The Man Who's Become Benedict

By Lawrence Cunningham

A few weeks after the 2005 election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the Bishop of Rome, a spate of instant books by self-described expert Vatican watchers appeared. Most repeated the same banal cliches about the new pope: He was a lover of classical music and fond of cats as well as an enforcer of orthodoxy who had wielded considerable power under the papacy of the late lamented John Paul II.…

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Stairways to Heaven

By Lawrence Cunningham

As soon as the dust settled at ground zero in New York City and the scope of the 9-11 tragedy became apparent to all, makeshift shrines began to spring up near the site and at adjacent fire houses.

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As We Forgive Those

By Lawrence Cunningham

The Jewish writer Elie Wiesel tells a beautiful Hasidic story about forgiveness. A wealthy Jewish timber merchant in Eastern Europe settles into a train carriage, the story begins. Just before departure an aged, somewhat unkempt, malodorous rabbi settles into the same compartment. Throughout the journey the merchant pointedly, and with fastidious disdain, ignores the old man. When the train arrives at its destination, the merchant sees hundreds of people milling about in eager anticipation. He discovers that the object of their devotion is the old rabbi whom he had so rudely snubbed. The rabbi, he learns, is widely regarded in pious communities as a living saint who possesses profound wisdom and a reputation as a healer.…

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