Author: Paul Fahey

Yet another reason to mistrust the pope

Over the weekend I saw many people speaking out in frustration over Pope Francis putting Cardinal Cupich of Chicago on the planning committee for the February meeting in Rome addressing the abuse crisis. Those critical of this appointment are, unsurprisingly, conservative American Catholics who generally distrust the pope already. They are presenting Cupich’s appointment as yet another reason to doubt the pope and this upcoming meeting. This mistrust of Cupich largely rests on three recent...

#USCCB18 and the McCarrick Documents

During the US bishops conference this week, my bishop, Bishop Boyea, put the following proposal to vote: “Be it resolved that the bishops of the USCCB encourage the Holy Father to release all the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the misconduct of Archbishop McCarrick.” After around a half hour of debate this proposal was voted down 83-137. You can read about the debate over this proposal here or...

The Virtue of Not Being Weird

The Christian ideal will always be a summons to overcome suspicion, habitual mistrust, fear of losing our privacy, all the defensive attitudes which today’s world imposes on us. Many try to escape from others and take refuge in the comfort of their privacy or in a small circle of close friends, renouncing the realism of the social aspect of the Gospel. (Evangelii Gaudium 88) Recently I was talking with a friend of mine about different Catholic...

Bishop Barron on Amoris Laetitia and the JPII Generation

I love Bishop Robert Barron. I just listened to his talk from the World Meeting of Families last month in Ireland where he spoke on chapters seven, eight, and nine of Amoris Laetitia and I noticed two things.First of all, in an hour long talk he spends all of five minutes on chapter eight because he sees it as obviously non-controversial. Bishop Barron explains the most contentious teaching in Amoris in his book, “To Light...

Mortal Sin: the Consequences of Confusion

A common confusion I see among Catholics is a misunderstanding of mortal sin that conflates mortal sin and grave matter. This misunderstanding has serious consequences and distorts the very heart of our faith.  Concerning mortal sin, the Catechism says: “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to...

Modern Pharisees and the Abuse of Freedom

There’s an image that I would like to use as a framework for this article. Imagine the moral life as a garden, an oasis surrounded by a wasteland. We, the persons in that garden, have everything that will make us truly happy, yet we all have this disordered desire to go out into the wasteland. So God set up a fence around the garden, a clear barrier between life and death so that we would...

To whom shall we go?

“Do you also want to leave?” That’s the question that Jesus poses to Peter and the apostles at the end of the Gospel reading today. In light of the horrors detailed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report of the unimaginable abuse of children and systematic cover up by bishops, many Catholics have recently been asking themselves this question. Beyond this present scandal though, this is a question that I would dare to say most Catholics...

The Gay Scapegoat, an Exercise in Unjust Discrimination

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has taught that men who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or men who support “gay culture” should not be admitted to seminary. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this (though that’s easy for me to say). It isn’t a ban on all gay men, only those gay men exhibiting deviant or immoral behavior. All men who exhibit or promote abusive, deviant, or unchaste behavior...

The Supernatural Vision of Fr. Kolbe

I believe it was sometime in June when I signed up to write the reflection on this particular day. To be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to what the readings were or the feast day, I just picked a day that worked with my schedule. So I was surprised when I realized after the fact that it was the feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Though I shouldn’t have been surprised, it’s not the first...

The Foolish Mercy of Accompaniment

For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25) Step back for a minute and think about what we believe as Catholics. The...

Breaking News – Pope Changes Church’s Teaching on the Death Penalty

This is exciting! The Catholic Church has officially changed its teaching on the death penalty. Pope Francis, via the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, updated the Catechism. The Catechism now states: 2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. Today, however, there...

Transgenderism – An Apology

I want to apologize. Back in 2015 I attended a conference hosted by Courage, a Catholic apostolate for persons with same-sex attraction and their families. One of the talks during that conference was by Deacon Patrick Lappert, MD, a plastic surgeon, about the Catholic perspective on Transgenderism and gender reassignment surgery. At the time I was really impressed with his presentation and argument. I took notes and after I got home I found a similar...

Judging the Insignificant, Domesticating the Mystery

One of the advantages of working at a parish is that I rarely have a good excuse for not making it to Mass once or twice during the week. This morning the visiting priest reflected on the first reading during his homily and it resonated with what I have read recently from Pope Francis. The reading was from 1 Kings and told the story of God sending Elijah to go stay with a widow who...

Everyone’s a Little Bit Gnostic

Have you ever thought that you could convince someone to become Christian or Catholic? Have you ever thought that if you could articulate the best argument for something that people would just have to believe you? Have you ever thought that simply by telling someone a fact that you were adequately showing them the truth? Have you ever thought that apologetics, having the right answers, was all that’s necessary to evangelize someone? Have you ever...

St Paul’s Letter Against Pelagianism

Pope Francis appears to to be pretty concerned with something called “Pelagianism.” He has made multiple references to it throughout his pontificate, including his new Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, and recently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document specifically addressing Pelagianism in the Church today. Pelagianism is a 4th century heresy, a false teaching taught by an Irish monk named, you guessed it, Pelagius. And Pope Francis says that this...

Humanae Vitae: truth, accompaniment, and culpability

Therefore, it must be emphasized once more that the pastoral intervention of the Church in support of the family is a matter of urgency. Every effort should be made to strengthen and develop pastoral care for the family, which should be treated as a real matter of priority, in the certainty that future evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church.” …The Church’s pastoral action must be progressive, also in the sense that it must follow...

Mary Mother of the Church – Same mother, new feast

Back in February of this year Pope Francis gave the Church a new feast day. Every year the day after Pentecost is now the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has urged priests to make celebrating this memorial a priority and he said that the readings the Church chose for this feast “illuminate the mystery of spiritual...

Humanae Vitae: An anniversary is an awful thing to waste

“We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life. We find it difficult to present marriage more as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfilment than as a lifelong burden. We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond...