U.S. Catholic

This magazine publishes news, opinions and reviews about issues concerning the everyday lives of Catholics.

Articles from Vol. 72, No. 12, December

All That Cremains: A Grandmother Realizes That Death Is Inescapable, Even on Vacation
Tucson was luminous. Each autumn morning and evening I strolled outdoors to gaze at distant mountain ranges on all sides. The Tucsons, Santa Catalinas, Santa Ritas, and Rincons rose before me as I turned to soak up their mystery. On the rear patio...
Asking for Direction ... Finally: After Years Navigating the Road of Life, Some Baby Boomer Men Are Finding Meaning in the Unlikeliest of Places
Sometimes the best place to talk to Catholic baby boomer men about spirituality is far removed from the quiet of a church sanctuary. Kevin Bartels of Queens, New York, 48, is talking about God while some of his fellow baby boomers play weekend basketball...
Bank Robbery: Forgive Us Our Bad Debts-Many of Which Were Made Fraudulently to Developing Countries
ECUADOR'S NEW PRESIDENT, RAFAEL CORREA, pledged during his campaign to reduce the nation's external debt burden. Now he could have played the game according to the existing rules and sought debt relief through renegotiation of Ecuador's many loans....
Beat the Advent Rush: Christmas Schmistmas. We Really Should Be Commercializing the Weeks Leading Up to It. Bring on the Candle Sales!
IT IS NOT ON ANY OFFICIAL calendar, but everybody in America knows the Christmas shopping season now starts just after Halloween, and Thanksgiving has been reduced to a long weekend within the larger "holiday shopping season." Meanwhile Advent, which...
Far out Man: Call Him a Biblical Hippie, but John the Baptist's Radical Message Is Essential to Our Faith
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HIS CLOTHES WERE WEIRD. HIS DIET WAS SPARTAN. You could tell he'd spent years in isolation, breaking loose from social conventions to which the rest of us cheerfully adhere. He was, in other words, a strangely free individual....
Feedback
The worst example of American culture trying to secularize Christmas is ... Five minutes before Midnight Mass, our parish choir sang "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer." Bob Gude Fort Worth, Texas Scheduling football games on Christmas to capture...
Haste, Haste to Bring Him Lard: The Words Might Not Make Sense, but Carols Bring Advent Closer to Home for Kids
"MOM, WHAT'S LARD?" MY DAUGHTER asked me last Advent. No, we weren't using lard to cook dinner--heck, she even insists we now buy eggs laid by cage-free hens. (I sure hope those hens are holding little parades and flying the flag to revel in their...
Hold Your Fire! Let's Call a Truce in the War on Christmas
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] TO THE BARRICADES, PATRIOTS! LOCK DOWN THE AIRports! Suspend the Constitution! Appropriate billions of dollars! Prepare a preemptive attack! The enemies, whoever they are, have launched a war on Christmas! Here's the intel:...
In the Valley of Elah
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH Directed by Paul Haggis (Blackfriars Bridge Films, 2007) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Four and a half years into the war in Iraq, with the American public and Congress tiring of the prolonged conflict and mounting casualties,...
Not All Roads Lead to Rome: The Diverse Challenges of a Struggling World Need Local Solutions from a Flexible Church
AMONG THE THEOLOGIANS OF THE SECOND VATICAN Council, the name of Dutch Dominican priest Edward Schillebeeckx is surely among the most well-known (and least pronounceable). His works on the church and ministry, such as the pithily titled Ministry and...
No Trip to Disneyland: Mosquito Netting and Malaria Medication Aren't Usually on the Packing List for a Family Vacation. but Seeing the Developing World Firsthand Can Be the First Step for Young Catholics to Realize That "It's a Small World, after All."
Megan Lavery was 4 when she and her family left Missouri in 1977 to serve as Maryknoll lay missionaries for three years in the hardscrabble village of Chiantla, Guatemala. It was only years later, while in college, that Lavery began to understand the...
Promise of the Promised Land: Archbishop Elias Chacour of Galilee Is Working to Create His Own Biblical Vision of the Holy Land, in Which People of All Faiths Live Together in Peace
A few months after Israeli soldiers deported the men of his village, 9-year-old Elias Chacour climbed the hills of Galilee to talk to his friend and champion, Jesus. He imagined Jesus at the Mount of Beatitudes and contemplated what Jesus' words meant....
Prophet Sharing: Rabbi Abraham Heschel Taught Jews, Catholics, and People of All Religions How Both to Live and Die with Faith, Awe. and Courage
IN 1994 MY PHYSICIAN URGED ME TO GO ON MEDICAL DISABILITY for HIV, diagnosed in 1985. "If statistically you only have a year or two left, why don't you travel or do some things you have always wanted to do?" he asked somewhat nonchalantly. [ILLUSTRATION...
USC Undercover
I came home from work and told my daughter that we were planning a magazine cover on the "war on Christmas" and that I had a great idea for an illustration. Go and round up all your menacing-looking toys, I said. Meanwhile I dug out the toy Christmas...
Wesolych Swiat and a Happy New Year! Christmas Eve Is When Polish Catholics See Christ's Presence at Their Own Dinner Tables
DECEMBER 24 IS THE MOST CHERISHED OF DAYS FOR the people of Poland and their descendants. This day is called Wigilia (vee-GEE-leeah), which means "to watch." Before my engagement to my husband, I wasn't one for following traditions. But that changed...
Who Invented Advent?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The easy answer to that question is, we, the church, did. The feasts and seasons of the liturgical year all developed from the church's desire to remember, celebrate, and live the great mysteries of our faith. The answer...
Wow Gospel #1S
WOW GOSPEL #1s Various artists (Verity, 2007) Let the church say, "Amen?" to Wow Gospel #1s: 30 of the Greatest Gospel Hits Ever! This two-disc CD, packed with dozens of major gospel artists from the past and present, will have even the most staid...