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If I had been asked a few days ago, “What CWR articles were mostly widely read and viewed in 2013?’, I would have guessed that articles about the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Francis led the way.

And I would have been wrong.

Two of CWR’s most read stories of 2013 were about Pope Francis, but the top story—and by a surprisingly large margin—was a September blog post by Italian journalist Alessandra Nucci about Trappist nuns in Syria.

And Nucci’s piece on the charismatic renewal movement is next, followed by pieces about in vitro fertilization, marriage and homosexuality, Pope Francis’ teaching about salvation, comedian Jim Gaffigan, the new pontiff’s coat of arms, Satanism, Islam,The Great Gatsby, churches in Chicago, and the challenge of internal division in the Church.

Here they are, with authors, dates, and links:

1. A letter from Trappist nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts” (Sept 1, 2013) — by Alessandra Nucci. A translation of a letter written on the 29th of August, in which a small groups of Trappist sisters, who moved to Syria in 2005, describe their dire situation and wonder at what Western leaders will or will not do.

2. The Charismatic Renewal and the Catholic Church (May 18, 2013) — by Alessandra Nucci. A look at the history and future of the sometimes-controversial movement

3. Church teaching on in vitro fertilization (Nov. 29, 2012) — by Jim Graves. A short description of what the Church teaches on the matter, drawing a steady stream of readers from the time it was posted in late 2012.

4. Jesus, Marriage, and Homosexuality (June 29, 2013) — by Leroy Huizenga. About how the early Christians, following the lead of Jesus, doubled down on traditional Jewish sexual morality.

5. Pope Francis teaches that everyone is saved! Wow! (Hold on. Wait a second.) (May 23, 2013) — by Carl E. Olson. Did the new pontiff break radical new ground in comments about redemption?

6. Jim Gaffigan on Fatherhood for the Recovering Narcissist (Aug 07, 2013) — by Thomas P. Harmon. A review of the comedian’s new book, Dad is Fat, which has a delightfully subversive message on fatherhood and the family.

7. Pope Francis’ coat of arms and motto, explained (Mar 18, 2013) — by Catherine Harmon. Exactly what the title says; apparently there are more than a few coat of arms enthusiasts out there.

8. “Satanism is about destroying the Church” (Mar 25, 2013) — by Jim Graves. The story of a woman who journeyed from Satanism to the Occult and back to the Catholic Church, eventually finding hope and healing through Christ and the sacraments.

9. Christianity and Islam: Cooperation or Conflict? (Apr 21, 2013) — by William Kilpatrick. A review of Robert Spencer's book, Not Peace But a Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam.

10. How Great is This Gatsby? (May 22, 2013) — by Thomas M. Doran. A review of Baz Luhrmann’s new film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

11. Eleven Churches Not to Miss When You Visit Chicago (July 20, 2012) — by Jim Graves. In a city shaped by immigrant communities, beautiful historic churches reflect the faith and hard work of generations of Catholics.

12. A Diabolical, Nostalgic Plan (Oct. 24, 2013) — by Michael Coren. "Division. We love it, we relish it, we eat and drink it, we splash around in the bath of it."

 
About the Author
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Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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