The Moral Picture: Strengthening Family Through Film

When I was a child, Sunday nights were special. This was the routine: finish dinner, prepare for school on Monday, get ready for bed, and then watch two classic television programs—Ponderosa and The Wonderful World of Disney. I still remember eagerly embracing this weekly routine, for it marked for me the end of one week and the beginning of another. Most of all, it was a time of leisurely fun and adventure with my family as we enjoyed stories both exciting and morally uplifting. Film—including the public social experience of the cinema, as well as television (and even video games) … Continue reading

Ask CUF: What Does the Church Teach About Alternative Healing Methods?

I have a friend who has been using alternative medicines, such as homeopathy, hypnosis, and acupunture. What does the Church teach about these healing methods? Homeopathy, founded by Samuel Friedrich Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843), is a branch of medicine that takes a different approach to healing the body than that propounded by practitioners of conventional medicine. Though some in the medical field may disagree with aspects of this method, it does not appear to propose hypotheses or techniques that are at odds with Church teaching. Homeopathy is based on the idea of “fight­ing like with like” that was used as far … Continue reading

The Impractical Gospel: Infinite Love and the Love of Money

St. Paul has said, on rather good authority, that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10). This seems wrongheaded at first glance. Money appears to be able to solve many of our problems, to obtain for us almost every material thing we desire, and to make us feel secure and comfortable. Whether it is our paycheck and retirement plan, insurance payments, credit limits, rent and countless bills, or our daily bread on the table, how can we live for a single second without some form of money? Why not love something so beneficial? Possessing … Continue reading

Ask CUF: Can Non-Catholics Enter Heaven?

Recently my brother and I entered a heated discussion over whether, with the Second Vatican Council, the Church’s consistent teaching about salvation has changed. The specific reference is to the phrase “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus). He cited texts from previous popes on the subject which seem to make no allowance for non-baptized Catholics to enter the gates of heaven. I was saddened that he appeared to take such delight in consigning whole groups of people to hell, based on the aforementioned texts. What am I to make of this? Was my brother correct? … Continue reading

Lenten Resources for 2014

Lent is upon us once again. Like most people, I’m beginning this season with both hope and trepidation. In one way it’s a beautiful opportunity to let go of extra things that we pick up along our way; but the other side of me wants to hear nothing of fasting, extra mortifications, or giving up anything. Last night my sister and I sat on the couch eating jalapeño kettle chips and coffee ice cream as we bemoaned the next 40 days! However, if we enter into this season with an open spirit, it can become a time of great growth … Continue reading

Encountering “The Joy of the Gospel”: A Commentary on Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium

“The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Christ.” So begins the first apostolic exhortation from our Holy Father Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”). Pope Francis’ exhortation, which some members of the press have referred to as the Mission Statement of his pontificate, is a significant contribution to the new evangelization to which the Church must faithfully apply herself. The promulgation of Evangelii gaudium provides an opportunity for prayerful study, and as an apostolate founded to promote fidelity to the Church’s teachings and the Holy Father, we heartily accept the … Continue reading

Open Your Hearts to Life!

“Open your hearts to life!” has been a favorite theme of Pope Francis and one that has particular urgency today, as the “culture of death” is gaining an ever wider foothold. Some may think the phrase “culture of death” is too grim or too exaggerated because, on the surface at least, ours looks like a culture of fun and pleasure. Most Americans are living comfortably, indulging in a tantalizing array of food and drink, and entertaining themselves with high-speed Internet and hundreds of cable channels. And among many young singles, casual sexual encounters are the norm. We live in a … Continue reading

The Misadventures of a Catholic Husband and Father: My Miserable Valentine

Valentine’s Day has special meaning for me. My wife Libbie and I were college friends whose friendship blossomed into something more. Our first real date was the Valentine Ball at Duquesne University in 1974. In May of 1975 we were married. I’ve often told my wife that she is stuck with me as a husband but being my Valentine is a yearly commitment. I try to make Valentine’s Day special. I am happy to say that Libbie has been my Valentine for forty consecutive years. That is not to say that there haven’t been some rocky times along the way. … Continue reading

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

This Advent, as you prepare your heart for the coming of Christ, remembering that this liturgical season is a time for prayer and fasting can help simplify your priorities. In addition to prayer and fasting, why not also take time for study? These works can foster a spirit of anticipation for the Christchild: Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in particular paragraphs 359, 423, 461-464, 522-522-524, 840, 2853 On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius An in particular, please consider studying Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium For those with less time on … Continue reading

Lagging Behind the Times

It is supremely ironic that secular newspapers that take great pride in being in tune with the times, up-to-date and au courant, can be, when writing about the Catholic Church, 2,000 years behind the times. Pope Francis made the comment, “Who am I to judge?” on his flight back from World Youth Day in Brazil. The remark related to people with same-sex inclinations who are looking for God. Some secular newspapers found the Pope’s comment “novel,” but added that the Church, nonetheless, has not changed her doctrine “that homosexuality is a sin.” The Church, of course, has never taught that … Continue reading