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Iraqi Christians erect large cross in area liberated from ISIS...

After years of darkness, hope has returned to Telekuf-Tesqopa. Located just 17 miles from Mosul, the village is rebuilding after being liberated from ISIS. As a visible sign of the rebuilding, a giant cross was erected on a hill, marking the victory of the Christian faith against the darkness of the jihadists. On Feb. 18, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad...

Henry ‘Box’ Brown, the slave who literally mailed himself to freedom...

On March 30, 1849, a group of white men in Philadelphia breathlessly opened a wooden crate, carefully prying open the slats. Inside, was a black man. He was Henry Brown, a Virginia slave, who by unlikely and clever means had just completed a 27-hour journey. Brown had shipped himself to freedom. In a custom-made box—three feet and one inch long...

Mall chapel in New Jersey preparing to celebrate its last Mass...

The Catholic chapel at the Outlets at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, which for 47 years has been a secluded spiritual sanctuary in the midst of a suburban shopping mall, is preparing for its last Mass. The chapel will close after saying its final Ash Wednesday masses on March 1, the start of Lent, the holiest season for Catholics...

Where you should start looking for your lost keys...

If you’ve lost your keys, you might think it’s best to search in the most obvious, open areas before moving on to more cluttered areas. But a recent study suggests our peripheral vision is better than we think, and being so thorough while searching might actually be a waste of time.

I think I found the best anagram in English...

I planned to publish this last week sometime but then I wrote a line of code with three errors and that took over the blog. A few years ago I mentioned in passing that in the 1990s I had constructed a listing of all the anagrams in Webster's Second International dictionary. This was easy to do, even at the time, when the word list itself...

I’m convinced that we need good arguments, but I’m even more convinced that we need saints.....

Anyone even vaguely acquainted with my work knows that I advocate vigorous argument on behalf of religious truth. I have long called for a revival in what is classically known as apologetics, the defense of the claims of faith against skeptical opponents. And I have repeatedly weighed in against a dumbed-down Catholicism. Also, I have...

Why on earth did they start offering Mass “facing the people”?

There are several factors for why the altars got turned around. Before launching in, the great liturgical expert Klaus Gamber thought that turn altars around did more damage to Catholic identity than anything else after the Council. Also, I am leaving aside the blah blah that everyone has to add: “we have to admit that either way of saying Mass is okeydokey”...

What really happened at the fortress of Masada?

In 73 or 74 CE, 960 Jewish zealots – men, women and children – committed suicide on top of the mountain of Masada by the Dead Sea in Israel rather than be captured by the Romans. The story, told by the Roman historian Josephus, is one of the most famous from antiquity. But did it actually happen? Yigael Yadin, the late Israeli archaeologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who excavated the site in the mid-1960s...

Archbishop Charles Chaput: How to be a faithful witness in a post-Christian world...

In his nearly six years as archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput — just as he did as archbishop of Denver for 14 years and as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, nine years before that — has steadfastly maintained his primary role as a pastor and a teacher of the faith. In his many writings, he has also emerged as one of American Catholicism’s keenest observers of culture...

Stop arguing with people on Facebook, and start reading more good books.....

It is never too late to build a reading habit. In fact, if you quit social media, chances are you’ll be able to read 200 books per year, cover to cover. At least, that’s what Charles Chu suggests, in his article published by Quartz. You might feel reluctant to embark on what sounds like a speed reading exercise. After all, books are supposed to be thoroughly enjoyed...