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Category: Reflection

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“Fargo” and the Problem of Evil

Last summer, I took it upon myself to watch as many great films as I could, based on several “best movies” lists. No matter the decade or the genre, I wanted to immerse myself in the most celebrated movies of...

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The Sower and the Seeds: A Timeless Parable

A reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday, July 12, 2020. If Jesus walked among us today, I wonder what parable he would preach? Amidst the pandemic, the social unrest, the racial inequalities, the dehumanization of the human person, the...

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To Preserve Culture Is To Kill It

To attempt to preserve a culture is the surest way to kill it. Like a flower that is pruned so it can be put on display, cultures begin to die when they are removed from their roots. The Catholic culture...

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Gnosticism: When Is a Mystery Not a Mystery?

In my last essay, I took aim at Pelagianism, a heresy from Late Antiquity, which Pope Francis has frequently targeted in its perceived modern forms in his teaching. In this essay I will discuss Gnosticism, the other major heresy whose...

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Statues and Living Stones

A culture can grow barren when it “becomes inward-looking, and tries to perpetuate obsolete ways of living by rejecting any exchange or debate with regard to the truth about man.”  — Pope Francis Querida Amazonia 37 (quoting St. John Paul...

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Peter is the Church’s source of unity

Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, so obviously we could not let today go by without mentioning the patronal feast for our website! Pope Francis delivered a wonderful homily today, recalling how today’s First Reading, from the...

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Pelagianism: A Heresy for All Seasons

In the late fourth and early fifth centuries AD, a monk and theologian known to history as Pelagius advanced a novel understanding of the relationship between free will and grace. Pelagius, who hailed from somewhere in the British Isles and...

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The Ongoing Pandemic of Child Abuse

The COVID-19 pandemic is easing in some areas, increasing elsewhere, and settling into an ongoing reality everywhere. At the same time, the United States is facing a reckoning with our terrible legacy of racism following the killing of George Floyd...

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Pope Francis, Thomas Merton, and the false self

In his address to the US Congress in 2015, Pope Francis mentioned the prominent American Trappist monk Thomas Merton, describing him as “a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for...

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Catholic women: witnesses of peace

“Even in the face of serious social discrimination, holy women have acted ‘freely,’ strengthened by their union with Christ. …In every age and in every country we find many ‘perfect’ women (cf. Prov. 31:10) who, despite persecution, difficulties and discrimination,...

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Richard John Neuhaus on obedience to the pope

One of the alarming aspects about the sometimes overwhelming resistance by conservative Catholics against Pope Francis is that they are not only putting their political and religious ideologies above the Church, but they are—unwittingly or not, and apparently without awareness...

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A cloud of witnesses: the fulfilled life of a remarkable priest

Somewhere in what we have come to call the cloud, a joyful ninety-two-year-old priest is blogging from the dead. Father John Jay Hughes, who died June 3 after a brief illness, lived a remarkable life. Descended from John Jay (the...

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May we be profoundly shaken

For the past couple of weeks I have taken up Pope Francis’s recent encouragement that we read his encyclical Laudato Si. I’m ashamed to say that I’d never read it before, but I decided that now is as good a...

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In the Holy Spirit, there is harmony

The Lord comes to meet us with his promise: I will send you the Spirit, the Comforter, the One who speaks to you in the depths of your being. I will send you the Holy Spirit. This is obviously an...

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Masks Are Not a Symbol of Fear

Two recent viral videos that circulated on Twitter recently underscored just how divisive mask-wearing has become. The videos themselves might elicit embarrassment-by-proxy and certainly aren’t reflective of everyone who chooses not to wear a mask, but these videos are emblematic...

Mercy for me, but not for thee

“At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them—in this case the...

Selfless Love and the Theology of the Body

In commemoration of the 100th birthday of St. John Paul II, I wanted to reflect briefly on one aspect of his teaching, the monumental “Theology of the Body.” Presented in a series of 129 Wednesday Audiences proclaimed to the lay...

“Feed my sheep”: A power ordered to service

“The words, ‘Feed my sheep’ show Jesus’ intention to guarantee the future of the Church he founded under the direction of a universal shepherd–Peter–to whom he said that by his grace he will be ‘rock’ and will have ‘the keys...

Queridas Afroamericanas

“The Synod for the Amazon was historic; no previous synod was as synodal and reform-oriented as this one.” — Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM A year and a half ago, I could hardly have dreamed of giving heed to an “Apostolic...

We will be judged on this

 I was in prison and you visited me. — Matthew 25:36 In Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Miserables, the protagonist Jean Valjean is released on parole and given a yellow identification paper that said to all he met that he was...

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