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I am happy to proclaim that Christ is very much alive in the heart of small town America...

One of the most discouraging things about small town America is the way that corporate gigantism has ripped its heart out. This is made all too painfully evident when I drive on the back roads to Charlotte from my home in South Carolina, which is my preferred route when time permits. Taking these country roads, I pass through several small towns that have become like the ghost towns of the legendary west...

Would it matter if we’re living in a simulation?

Currently we use computers to run simulations of many different kinds of scenarios. For example, physicists use them to run simulations of how different kinds of subatomic particles interact. The basic idea of the simulation hypothesis is that as computers get better and better, we will be able to run better and better simulations...

Reports of Cardinal Pell guilty verdict emerge, despite judicial gag order...

Cardinal George Pell has been convicted by an Australian court on charges of sexual abuse of minors, according to media reports and CNA sources close to the cardinal. A judicial gag order has restricted Australian media coverage of the trial since June. Despite the gag order, a story published Dec. 11 on the Daily Beast website first reported that a unanimous verdict of guilty had been returned by a jury on charges that Cardinal Pell sexually abused two altar servers in the late 1990s while he was archbishop of Melbourne...

Robert Spaemann, the last great Catholic theologian...

He was the philosopher closest to Benedict XVI, his friend and peer. He died at the age of 91 on December 10, in the light of the season of Advent. In a few lines further below a profile of him is sketched by one of his most faithful disciples, Sergio Belardinelli, a professor of the sociology of cultural processes at the University of Bologna and the scholarly coordinator of the “Cultural Project” of the Italian episcopal conference during the years of Cardinal Camillo Ruini’s presidency...

Why would Christians want the world to love them?

Recently, someone complained to me that habits of political correctness and identity politics seemed to be creating an atmosphere where—to this person’s perspective—anyone might claim to be part of a protected class. “It’s open season on Christians, though,” the gentleman groused. People like to say so, but—given examples of the very real...

Rejoice! This Sunday is “Gaudete” Sunday.....

Many parishes will mark this Sunday with rose-colored vestments (not “pink”—“pink” is not a liturgical color!), and the theme of joy runs through the readings and the liturgy. Gaudete Sunday marks the liturgical half-way point of Advent, and the Church rejoices because Jesus’ coming is near. This year, since Christmas falls early in the fourth week of Advent...

The problem of parishes with short Confession times...

Months ago, I somehow got in an online argument defending the sacrifices Roman Catholic priests make for their parishioners. At one point, I mentioned the amount of time devoted to hearing confessions. At this point, a woman on the thread practically laughed at me through the computer. She insisted that Roman Catholic priests no longer take confession seriously and barely offer it...

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ changes what is possible for superhero films and animated films...

One day in 1982, when I was 13 years old, I had just left the Haledon Sweet Shop on Haledon Avenue with a stack of comic books, bought with money earned delivering papers for the owner of the sweet shop. I stopped at Food Town to buy a candy bar and a Coke, and a young black boy, perhaps 8, saw the comics in my hand and asked if he could have one of them...

Protestant pastor charged with ‘inciting subversion’ as China cracks down on churches...

An outspoken Chinese pastor and his wife face up to 15 years in prison after being charged with inciting to subvert state power, a sign that Chinese authorities are intensifying a crackdown on religious groups, one of the most serious in recent decades. Wang Yi, 45, who runs the independent Early Rain Covenant Church in the southwestern city of Chengdu...

Three cardinals dropped from C9 as reform process nears end...

The Vatican said Wednesday that while there are no immediate plans to add new members to the C9, Pope Francis has released the three eldest cardinals from the duties of the advisory group. Papal spokesman Greg Burke told journalists in a briefing Dec. 12 that the pope sent letters to Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz...