May 6, 2022  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

Did you know that Van Gogh sold only one work of art during his lifetime, yet in the last three months of his life, he painted, on average, one a day? Or that Caravaggio actually committed murder while he was completing some of the most glorious biblical scenes in history? There is evidential power of divinity in everything that has beauty. A new book by Russ Ramsey, a Presbyterian pastor and art lover, brings us closer to those artists who were touched by their faith to create masterpieces.

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March 18, 2022  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

We observe Lent in prayer, fasting, and giving alms. It can also be a season — a Passover of sorts — once in every year, of rest and reflection. For many this year, it can be a time of emergence from the disease, death, and sense of general despair all around us.

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February 4, 2022  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

Here is the long-awaited sequel to Rod Bennett’s celebrated “Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words,” a page-turning spiritual adventure following the lives and words of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons. “Four More Witnesses” invites readers to enter again the world of the early, influential Christian leaders and writers, this time meeting Hermas, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, and Origen.

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December 17, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

There have been quite a few adaptations of Charles Dickens’ literary classic “A Christmas Carol,” but there is one crucial element found in the original novel that is always omitted from the various film and animated versions. The morning after his confrontation with his past, present, and future, the first place the newly-reformed Scrooge goes is to church. Christmas for Dickens is not simply celebrated with figgie pudding and stuffed goose; it is venerated lest it fall into simply a sentimental, toothless (and truthless) holiday.

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November 19, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

With global supply chains stressed, and holiday travel appearing a possibility, we may yet find our holidays with loved ones, or the opportunity to give a gift to a loved one near or far away. We’re running our annual Christmas reading recommendations earlier this year, so you can brighten the heart of someone special — and perhaps get a book or two yourself for winter reading.

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November 5, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

Most of us know what we believe as Catholics, but often we’re unclear on why we believe it. That experience was true for me as well, having been raised as an infant in the faith and a product of Catholic education into high school. In college, however, when some earnest but misinformed Protestants showed me a few Bible verses about how Catholics were not “saved”, it was confusing.

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October 15, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

We have another chance this Advent. After nearly two years of death, sadness, and separation from those we love, we have another chance this Advent. We have the chance to get it right. “Of all the seasons of the year, Advent offers us perhaps the clearest sense of adventure and journey. It is a season for resetting our horizon, reframing our movement toward fullness in Christ. And even though Advent is brief, it is filled with spiritual riches.” So writes Father John Burns, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, both scholar and retreat director, but most of all a priest of Christ in the Catholic Church.

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September 17, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

The headline on the article published by the Pew Research Center was stunning: “Just one-third of U.S. Catholics agree with the church that Eucharist is body, blood of Christ.”

The article, which was published in August 2019, summarized the results of a Pew Research Center survey. The study focused on the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation, claiming that fewer Catholics than ever still believe in this core doctrine.

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August 20, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

It is imperative that all men — especially priests — be images of the unfalteringly generous father who is God. For men, it is vital to reflect the fatherhood of God in our dealings with everyone.

So counsels Father Jacques Philippe, beloved priest, and no stranger to the faithful in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. In his newly published book, “Priestly Fatherhood: Treasure in Earthen Vessels,” Father Philippe has words of encouragement and strength to priests and those who lead by the example of fatherhood everywhere.

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April 2, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

We are in a time of remembering and mourning those who have recently died during this pandemic, but death and its customary remembrances are a common enough occurrence of what we should all be mindful of in the achievements of notable lives around us.

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: God and the Pandemic

A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and its Aftermath
February 19, 2021  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

Although less lethal than the ancient plagues, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a global impact on our sense of well-being, and perhaps even our faith. Personally, there is still the little voice in the back of my mind that suggests that the year 2021 may yet have a few difficulties in store for us, and perhaps I am not alone. The Gallup organization reports the highest levels of mental anguish in 20 years in the United States, with similar results in the United Kingdom and Europe. As an ancient history amateur (and an actual participant as I age myself), religions have expanded during periods of extreme stress, a trend that provides grounds for a spiritual rebirth. How can we get there?

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Books for a New Year

Three Books to Renew Our Spirits for 2021
December 18, 2020  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

At this point in our global pandemic, we maintain hope in our Creator, we understand the manner in which this virus spreads and can take reasonable precautions, and have renewed encouragement from the science that has brought our world effective vaccinations which will be available in the coming year. No doubt we have all been touched by grief and loss, but we are of stronger stuff than those who grieve without hope. And so, we offer reading for the new year, intellectual engagement that will fortify and strengthen our spirits, early light to the beacons of hope that may yet shine upon our church, our nation, and our world.

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: Evaluating and Selecting A Catholic Bible

How to choose the edition and translation that will be most beneficial
November 20, 2020  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

St. Isidore, who served as the Archbishop of Seville in Spain in the seventh century, wrote, “Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. If we want to be always in God’s company, we must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us. All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.”

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THE CATHOLIC REVIEW: On Fraternity and Social Friendship

Pope’s latest encyclical is dense and wordy but does not deviate from Church teaching
November 6, 2020  |  By DEACON RICK BAUER

When we first heard that Jorge Bergoglio would be our pope, his devotion to his namesake, St. Francis, became an opportunity to learn more about this beloved saint. Pope Francis’ reflection on the care of creation and our shared earth, “Laudato Si,’” (2015), was titled after a song of St. Francis. And so, it was to be expected, on that saint’s feast day this year, an encyclical on human community and solidarity was signed by Pope Francis.

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