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Second Vatican Council Announced

On this date in 1959, Pope John XXIII announced that he would be convening an Ecumenical Council — the first in almost a century — within the Catholic Church. The announcement of this “Second Vatican Council,” or Vatican II, shocked and disturbed the Church leadership as it implied that the Church was imperfect, thus contradicting […]

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My Path to Atheism

by Alan Rutkowski I RECENTLY HAD an epiphany: I don’t believe in God. For a very long time — most of my life, actually — I sort of thought I did. Religion has played a big part in my life. For some reason my mother, who was not religious at all, sent my sister and […]

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December 27: The Righteous Nun

Sister Sara Salkaházi, who saved the lives of some hundred Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust, was murdered by the Arrow Cross, the pro-Nazi party of Hungary, on this date in 1944. Salkahazi, born in 1899, was a teacher, journalist, and worker-activist before she took vows in the Sisters of Social Service in 1930. During […]

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Kvetching about Judaism in “Café Society”

by Elliot B. Gertel WHILE WOODY ALLEN’S movies can be formulaic, this has rarely prevented him from telling a good story and providing interesting characters. But except for the fine cast and the enchanting luster provided by new production partner cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, Café Society comes across simply as a checklist for many a Woody […]

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May 4: Jews and the Hussite Wars

Jan Hus, a Bohemian priest and religious reformer who inspired fifteen-year war of defense (1419-34) against crusaders sent by the Catholic Church, was declared a heretic on this date in 1415. Hus was a key predecessor to the Protestant Reformation and was burned at the stake for it later that year. The Hussites were viewed […]

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January 2: The Empress Eudocia in Jerusalem

Aelia Eudocia, a pagan Greek aristocrat who converted to Christianity in 421 when she married the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, was declared ‘Augusta’ by her husband on this date in 423, a title that elevated her power in the royal court. In 438, Eudocia Augusta journeyed to Jerusalem, where she would ultimately live the final […]

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June 10: The Jewish Archbishop

Archbishop Theodor Kohn of Olomouc (Olmütz), a province of Czechoslovakia, was forced by Pope Pius X to resign on this date in 1904 because of his Jewish background. Some sources say that Kohn’s grandfather had converted to Catholicism; others say that Kohn himself was born Jewish. He was ordained a priest in 1871, at 26, […]

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June 24: The Mortara Affair

The Mortara Affair began on this date in 1856 when a contingent of papal police kidnapped 6-year-old Edgardo Mortara from his parent’s apartment in Bologna because Church higher-ups had learned that the child had been secretly baptized by a maid five years earlier when he was seriously ill. Edgardo was whisked to Rome, “adopted” by […]

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