Friday of this week, Oct. 7, is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It provides an opportunity to review the origins and purpose of one of the most popular private devotions of the 20th century, and indeed ever since the reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with rosary in hand, to St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in 1858.
Essays in Theology
It has been said that the next scandal to hit the Catholic church after the sexual-abuse crisis in the priesthood would be financial.
Jason Berry has turned now from the former to the latter in his Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (Crown, $25).
Many Catholics and media people -- at least those with enough interest to care -- believe that the late Pope John Paul I must have had the shortest pontificate of all time. Not so. John Paul I is generally regarded as having had the 11th shortest pontificate in all of papal history: 33 days.
Some Catholics who spend the winter in Florida report overflowing churches for weekend Masses. Does this indicate that the Catholic Church in the United States is a lot healthier than others have suggested?
Cardinal Adam Maida, who retired as archbishop of Detroit in 2009, first proposed the idea of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center to the pope when he (Maida) was still bishop of Green Bay, Wis. (1984-90). It may or may not have influenced the pope to appoint Maida to Detroit. More than four years later he was named a cardinal.
For the past several years this column has observed Labor Day weekend in the United States and Canada by focusing on justice in the church.
Last year I expressed the hope that the U.S. Catholic bishops would issue an annual Labor Day statement that focused on this aspect of Catholic social teaching. Unfortunately, they failed to do so -- again.
A sixth, and final, ecclesiological principle articulated by the Second Vatican Council is embodied in its teaching that the church is not an end in itself, but that it exists always and only for the sake of the Reign, or Kingdom, of God. In other words, the Church is an eschatological community.
Every year in January we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. And every year we seem to be not an inch closer to outright reunion -- at least on the official level.
At the unofficial level, however, Christians are worshipping and receiving Communion in one another's liturgies. And many Catholics, especially younger Catholics, do not even think along denominational lines when referring, for example, to weddings and funerals.
The late Cardinal John Dearden, archbishop of Detroit, noted at the University of Notre Dame some years ago that many of the bishops appointed after the Second Vatican Council never had the opportunity of experiencing the transforming effect of Vatican II.
A third major ecclesiological principle in the Second Vatican Council's teaching is that the mission of the Church includes service to human needs in the social, economic, and political orders, as well as the preaching of the word and the celebration of the sacraments.