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A spirituality for society

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final column in a series on Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhorta­tion, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). The Francis Effect is what writers like John Gehring have termed the influence of the pope on politics and Catholic life. He notes what we all know: that the policies supported […]


Youth put tithing in perspective as a privilege to participate

Noah and Garrett — brothers who attend middle school youth group — have started a busi­ness mowing lawns. Last week, I was talking to their older sister, Kate, about how they were doing. She shared that they were adding new clients, hoping that by the time they were in high school they’d have a full-time […]


What makes marriage work?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third column in a series on Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Whenever celibates start talk­ing about sex and marriage, there are inevitable guffaws and yawns. The presumption is that one who hasn’t walked the walk has nothing to contribute to the talk. There is […]


Christ On The Cross, by Mihaly Munkacsy
Jesus shows the way to navigate a world amidst fear and evil

Terrorism attacks. Mass shootings. Deadly floods, droughts, and fires. This is the stuff of nightmares. Our world, both distantly and intimately, can be terrifying because of threats both known and unknown. Of course, the reason we are so aware of dangers is that we live in a time of instantaneous communication. News reports arrive across […]


Directional origins in the liturgy

Pope Francis’ Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Wor­ship recently caused a stir when giving a conference asking priests to consider facing in the same direc­tion as the assembly while offering some prayers at Mass. The Congregation, which Cardi­nal Robert Sarah guides, is respon­sible for regulating the celebration of the liturgy in the Roman Catholic […]


Mercy is a fountain to extinguish the blaze of sin

Editor’s note: This is the second column in a series on Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Read the first column, Teaching young people how to navigate love and terror, here. Somehow people thought that Pope Francis might redefine our Catholic understanding of sexuality and matrimony. When that did not […]


An Eastward controversy

In July, the head of the Vatican’s Divine Worship department ignited controversy. Robert Cardinal Sarah’s talk focused on Vatican II’s desired achievements with liturgical reforms. Liturgical scholarship, renewal and pastoral theology progressed for over a century to produce Vatican II’s first document, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy left most specific ideas to […]


Teaching young people how to navigate love and terror

Editor’s note: This is the first column in a series on Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). This series on “Amoris Laetitia/ The Joy of Love” would have started elsewhere if we had not faced yet another onslaught of ter­rorism and hate crimes. However, as one looks back on this […]


True leaders follow the Gospel message about loving your neighbor

A few weeks ago the teens and I attended a summer camp in Tennessee that had a focus on service. For three days we spent our mornings doing yard work and main­tenance for the elderly and those in need, in a neighborhood that looked a lot like any street you might drive down in your […]


Landscape with Noah Offering a Sacrifice of Gratitude; Joseph Anton Koch, 1803
De Colores (made of colors)

An immediately recognizable element in divine worship is the use of differing colors. From vestments to altar cloths, the Liturgy uses color to reflect God’s glory and our own human disposi­tions. The very first thing God created was light. The light spectrum able to be seen consists of seven basic colors further divisible into thou­sands […]


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