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Catholic in America: Politics and Misrepresentation Over ‘Conversion Therapy’

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The Michigan Catholic

April 17, 2015

Al Kresta

olitics organizes our common civic life together. In contrast, the sciences figure out how the material universe works. Questions about evolution, global warming, the cause of dinosaur extinction (I’m told it wasn’t smoking or drinking but perhaps some other lifestyle issue) or whether homosexuals can be “converted” into heterosexuals are scientific, not political or theological, questions. Such questions cannot be settled by popular vote, political decree or Scripture quotes. Nevertheless, President Obama is politicizing science and wants to outlaw “conversion” therapies for Continue Reading

Catholic in America: Jewish Conductor Recalls Powerful Influence of St. John Paul II

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The Michigan Catholic

March 31, 2015

Al Kresta

“Music comes where words fail” said St. John Paul II to American Jewish conductor Sir Gilbert Levine. I recently interviewed Levine and delighted in his story of their relationship and collaboration. It was wonderfully improbable and bore all the markings of a providential appointment.

A Brooklyn-born Jew, Levine was 40 years old before he ever met a Catholic Continue Reading

Catholic in America: Looking for Happiness? Find God. He has it.

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The Michigan Catholic

March 20, 2015

Al Kresta

In the spring of 203, a new era in human happiness began. A young North African woman was taken into custody by Roman soldiers in Carthage, in modern Tunisia. Her name? Perpetua, 22 years old, from a good family, educated, married and nursing a child. She and a small group of companions, including her personal slave, Felicitas, defied the emperor’s decree forbidding conversion to Christ. They were promptly rewarded with a violent death.

On March 7, Perpetua, Felicity and their group was fed to wild animals, mauled, Continue Reading

Catholic in America: They Asked Me How I Pray

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The Michigan Catholic

March 6, 2015

Al Kresta

A friend told me he had been to a blog which featured a section called, “How I Pray.” He added that another friend of mine, Steve Greydanus, a film critic whom I interview regularly, had challenged me to write a similar column. When I said that sounded a bit strange, he said it would be even stranger not to respond, since apparently this blog feature was getting a lot of traction.

The first question was: “What is your prayer routine for an average day?”

Questions about my personal prayer life make me anxious for two reasons. First, Jesus Continue Reading

Catholic in America: ‘Fifty Shades’ the Product of a Romantically Bankrupt Culture

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The Michigan Catholic

February 20, 2015

Al Kresta

From a cheesy bit of anonymous fan fiction with vapid characters, ludicrous plot and insipid writing, “Fifty Shades of Grey” morphed into a Harry Potter-size marketing phenomenon. When the dust settles, however, we’ll discover it was little more than a self-generated, incestuous bit of media marketing foreplay without the grand socio-sexual climax promised by its boosters or prophesied by its critics.

The “Fifty Shades” franchise is a marketing windfall, but a cultural dud. One can Continue Reading

Catholic in America: We Must Understand Mindset of Jihadism

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The Michigan Catholic

February 6, 2015

Al Kresta

Two weeks ago, I asked a crowd of 650 educated Catholic CEOs and their spouses if they had ever seen Osama bin Laden’s 1998 Declaration of War, in which he quotes the Qur’an against U.S. actions in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Not a single hand went up. This result would be repeated in almost every gathering of American Catholics in spite of the easy access we have to these documents online or in print.

Fourteen years after 9/11, we remain stunningly ignorant of what former British Prime Continue Reading

Catholic in America: Martin Luther King Jr. was flawed, but does it matter?

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The Michigan Catholic

January 23, 2015

Al Kresta

Martin Luther King Jr. is a hero to most Americans. Every child is taught to look up to, if not revere, him. Every rights movement polishes itself with some of King’s shine.

But, given King’s almost universal stature as a modern saint for secularists and Christians alike, we do well to remember that he was, like the rest of us, deeply flawed. His gifts of courage and leadership, as has been said, coexisted with the intellectual sin of plagiarism and the marital sin of adultery. What do we Continue Reading

Catholic in America: 2014: What hast thou wrought?

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The Michigan Catholic

December 26, 2014

Al Kresta

It’s late December, and the close of another year. Of what have we been concerned, and what have we learned, in 2014?

Torture: Senate Democrats recently released a report criticizing the CIA for using “torture” to extract information from detainees. The debate revolved around the definition of “torture.” The debate is an old one.

World War I, the “Great War,” experimented with new destructive devices: machine Continue Reading

Catholic in America: Beginning to restore the divided Church of Christ

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The Michigan Catholic

November 26, 2014

Al Kresta

“Reformation Day” is celebrated by Protestant Christians on Oct. 31. As a former Protestant pastor, I use it to thank God for the disciplines of Scripture study, personal prayer and evangelism that I learned in Protestant circles. In time, however, questions forced upon me as a pastor made me reconsider the wisdom of the Catholic Church and the nature of the Protestant Reformation.

I asked myself: “Would Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, or Henry VIII now regard Continue Reading

Catholic in America: Was the Reformation good or bad for Christendom?

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The Michigan Catholic

November 14, 2014

Al Kresta

What Americans do on Oct. 31” would make a fun documentary or feature comedy.

For most Americans, Oct. 31 is the playful “trick-or-treat” Halloween we all loved as children. A smaller number of observant Catholics still observe All Hallow’s Eve, or the vigil of All Saints Day. Some Protestant fundamentalists and Pentecostals warn against “Halloween” for fear of opening oneself up to demonic influence. Toward the end of the 20th century, a tiny number of Celtic neopagans and Wiccans decided to reinvent Oct. 31 as the allegedly pre-Christian pagan holiday of Samhain. But for a significant number of serious Protestants, it remains “Reformation Day.”  Continue Reading

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