Author: Daniel Amiri

Argentina: A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

Guardini is not the only influence on Pope Francis, of course.  Pope Francis’ theology seems heavily influenced by his pastoral work in Argentina. That is to say, Pope Francis’ theology is pastoral in nature, and it is also shaped by his experiences in Argentina. Pope Francis’ biography on the Vatican website is eager to mention that Francis is a “simple pastor.” Like St. John Paul II, he has an acute awareness of and sympathy with...

Romano Guardini: A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

While well-educated and academically trained, it can be said that Pope Francis does not belong to any one “school.” He is not strictly an “Augustinian” or a “Thomist,” though he cites Aquinas quite liberally. However, one person to whom we can likely grant a place of honor is Romano Guardini, to whom Francis devoted his doctoral studies. Guardini, of course, was one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century whose work heavily influenced...

A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along that way on wings of hope. Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei It has been suggested before that...

The Perils of Theologizing Human Culture

What does a completely divinized culture look like? Will everyone pray the Divine Office? Will they go to Mass daily? What liturgy will be celebrated?  What clothes would be acceptable to wear in everyday life? The idea of a culture rooted in Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is inherently attractive. United together in faith, we can leave our human sinful ways behind along with all the trappings. We can shed...

Suffering is a Part of Holiness

Humility can only take root in the heart through humiliations. Without them, there is no humility or holiness. If you are unable to suffer and offer up a few humiliations, you are not humble and you are not on the path to holiness. The holiness that God bestows on his Church comes through the humiliation of his Son. He is the way. Humiliation makes you resemble Jesus; it is an unavoidable aspect of the imitation...

The Church: A History of Reform

I’m currently making my way through James Hitchcock’s History of the Catholic Church which succinctly summarizes the main developments of the Church over its 2000 year history. One thing this brief survey of the Church has taught me is that the Church is always in need of reform. Four Views of History In broad terms, I have learned that there are four main theories or ways to view history: two secular, two rooted in faith....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...