PITTSBURG, Mo. -- Just as my wife and I parked the car at the end of the long gravel roadway into the Hermitage Spiritual Retreat Center here, Fr. Paul shouted a hello and hustled down the path for a hug.
A small c catholic
For several weeks now I have been marinating in the speech Pope Benedict XVI gave to a Westminster Hall full of British politicians on his recent journey to the United Kingdom.
What has especially engaged me is what he described as “the central question at issue,” which is, “Where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found?”
Last year as I was gathering information to write the centennial celebration book for a large Catholic parish in Kansas City, Mo., I asked the current priest and several men who formerly served there as priests to gather for conversation.
I wanted to unpack their brains to help me understand what makes Visitation Catholic Parish tick.
I am finding this ninth anniversary of 9/11 even more troubling than the eight before it.
For my family each 9/11 lacerates our hearts anew because my 31-year-old nephew, the son of one of my three sisters, was a passenger on American Flight 11 -- the first plane that hijackers smashed into the World Trade Center. Karleton Fyfe was simply a fabulous young husband, father (his wife was early in her pregnancy with their second son when Karleton died), son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and businessman.
CLYDE, Mo. -- Sr. Dawn, who met us when we arrived at the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration monastery here, used to be what I still am -- a Presbyterian. Same story with Sr. Sean, the prioress.
For decades now I’ve watched Catholics debate whether to ordain women as priests, an issue that flared again recently when the Vatican named “attempted women’s ordination” among “grave crimes.”
First Catholics and later Protestants engaged in what scholar Dyron B. Daughrity calls "two great waves of Christian missions: the Catholic wave in the 1500s and the Protestant wave in the 1800s." One of the targets of this evangelism was Africa, which in recent decades has seen astonishing Christian expansion.
Several years ago I audited a two-semester course on Christian history at an American Baptist seminary in the Kansas City area.
I wasn't required to take the pop quizzes, though I did. Nor was I required to write the required six papers, though I did that, too.
And rarely a week goes by now that I don't feel good about my decision to be an overachiever.
In speeches and columns over many years I have made the point that interfaith understanding is vital if there's to be any hope for world peace.
And America — a stunning amalgam of ethnic and religious traditions — can be a model for the world in this regard.
In fact, if the call of the 20th century for Americans was to work toward racial harmony, the call of the 21st century is to seek religious harmony in our increasingly pluralistic culture.