Author: Daniel Amiri

7

How to Choose a Church

I am truly fascinated by conversion stories because conversion is predicated on a reorientation of the heart itself, a fundamental change in how one sees and approaches the world that may require shunning close friendships, family, and careers. As a Catholic, it certainly is a source of pride in my Church to know that its faithful and perennial witness on a number of moral issues has led people to embrace the Catholic Church as the...

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The Lord Speaks in Silence: A Reflection on Prayer

“Holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent.” When I was younger, I often thought of prayer as more or less a mental exercise. I don’t even think I called it prayer, but it was about the closest thing I came to it. My “prayers” constituted nothing more than self-reflection, with perhaps the Golden Rule and other general godly aphorisms sprinkled in like spice. In the worst times in my life, these “prayers” mimicked...

2

Pastors Must Listen

In my last two pieces, I discussed how pastors are called to preach the truth of the faith and the laity are called to listen to their teachings. This fundamental relationship between pastors and the laity is a bedrock of the lived Catholic faith. While individual pastors can be weak, sinful, poor speakers, or possess any number of other faults, the Church has not provided “exceptions” to the respective roles of pastors and laity in...

12

Sheep Gotta Sheep

Yesterday, I outlined the role pastors play in helping to form our consciences. Because the teaching office of the Church has been established by Christ and is preserved by the Holy Spirit, we are called to be sheep and to listen for the voice of Jesus in our pastors.  But what happens when we reject our role as “sheep”? Anecdotally, I have heard from at least a few people who distrust the Pope that they...

25

Pastors Gotta Pastor

The Christian faithful need pastors to guide them in the truth, to help form their consciences, and to call them to greater holiness. In the past weeks (regarding the synod), years (regarding Francis’ papacy), and decades (regarding the post Vatican-II Church), many Catholics have rejected their pastors, falling into a state of categorical distrust of the Church under the guise of conscience. It’s true: the Church gives the conscience a high place.  Our experience of...

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Stating the obvious (on marriage and family)

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Can parish life make me holy?

I serve on my parish council at a church in an affluent suburb of St. Louis. Our parish typically gives a generous amount toward various fundraisers, including Archdiocesan special appeals, parish appeals, and missionary and service efforts, locally and abroad. It certainly is a lot to be proud of and I’m so happy to be part of such a generous parish. But the work of building parishioners up in holiness is never-ending, and any critical...

2

The Heart of Francis

The modern western world claims to be thoroughly empirical, so it is a wonder that our culture still clings to fanciful concepts like the “heart.” In this case, I don’t mean “heart” in any biological sense, of course, but rather in its more spiritual connotations.  A pop singer on The Voice might talk about “giving their heart” or “protecting their heart”.  And how can we forget that Black Eyed Peas hit, “Don’t Phunk with My...

5

Out of the Garden

To live in the freedom of Christ is to live in hope, peace, and joy. Yet, during our earthly life, our Christian freedom is constantly in danger, through our own sinfulness, the temptations of the world, and our own human weaknesses.  Some can have confidence, through various signs, that their lives are permeated with the grace of God, but all risk creating in themselves attitudes of self-assuredness through pride. We cannot claim to “possess” what...

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We Confess a Holy Church

In my 32 years of life, most of the serious doubts about my faith have arisen primarily from confusion about the Church’s teachings and from a immaturity regarding spiritual matters. The present crisis affecting the Church is something different. I have true hope in salvation, and I feel the grace of God working in my life attracting me to greater holiness. Even still, recent developments–the abuses and pervasive coverup program recently unveiled to the public,...

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Walford: God Envelops the Soul Disfigured by Sin

I feel certain that this book will be helpful to families. I pray for this. These are the words of Pope Francis whose letter to Stephen Walford is included as the preface to his new book, Pope Francis, the Family, and Divorce: In Defense of Truth and Mercy. The goal of the book, as Walford states in his interview with Mike Lewis for Where Peter Is, is to defend Francis’ work, but also “offer help...

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Douthat Chronicles a Nonexistent War

Ross Douthat’s book, To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, is, as far as criticisms of Francis’ papacy go, well-written and enjoyable to read. As a conservative, I have appreciated Douthat’s writings on other topics as I have found them to be challenging, insightful, and nuanced. Sadly, this is not the case with this book. Daniel AmiriDaniel Amiri is a Catholic layman, finance professional, and armchair theologian. A graduate of theology...