Author: Daniel Amiri

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Catholics Are Irrelevant

I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have become. Actually, it’s worse than that. I wonder if Catholics realize how irrelevant we have made the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the sowers of the Gospel all locked inside the walls of an insular Church, the devil is ravaging the fertile soil that could have borne fruit. The countryside is being choked by thorns and and we seem content to argue with each other about...

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Consider the Man

If you follow the news, especially Church news, you likely understand that there are few places on the internet or in the public square where faithful, orthodox Catholics can find respite. Anecdotally, it appears that there is a growing sense of discontent or even of despair. Pope Francis seems to be addressing this tendency in Christus Vivit: “Young people, do not let the world draw you only into things that are wrong and superficial. Learn...

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Colleen Carroll Campbell: Finding Perfection in God

The Heart of Perfection: How the Saints Taught Me to Trade My Dream of Perfect for God’s, Colleen Carroll Campbell’s new book, correctly diagnoses a spiritual problem afflicting millions and millions of Catholics, especially in the United States where rugged individualism is prized. In the book, she describes a crippling pathology of control, that she calls “spiritual perfectionism,” that manifests itself in common attitudes such as hurriedness, impatience, and pride. Spiritual perfectionists are perhaps best...

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The Rights and Responsibilities of Christians

This past Sunday, Church-goers heard one of the most well-known Christian tales, the story of the Good Samaritan. Like all of Jesus’ parables, each layer of meaning contains a wealth of wisdom about the faith and our relationship with God and each other.  For his part, Pope Francis, in his Sunday Angelus, chose to reflect on one aspect of this story that’s worth highlighting here.  Francis said, “[Jesus] brings about a reversal in regard to...

14

False News and What We Can Do About It

Where do you get your news? It’s funny how the answer to a seemingly innocent question can reveal so much about the person we’re talking to. Whether you read Vox, The Atlantic, or National Review; watch MSNBC, CNN, or Fox; or read the National Catholic Reporter, Catholic News Agency, or LifeSite News, revealing what sources you turn to can be like opening up a window into the soul.   In some ways, the media companies...

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Book Review: Sunday Will Never Be the Same

Dawn Eden Goldstein’s new book, Sunday Will Never Be the Same, is a captivating work of storytelling, but you would miss the point if you thought it was just her story. Sure, Goldstein recounts her life’s trajectory with evocative vignettes. We learn in visceral detail about formative childhood experiences, her absorption into the rock music scene of 1980s New York, and her development as a professional rock historian. In a delicate way, Goldstein also opens...

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Grace and Mercy Is Everything

What is grace, and how exactly does grace “work”? I don’t want to suggest to anyone that I have the full answer, but over the last few years, Pope Francis’ theology has reminded the Church, in important ways, about what grace actually is and what it is not. When I say, “Pope Francis’ theology,” I am primarily referring to the way Pope Francis prioritizes Mercy, the essential, most foundational proclamation of the Christian faith. Pope...

sentire cum ecclesia

Do you believe everything the Church teaches? But do you really?   When candidates make their profession at the Easter Vigil, they are asked, “Do you believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God?” The question cannot really be asking, “Do you in fact have specific knowledge of each and every thing that the Church teaches? If so, do you assent to those teachings?” It’s...

Preaching the Faith with Beauty

Recently, on Twitter, Steve Skojec described the existence of a de facto schism in which “two different and incompatible churches are occupying the same space at the same time.” He expressed a desire to see this de facto schism declared as such “de jure” or under church law.  Without really addressing the content of the comment itself, it certainly raises the question: why is it so hard for people of the same religion to agree...

Are You Called to Social Media?

Bishop Robert Barron has a wonderfully fresh perspective on social media and its use. See here and here. He criticizes the technology sharply, but he also embraces its more positive characteristics, even to the point of celebrating it as a spiritual phenomenon. But is it really possible to use social media well? Can one be on social media without impacting one’s moral or spiritual life? There are a few challenges to the good use of...

Christ Is the Path to True Manliness

In recent years, there have been several movements and programs designed to appeal to men’s innate desire for authentic masculinity, but have they been truly successful? In their desire to lead men from their enslavement to sin to true freedom in Christ, are they focusing too much on the external manifestations of “manliness”? One of these new programs is Exodus 90. It was produced by Those Catholic Men, an organization “with a passion for men’s...

We Are Called to Be Perfect

There is a dangerous attitude prevalent in the world that suggests we are completely responsible for our own transformation. Whatever we become, whatever we achieve, it is because of our human efforts–exclusively. In a Christian context, we call this Pelagianism. Those who embrace this attitude might think that the primary difference between us and the Saints is that the Saints worked harder, studied harder, and made more intense sacrifices, for which God then blessed them....

Don’t Kill Their Joy

Pope Francis often makes a clear distinction between what he sees as a cold recitation of the Church’s doctrine and a vibrant encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. One of the clearest statements along these lines was in Amoris Laetitia, in which Francis wrote, “Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would ‘indoctrinate’ that message, turning it into ‘dead stones to be hurled at others’.”...

The Joy of Holiness

Does God want us to be happy? Does God want us to feel happy? To answer the question, first let’s take a look at Scripture. Father Lawrence Boadt, in his book Reading the Old Testament, shows how the biblical texts, even from a historical critical perspective, reveal the deep insights of the human authors of Scripture. Surrounding the ancient Israelites and the Jewish people were in fact a number of pagan cultures who had their...

Christus Vivit: Calling All Young People

“Young people can help keep [the Church] young,” says Pope Francis in his new Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit.  “Young people can offer the Church the beauty of youth by renewing her ability to ‘rejoice with new beginnings, to give unreservedly of herself, to be renewed and to set out for ever greater accomplishments’.” (Paragraph 37) This brief survey of the document is not meant to replace a full reading. Do not be deceived by the...

Forsaking the Fountain of Living Water

“Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights” (Laudato Si’, 30). The problem of the scarcity of clean drinking water in many regions illustrates the need for an international organization with “real teeth” that can properly serve, with the consent of nations, as an agent for justice (cf. Caritas in Veritate,...