National Catholic Reporter

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Spirituality

A new perspective

On Easter morn we naturally expect to hear Christ’s disciples leading us in an alleluia chorus, filled with joy at the Resurrection. For that, we would have done better to attend the Easter Vigil with its history of salvation, the singing of the Exultet and the angels’ announcement that Christ had been raised. What a comedown to hear this morning’s Gospel proclamation of the disciples’ disconcerted confusion!

Faith is forever new

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Our sacred Scriptures contain many stories about how God dealt with people thousands of years ago. Even before I actually picked up a real Bible, I learned about some of these awesome feats in Bible history class. Yahweh delivered the Israelites from a catastrophic flood, led them through the Red Sea “dry-shod,” even stopped the sun’s course so they could win battles. Someone would be out of his or her mind not to follow a God who regularly staged such dramatic events.

Georgetown conference explores secularism

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On Feb. 20, a conference at Georgetown University here focused on cleaning up what many Americans consider a dirty word -- secularism.

The goal of the conference, called “Secularism on the Edge: United States, France and Israel,” was to define what secularism is and what it is not. It drew participants from all three countries.

“[Secularism] is a guarantee of two things: freedom of religion and freedom from religion,” said conference organizer Jacques Berlinerblau, Georgetown professor of Jewish civilization.

Education congress hears calls for renewal, unity

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As he approached the podium in the giant arena, keynote speaker Mark Shriver said in a matter-of-fact tone, "All I can offer you is a story about a guy living a faith-filled life -- he wasn't perfect, but he was a good man."

Shriver, author of The New York Times best-selling memoir A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, talked about his father, the late Sargent Shriver, who created the Peace Corps and expanded Special Olympics around the globe.

Breaking the rules

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Jesus chose to associate with people whom the rest of his contemporaries found reprehensible. Today, we are used to this notion, and we tend to romanticize his behavior. In his own time, however, it was shocking and offensive. Jesus’ manner was so off-putting that many people could not move beyond their repulsion to hear and accept his message. In a word, he was a rule-breaker, an iconoclast, and those who would follow him with integrity are to do the same.

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In This Issue

July 18-31, 2014

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