Friday, August 11, 2006

"Why do Catholics believe in Purgatory?" and other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "Is Religion for the weak of heart and mind?" What do you think? We would really love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment today.

NEW THIS WEEK: Our Sunday Homily is now available in both English and Spanish.

Tuesday, August 15, is the feast of the Asumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a holy day of obligation for Catholics. In this issue, you will find a historical account that traces this teaching of the Catholic Church to the earliest centuries of Christianity. We also bring you several other related stories and meditations about the Virgin Mary.

We all believe in Purgatory because the Church teaches us that it is a reality. Now comes this question from a Catholic asking, "Why?" ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion, STL, goes deep into the Scripture, Tradition and Church doctrine to explain it. He also delivers another wonderful article about the saints and our proclivity as Catholics to name our children after them.

"I was born Catholic and I am going to die Catholic" is an interesting exchange that actually happened just this week between a "cultural" Catholic woman and the RCIA instructor of the woman's husband who is converting from Southern Baptist to Catholic. Great stuff.

"PARISH HERMITS" by ParishWorld blogger Kathi Scarpace touches on the harsh reality of a dying parishioner she has been visiting. And we have a very touching first-person story about a family that fell upon hard times into homelessness. "HOMELESS" By Judy Ann Eichstedt will change the way you look at our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

The face of youth ministers is changing. Youth ministers and directors today have more education, are staying in their positions longer and are being paid more than they were a decade ago.

Why don't teens pray more? And why is it that teens are more scared to praise God when their friends are around? We have a story that explores this further. And a study released this week asserts that teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs. Do you know what music your children are listening to in their iPods?

From Lebanon, a local Catholic youth choir defies the hostility of war and spreads joy by singing to the young displaced war victims in the refugee camps. While in Chico, CA a Catholic activist prays for compassion as she presents an exhibit of 85 panels, including poems, photographs and other items relating to the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Catholic Church faces a crisis of immense proportion and the clock is ticking. Tens of thousands of U.S. nuns are over age 70. Spending for their care in 2005 alone was $926 million. Compare this with the $499 million received over the last 18 years from annual special parish collections to aid them and the massive shortfall is evident.

With the 2006 and 2008 national elections looming, we have an opinion piece that bets the Democrats will have a hard time turning righteous indignation and dissatisfaction into votes. Why? Religion – or the Democrats’ lack thereof – may be the answer. And EWTN celebrates its 25th anniversary. It now bills itself as the largest religious media network in the world.

In LIFE ISSUES, the day many ethicists have long feared has arrived. A U.S. “embryo bank” has begun to process made-to-order babies with specific genetic traits requested by the potential parents. And sadly, the FDA has reached a deal to allow manufacturers to sell the "morning-after pill" over-the-counter to any woman over the age of 18.

GET INSPIRED. Read the stirring story of an ex-con who works toward opening a boxing gym with a Catholic businessman's help. Bo Sanchez delivers another winner with "DO WHAT LOVE DEMANDS." By the way, Bo starts his US and Canada speaking tour in Richmond, BC, Canada on August 12. Click here to see when he is coming to your city.

In LIFESTYLE, an estimated 20,000 Catholics rocked in Cleveland last weekend at the "The Fest," a Catholic rock concert sponsored by their Diocese. For those of you with children in college, you face pitfalls - including jail time - on your path to financial aid if you fiddle with your financial information. And we present the Top 100 pro-Catholic movies of all time. See if your favorite movies made it to the top ten.

Finally, we just could not pass up this joke that talks about a contest between Jesus and Satan to determine who was a better computer whiz. The punch line is a definite winner.

Another exciting week for Catholics all over the world. Have a blessed and exciting weekend. And don't forget to go to Mass on Tuesday, August 15, the feast of the Assumption.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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