Purgatory 101

Posted by Jim Van Vurst, OFM on 6/27/16 10:26 AM

Baroque Fresco of Purgatory
Image: Baroque fresco, 1749, Simon Benedikt Faistenberger. Saint Ulrich am Pillersee parish church: Virgin Mary gives a black penitence belt to Saint Augustine and his mother Saint Monica. At the bottom, with this belt Saint Nicholas of Tolentino is freeing poor souls from the purgatory.

One thing we see through the history of the Church is that, with certain doctrines, something changes in the way they are understood. Take, for example, purgatory.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you might be surprised to know that there are only three paragraphs devoted to it (1030, 1031, and 1032). The first states that those who die in God’s friendship, but are still imperfectly purified, are assured of eternal salvation. They undergo a purification to achieve the necessary holiness. 

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Topics: purgatory, definition of purgatory, what purgatory is like

A Doctor Saves Flint, Michigan

Posted by Guest Blogger on 6/25/16 7:00 AM


Image: CNS.

Everywhere she goes now, from testifying before the US Congress to the coffee shop, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is recognized—and thanked. Hanna-Attisha, the director of Flint, Michigan’s Hurley Hospital Pediatric Residency Program, was named to the 2016 TIME 100, the magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people. PEN America, a group of writers dedicated to human rights, chose Hanna-Attisha and Flint mother/activist LeeAnne Walters to receive the 2016 Freedom of Expression Courage Award. (Last year, PEN honored the surviving staffers of the Paris attack on the weekly Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.) 

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Topics: water crisis, flint michigan water problem, Flint, Michigan, hope

A Meditation on God and Creation

Posted by Michael Dennin on 6/24/16 7:00 AM

Creation as seen in Janet Echelman's 1.8
Image: Thad Zajdowicz. On display at the Renwick Gallery, Janet Echelman's 1.8, 2015 is a creation of knotted and braided fiber with programmable lighting and wind movement above printed textile flooring. 

Picture a creator in your mind. What are they creating? Maybe it is a work of art or a piece of music? Maybe they are creating a computer game or a new plan for the city? Or something else entirely. What are some characteristics of this creator? What is the process by which they are creating? How long does it take? Is it done from beginning to end, without corrections? Or do they keep revisiting the creation, tweaking it here and there to make it better?

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Topics: God, creation, michael dennin, cosmology

Pope Francis: My Environmental Teacher

Posted by Christopher Heffron on 6/23/16 7:00 AM

Times Square at night
Image: Times Square, Andrea Cavalera.

Before you disregard this blog as some environmental guilt trip, let me confess something upfront: until recently, my carbon footprint was roughly the size of Wisconsin. 

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Topics: Pope Francis, care for creation, laudato si, environment

Year of Mercy: 'You Visited Me'

Posted by Guest Blogger on 6/21/16 7:00 AM

Pope Francis visits prisoners in Philadelphia
Image; Pope Francis greets prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

When Pope Francis makes a stop at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia in September as part of his U.S. visit, it may seem like part of the pope’s usual routine.

His visits to prisons as part of his pastoral journeys to other countries has become part and parcel of the pope’s style, just as it had been for St. John Paul II to visit pockets of the Polish diaspora during his well-traveled pontificate.

But visiting fellow countrymen once removed is one thing. Visiting criminals and crime suspects is quite another.

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Topics: Pope Francis, Year of Mercy, prison, prison ministry

Pope Francis and the Three P's: Patience, Politics, and Prayer

Posted by Rosario Carello on 6/20/16 7:00 AM

Pope Francis Consistory 2014
Image: Pope Francis embraces new Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec after presenting the red biretta to him during a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 22. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In his first years as pope, Francis has challenged just about everyone. In the Consistory of February 2014, he created eighteen new cardinals, and he told them, in no uncertain terms, that this was not a promotion but a calling into deeper and more humble service of the Church. He asked them to work together, bringing their experience of so many different and diverse parts of the Church to their role in advising and assisting the pope.

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Topics: Prayer, Pope Francis, Politics, Patience

The Joys of Fatherhood

Posted by Guest Blogger on 6/18/16 11:31 PM

In the dark of night, my eyes opened. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself sitting up in bed and swinging my legs to the floor without really waking. Then, as I made my somnolent way across the room and out the bedroom door, I heard it—the sound that had filtered into my brain and kicked me into motion while I slept. 

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Topics: parenting, father's day, fatherhood, father

A Young Pope Francis Goes to Confession

Posted by Rosario Carello on 6/17/16 7:00 AM

Young Pope Francis as a priest
Image: CNS.

Father Bergoglio is expected at the other side of Buenos Aires for a day of recollection. He is in a hurry.

He still has to catch the train.He leaves his office, passes along the corridor, and enters the chapel. He pauses before the Blessed Sacrament. He prays in silence, entrusting to the Lord the talk he is going to give. He then immediately rushes out toward the exit.

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Topics: Catholic Church History, Confession, Pope Francis

Jesus’ Forgotten Commandment

Posted by Richard B. Patterson, PhD on 6/16/16 7:00 AM

The Forgotten CommandmentImage: Wayside Weeds and Garden Flowers, Sylvanus Stall.

When a young man asked Jesus about the greatest commandment, Jesus responded that we must first love God. He then added, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This directive is a common theme across all religions and is typically viewed as the Golden Rule, where we are encouraged to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

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Topics: Jesus, love, golden rule

Deep Adventure: Resting in Jesus

Posted by Bear Woznick on 6/15/16 7:00 AM

Resting on the Ventura County LineImage: Brett Plank.

I patrolled the winding road down into the early morning fog that enveloped me as I drove toward the coast. Every day for six consecutive weeks, I had strapped my longboard on my car and headed for the surf spot that was made famous by The Beach Boys—Ventura County Line. 

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Topics: Jesus, rest

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