From the devil to digital archives — the Church covers it all

Did you know that when it comes to religious teachings, many people, Catholics included, are far more likely to believe in the existence of things like God, miracles, heaven and angels rather than the existence of hell and the devil?

It’s true. The numbers can be found broken down on Page 12 in our In Focus this week about the devil. (My apologies in advance for the snake, but it really puts a face to the topic.) If you find yourself in this category of unbelievers, perhaps you will have changed your mind by the time you make it to the end of the story. Carl E. Olson methodically presents the Church’s case, outlining Church teaching, citing references to the devil in Scripture and offering teaching on the Evil One by several recent popes.

Based on a long passage in the Book of Revelation, St. Michael the Archangel, whose feast the Church celebrated Sept. 29, is the one we turn to for assistance in our fight against evil. According to Matthew Bunson’s Encyclopedia of Saints, he is considered “the supreme foe of Satan.” As such, we include the prayer to St. Michael on Page 11 to use for our own protection and that of our loved ones.

Editor's preview of this week's issue

But it’s worth noting that St. Michael is also considered an “angel of healing” and is credited with stopping outbreaks of plague and the healing of the lame and sick. He shows us that fighting evil walks hand-in-hand with being saved. One leads naturally to the other.

Also in this week’s packed issue, we cover California Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to veto SB 131, which would have suspended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases for private institutions in the state (Pages 5 and 19). We also have an update on the HHS mandate (Page 4), and Greg Erlandson writes a column about his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University, and the waves it has been making regarding abortion coverage (Page 18).

Finally, I attended a recent conference on the digitization of Catholic materials. So many fascinating Church documents once available only in (sometimes remote) libraries can now be accessed through the click of a button. Resources include the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives at Catholic University in Washington, and archives at the University of Notre Dame.

A really cool example of digital archiving are the letters and chaplaincy school notebook of New Orleans Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, available to flip through at oldursuline These aren’t just transcribed copies, but the actual scrawling correspondence, complete with “Dear Everybodys” and postscripts. A truly fascinating read — all at the click of a button. Hope you enjoy.