Understanding Our Church

A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith

Understanding Our Church

Explore this treasury of Arkansas writers discussing the Catholic faith on a wide variety of topics. Find what you're looking for by browsing the whole list or search by keyword or author. All articles have been reviewed for theological accuracy. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Advent season celebrates Christ coming to us now and at death
Father Jerome Kodell, OSB
As the new year begins, we are completing the time in the Church’s year of worship which highlights the Advent of the Savior.
Minor basilicas are not ‘mother churches,’ but worth exploring in U.S.
Kelli Nugent
There are four churches honored as major basilicas, the “mother churches” of Rome: St. John Lateran (cathedral of Church of Rome), St. Peter; St. Mary Major; and St. Paul Outside the Walls. These churches have a particular connection to the pope in history and in practice.
Beatitudes provide ‘ultimate blessedness,’ direction for living
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
When you hear the word “beatitude,” my guess is you think of the Bible passage in Matthew 5:3-12 from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Or maybe, you even expand the idea to include Luke 6:20-26, Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain in this Gospel.
In Catholic schools, ‘Christ is the reason’ should be more than a phrase
Father Erik Pohlmeier
In many parishes the end of summer is marked with packs of kids in new uniforms and fresh school supplies showing up with a mix of excitement and tears.
Confession not just avoiding sin, but growing relationship with God
Deacon Mike Cumnock
My introduction to the sacrament of reconciliation was not a particularly pleasant one. In those days, fear, the Baltimore Catechism and the sisters who taught in my school set the tone.
From mouths of babes about Pope Francis’ environment encyclical
Matthew Glover
As most of the world now knows, Pope Francis recently published an encyclical entirely on the environment. Since I cannot hope to surpass his divinely inspired wisdom on this topic, I thought it best to consider a different source of wisdom: the mouths of babes.
Understanding God’s mercy helps us celebrate Year of Mercy
Deacon Chuck Ashburn
On the second anniversary of his election to the pontificate, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary holy year, a Jubilee of Mercy that will last from the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, 2015, through the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 20, 2016.
God wants all of us to be saved, even people or groups we do not like
Kelli Nugent
A few years back I had just finished my confession and was leaving when I made a snarky remark to the priest: “Well, if Z continues to do what Z is doing, then I won’t have to worry about Z in heaven.” I know, smug, presumptuous and judgmental on my part.
Holy Week cleaning tradition still relevant in our homes, spiritual lives
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
Did you know that spring cleaning practices go way back in our faith tradition and are associated with Holy Week activities?
Do not be sorry for apologetics teaching; focus on its hopeful message
Matthew Glover
The field of Catholic apologetics has gotten a bad rap in some circles as of late. Some of that may be well-deserved. To be sure, apologetics is not the end-all and be-all of living a fully Catholic life.

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