Tagged: Gaudete et Exsultate

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What did Pope Francis say about rigid priests?

In an address to bishops in Madagascar, Pope Francis warns his audience not to let the fear of not enough priests justify them being undiscerning in priestly formation and accept men into the priesthood who aren’t striving for holiness. He says, “I appreciate your efforts to ensure the formation of authentic and holy workers for the abundant harvest that awaits us in the field of the Lord.” Then the pope goes on to warn against...

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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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Where Peter Is – LIVE (sort of, not really)

I was asked to give a talk about Pope Francis at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While I’m only one member of the WPI team and this isn’t an official WPI event, I wanted to let you all know about this event and extend an invitation to any faithful readers in the West Michigan area. The talk is on Sunday, July 21st (3:00pm- 5:15pm, Mass to follow) and the title is: Transformed...

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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...

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...

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....

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...

Holiness isn’t about trying harder

I’ve noticed that “growing in holiness” is usually presented by popular Catholic media as something like “We just gotta pray more and try harder, then the Lord will make us holier.” As if becoming holy will take a lot of work, but God makes it possible. Similarly, we often speak of grace as sort of a spiritual vitamin or, as one book I recently saw put it, “The Eucharist gives me the energy to pursue...

Ignatius: A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

Finally, we should not neglect the importance of Francis being the first Jesuit pope. In many respects, it appears Francis’ Jesuit background has had an important influence on Pope Francis’ theology. Given the Jesuits lengthy history and its varying roles over time, it would be merely superficial to draw the many parallels between Francis’ papacy and the Jesuit order broadly. Rather, the goal here specifically is to focus on the parallels between Francis’ writings and...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...