddled roofs line the “boulevard of death” in Central African Republic’s southeastern town of Bangassou, where almost everyone who enters is seen as an enemy. The city, spared sectarian bloodshed until May, now has more than 2,000 Muslim residents forced to take refuge at St Peter Claver cathedral after attacks by the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia...

As the latest Vatican trial opens, is it time to dust off the 'About Doctrine'?

As the latest Vatican trial opened on Tuesday for alleged criminal shenanigans, it occurred to me that you really have to go all the way back to the 1800s to find the last time the “courthouse beat” formed any part of covering the Vatican for most reporters in Rome. In that era, the pope still ruled over a swath of territory in central Italy known as the “Papal States...

Hopes rise as Yemen confirms kidnapped Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil is still alive...

Hope and expectation are rising after Yemen confirmed that missionary Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped in Yemen more than a year ago, is “alive.” The heartening news was communicated to the Indian government July 12 by Abdulmalik Abduljalil Al-Mekhlafi, deputy prime minister of Yemen, when he called on Sushma Swaraj...

Pope donates €25 thousand to East Africa famine relief efforts...

Pope Francis has donated €25 thousand to the efforts of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, in support of people facing famine and food insecurity in East Africa. The Holy Father had pledged personal assistance in a message to FAO's Conference on 3 July 2017, in which he said he was "inspired also by the desire to encourage Governments"...