U.S. Catholic

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

Articles from Vol. 76, No. 12, December

Catholicism
CATHOLICISM Directed by Matt Leonard (A Word on Fire/Picture Show Films Production, 2011) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Father Robert Barron, a Chicago priest who has appeared often in the pages of this magazine, finally brought his years-in-the-making...
Crafting Perfect Christmas Memories: Mistakes and Tears Are All Forgotten When One Family Looks Back on Their Tradition of Handmade Gifts
I always wanted my sons to develop a love for creativity and an appreciation for time. When they were old enough to receive an allowance, I told them that they could buy presents for their extended family from their own money, or they could make presents...
Forks over Knives
FORKS OVER KNIVES Directed by Lee Fulkersen (Monica Beach Media, 2011) [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Lee Fulkerson's version of an old medical joke would go something like this. "Doctor," the patient complains, "when I eat the standard American diet,...
Free at Last: How Catholics in South Sudan Are Helping to Build a New Nation
On July 9, as Father Callistus Joseph watched the flag of independent South Sudan rise for first time over the dusty capital city of Juba, he felt privileged to be present at the birth of the world's newest nation. "The exuberant joy of the people...
Good Cop, Bad Cop: While Rooting for Fictional Law Enforcement, We May Become Blind to Their Vigilante Side
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ALL GOOD THINGS, IT SEEMS, MUST COME TO AN END. For going on seven seasons Kyra Sedgwick has played Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in TNT's The Closer, basic cable's highest-rated and most popular drama, and this April...
Goy Meets Girl: Interfaith and Interchurch Couples Face Unique Challenges to Building Strong Marriages
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Before Juliann Richards met Neal Levy, she didn't doubt that she'd marry a fellow Catholic someday. After all, Richards was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school, grew up mostly around fellow Catholics, and knew she wanted...
Great Teacher: Eight Centuries Ago Albert the Great Showed How Theology and Science Can Walk Hand in Hand
I TEACH GRADUATE STUDENTS HOW TO TEACH math and science. On the first day of each semester, I ask, "Who can tell me something about Albertus Magnus, Albert the Great?" Students usually avoid making eye contact. Though they expect an explanation, instead...
Hold the Applause: We're All Part of the Body of Christ, So Why Are a Select Few Soaking Up All the Attention at Mass?
AT THE END OF THE CHRISTMAS EVE MASS AT MY year, the pastor said, "We're going to have to sing one more song before we leave." I looked at my wife, Kathy, and whispered, "Oh, no. They're going to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus." "Yes," said the...
It's the End of the World as We Know It
On December 21 the world will enter the final year of the ancient Mayan calendar, once again highlighting predictions that the world will end at the following winter solstice in 2012. While Mexican tourism officials have been capitalizing on those...
Lady with a Past: The Back Story of the Mother of God Remains a Mystery-But Some Have Tried to Fill in the Gaps
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HOW DID MARY OF NAZARETH FIND THE COURAGE to talk to an angel like that? This question consumed me as a teenager, as I considered what it meant to stand in her sandals. About the age of a high school freshman, Mary is confronted...
Las Posadas: Celebrating Jesus' Birth Story in the City
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The impact of the rejection must have been particularly difficult at the time. Joseph's wife was nine months pregnant, and they were without a place to stay. So he went to various inns in a very poor town to ask for lodging....
Lighting More Than Advent Candles: Quiet December Evenings Lead One Family to Peace
The celebration of Advent took on a whole new level of seriousness and meaning for me a few years after I became a father and my kids reached the age where they could understand what was going on around them. The observation of these days, the colder...
Miracle on 35th Street
This year again, God willing, our friend John will help us put up our Christmas tree--well, really just the ornaments. My husband insists we put up the tree in advance, depriving our guest of such witty holiday repartee as, "Why didn't you tell me...
More Than a Trip to the Mall: Shopping for a Family in Need Can Be Spiritually Uplifting and Fun
When I first began working at U.S. CATHOLIC years ago, the magazine ran an article titled, "Buy your Christmas presents twice." While I don't recall any of the content, the title has stayed with me as a challenge to try to make another family's Christmas...
Poorly Worded: The Translators of the New Mass Prayers Have Neglected One Cardinal Rule: Consider Your Audience
As the days dwindled before their triumphal entry, the new liturgical changes had not yet risen to even an underwhelming response. "One in being" in the creed pretty much satisfied the mass of still-loyal Catholics, since they neither understood what...
Sister Pat Battles the Board: To Protect Consumers and the Environment, Women Religious Lead the Growing Movement That's Taking on Powerful Corporations-One Share at a Time
On May 6 this year, Sister Nora Nash stood before Goldman Sachs' powerful CEO and his board for the investment bank's annual meeting. Nash, a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia who wears wire-rim glasses and a tentative smile, was calling upon the...
Teaching Christmas: How Do You Explain the Wonder and Awe of Christmas to a Toddler? Perhaps Just with Lights This Year, a Young Mother Writes.
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Christmas lights drape the window frame and entice my 16-month-old son with their colorful glow. He plops down where he can just reach a grouping of them, tugging at the strand playfully, rolling the individual bulbs between...
The Right Stuff: During Advent, Fill Your Life with the Spirit and Avoid That Holiday Bloat
WHEN NORMA AND JOHN'S SIX CHILDREN were small, the family received a letter from Santa sometime during Advent each year. "In the note Santa would write that there wasn't room in our home for more stuff," says Norma. "He asked the kids to share their...
Where Did the New Mass Translations Come From?
As Catholics in the United States get accustomed to new responses and prayers at Sunday Mass, many will probably ask: Why did the Mass change? The answers have to do with changes to the Latin text upon which the English translation is based and on...
You're Cut Off: New Rules in Two Dioceses Make Communion from the Cup an Endangered Species
WHILE CATHOLICS ACROSS THE UNITED States are getting their tongues around the new translations of the Mass, Catholics in two U.S. dioceses will also be taste-testing another change: regular communion from the cup will be disappearing. Phoenix Bishop...
Yule Shall Overcome: Amid Cries of Economic Catastrophe, Let Holiday Cheer Take the Place of Fear
THIS YEAR PROMISES TO BE A BLUE CHRISTMAS FOR many. Given the angry tone of the political conversation out there, it might even be a black-and-blue Christmas. More than two years after the technical end of the Great Recession, weaving along the...