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.

Growth of adult faith formation in our parishes is exciting
Sister Susan McCarthy, RDC
More and more the Church is experiencing a great paradigm shift in faith formation in parishes throughout the United States and Canada. Formation, which in the recent past has been focused on young children and adolescents, is now being directed to adults.
U.S. bishops can’t justify the use of military force in Iraq as a ‘just’ war
Charles T. Sullivan
On Sept. 13 of this year, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops presented an open letter to President George W.
Saints across the millennia: Friends of Christ and our allies in prayer
Jerre Roberts
As a child, the first creed of the Church that I learned was the Apostles’ Creed. My understanding was rather shallow, as would be expected of a 7 year old preparing for her first Communion, but there was one image in the prayer that fired my imagination. That was the communion of saints.
The sacraments are encounters with the saving mysteries of Christ
Charles T. Sullivan
The word sacrament comes from a Latin translation of the Greek mysterion, which was used by the early Church Fathers to express the “mystery of God in Christ.”
Praying the Scriptures adds an ancient tradition to reading, study
Father Raphael Kitz, OCD
In the last paragraph of Vatican II’s document on divine revelation there is an important recommendation.
With ability to recognize the difference, we are able to choose good
Father Andrew Smith
In his seminal work of theology, the “Summa Theologiae,” St. Thomas Aquinas examines many questions regarding our belief in God and our relationship to one another.
True stewardship gives generously from gratitude more than guilt
Eleanor Henley
Contributions to the Church, whether to the local parish or to diocesan drives, have not kept up with inflation in recent years. Catholics, as a religious denomination, give half as much as their Protestant brothers and sisters.
Novenas: Nine-day faith journeys remind us on loss, preparation
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
Have you ever said a “novena?” Maybe as a child in parochial school, or attending Mass on nine consecutive first Fridays, or maybe you prayed one recently? These devotions of mourning, of yearning, of prayer, of hope are a part of our Church’s tradition.
Reconciliation with God reconciles us with community, Church, self
Judy Hoelzeman
When my mother started getting forgetful in her early 80s, she sometimes asked me to help her write a list of sins before she received the sacrament of reconciliation. Her idea of what was sinful and mine didn’t match, of course, so we didn’t collaborate very well on this project.
The fruit of the Spirit: The power to forgive in an outrageous world
Abbott Jerome Kodell
In March 1996 seven Trappist monks in Tibherine, Algeria, were kidnapped from their monastery at midnight by masked intruders who were later identified as Islamic militants. The decapitated bodies of the monks were produced two months later.