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Does it make a difference to know poor people?

Can you can honestly say you know a person by name who is living in poverty?

Read the encounter of Michael Jordan Laskey, director of @Life and Justice Ministries for the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, with the people experiencing homelessness in Lower Manhattan and take our survey!

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Read: The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis

Mercy, mission, and money will certainly be continuing themes of this pope’s teaching, and, while it remains to be seen how the church might change under his leadership, The Church of Mercy gives some clues to where Francis might lead. One hopes the journey will be every bit as surprising and inspired as the choice of leader.

Read more of this book review.

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Remember: Everyone on the Internet is a real person.

The last time I checked, people don’t walk down the street pointing and laughing at their neighbors. When someone trips, we rush to his or her side to offer an arm up instead of replaying the incident a dozen times. If someone loses a loved one, we offer our sympathies at the funeral and help in the healing process. So why do people use the anonymity of the Internet and social media to be disrespectful?

Zelda Williams and cyberbullying in surprising places

Image: ©morgueFile/taliesin

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Our belonging to God, our holiness, is certainly not dependent upon our marital status.

So how do single Catholics respond to verses like, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18) or “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil” (Eccles. 4:9)?

One woman’s reflection on her intentionally single life:

Flying solo: Life as a single Catholic

Image: Flickr photo cc by Jim Pennucci

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Suicide is a risk even for beloved characters like Robin Williams.

Read more of how a “universally beloved” entertainer’s suicide “speaks to the power of psychiatric illness.”

The upcoming October issue of U.S. Catholic features an article on suicide and what the Catholic Church and other organizations are doing to aid those who are recovering from the loss of a loved one by suicide. Subscribe today to be the first to receive this issue.

Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the U.S.

Image: Flickr photo cc by Eva Rinaldi

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Granting ourselves an indulgence is sometimes the best penance for our sins.

When I entered the confessional that day I assumed I would be absolved of whatever transgressions I chose to reveal. From what I’ve been told, Father Charles has never been known to withhold his forgiveness and mercy. He understands the frailties of human virtue. He knows about the appetites of the flesh. In fact, I’ll wager he has surrendered to a few of them himself. So I expected to be forgiven. I did not, however, expect to be pitched into a full-blown midlife crisis as penance.

Read more of our short story: Absolution

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Do Catholics believe in the Rapture? What will happen to us when Christ returns?

The second coming of Christ will be much different than how folklore and pop culture say it will happen.

Here’s what Catholics believe.

Image: Flickr photo cc by erozen

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Flesh may be weak, but our skin is what holds us together and keeps us human.

The early gnostic Christians wanted God without the mess of incarnation, and that impulse lives on in our disembodied digital culture of unseen “friends” and “conversations” without voice and touch. Orthodox Christianity, however, has always held that the body is not just a costume for the spirit, but integral to the human being. You don’t have a soul; you—blood, flesh, and all—are a soul. The sacred is embodied, and the body is sacred.

Out-of-body experience: Artificial intelligence

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Does it make a difference to get to know the poor you’re serving?

“Well, if he was out here tonight, he must be having a pretty rough go of it. How many people do you think walk past him everyday without even making eye contact or asking his name?” Brother Giuseppe said. “Maybe it’s better look someone in the eye and learn their name than it is to hand over a five-dollar bill and turn away.”

Read more and take our survey.

Image: Flickr photo cc by Marcelo Cesar Romeo Augusto

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"The greatest gift the church offers to single people is a place to belong. God calls us and takes us as we are, and singles need to be reminded that our presence among the body of Christ is sufficient on its own. We each bring a unique set of gifts, passions, personal history, and a myriad of relationships. Our belonging to God, our holiness, is certainly not dependent upon our marital status."

- Beth Knobbe, in “Flying solo: Life as a single Catholic,” which appeared in the August 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic magazine.