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After years of a life of hedon-ism and drug addiction, he returned to the faith and for about a dozen years now he has been serving as a hieromonk (pastor-monk) in the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
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People place their hands at the bottom of a crucifix as they pray on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje.
On his way from Goa in India to an assignment at a Portuguese-speaking parish in San Jose, Calif., in mid-1988, Father Joaquim (Jack) Pereira was unexpectedly denied access to the United States and stranded at the Toronto airport.
The pope is not only the symbol of unity in the Church, he also has the key responsibility for making unity as visible as possible. So Pope Benedict is being faithful to his call in working diligently to restore full unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). No one should want a full schism.
Every year I write an article on suicide because so many people have to live with the pain of losing a loved one in this way. I rarely go for even a week without receiving a letter, an email, or a phone call from someone who has just lost a family member to suicide. In virtually every case, there is a corresponding sorrow that there really isn't a lot of material out there, religious or secular, to help console those left bereaved.
Psalm 23, one of the most popular psalms of King David has followed me, like a faithful friend, through all my life – in prayer, Church readings, songs and, above all, literature I read as a child.
One of the most theologically fascinating and just plain entertaining books I've read in a long time is Yves Congar's My Journal of the Council. Catholics of a certain age will recognize the name, but I'm afraid that most Catholics under the age of 50 might be entirely unaware of the massive contribution made by Congar, a Dominican priest and certainly one of the three or four most important Catholic theologians of the 20th century.
My vacation in Barbados last year drew my attention to the importance of water, or should I say beaches. The beautiful, clear-white sand beaches, superb restaurants and resorts of Barbados attract vacationers. The little island of Barbados is not only grateful for the presence of visitors to boost its tourism industry, but summer gives churches the opportunity to welcome and experience larger congregations than usual.
Snake oil salesmen have been with us for a long time. Sometimes they merely steal money and hope from the vulnerable. Sometimes they do real harm, or even worse.
Last month, British Columbia Judge Lynn Smith declared Canada's laws banning assisted suicide unconstitutional. Apparently it is not fair for severely disabled people to be denied suicide when healthy and able-bodied people can take their own lives. Really?