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A number of years ago, a local pastor, a classmate of mine, asked me to give a Lenten talk at his parish on the topic of sin. In introducing me to the congregation, the priest explained that he had asked me to speak on sin because I was such an expert on the subject! It's a claim I can't deny. But in truth, we're all experts on sin. Sin is all around us; we can't avoid it. We live in sin and sin in us. "Sin is present in human history," The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains. "Any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile." (#386) more
Recently we observed the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, without a doubt, a good and noble cause. Recall that at the Last Supper Jesus prayed for His followers, "that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you." (Jn 17:21) And, in his encyclical on ecumenism Pope John Paul wrote: "All the faithful are asked by the Spirit of God to do everything possible to strengthen the bonds of communion between all Christians and to increase cooperation between Christ's followers." (#101) Along the same lines, however, it occurs to me that we should also have a "Week of Prayer for Catholic Unity," for even within our own Catholic family there are divisions and fractures. How often we see the sad spectacle: members of the faithful divided into special interest groups, separated from one another and lobbying for their own agendas; the laity disillusioned with their pastors, bishops and institutional Church in general; priests formed into cliques, estranged from their brothers, distant from their bishop, disdainful of Church teachings and disciplines; bishops with their own priorities, publicly divided over strategies and policies. more
Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. (Eccl 11:9) The headline in PARADE magazine revealed some of the best news I've heard in a … more
The annual observance of Catholic Schools Week, January 29 to February 5, provides our diocesan Church with a special opportunity to emphasize the important mission of Catholic schools, to renew our support of our schools and to express our profound gratitude to all who are generously committed to their success. more
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die. (Eccl 3:1-2) more
What to buy for a man who has little and wants even less? That's the question I've pondered ever since I met the Dalai Lama last month at Salve Regina University in Newport. more
I wonder what emotions filled the heart of our Blessed Mother Mary as she awaited the birth of her son in that first Advent. And it was Advent, to be sure. Oh, I know, there were no Advent wreaths or purple vestments. No one sang "O come, o come, Emmanuel." And certainly the tiny shops of Bethlehem weren't filled with shoppers looking at glitzy Christmas things while "Jingle Bell Rock" played in the background. But for Mary it was Advent, the first Advent, the best of Advents. more
There is spreading in every part of the world a sort of practical and existential atheism ... The individual person, all bound up in himself, finds himself ever more bereft of that "supplement of soul" which is necessary for him ... There is no longer a need to fight against God; the individual feels he is simply able to do without Him. (Pastores Dabo Vobis, #7) more
You probably remember the parable Jesus told about the man who prepared a great feast for his family, friends and neighbors. When all was ready, he sent his servants to gather the invited guests. They refused to come, however, each offering an excuse: one had to check-out a new field he had purchased; another had to test-drive some new oxen; a third had just married and wanted to stay home with his bride. The master of the house then ordered other strangers to be invited so that his house would be filled and the banquet not wasted. (Cf. Lk 14:15-24) more
It seems to me that public opinion polls always have to be approached cautiously. So often the results are influenced by subjective factors: Exactly how were the questions phrased? Who was asking the questions? Did the pollster have a personal agenda? How were the participants in the poll selected? more
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