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Opinion

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 […]


Cultivating a broader understanding of violence

On one point, I think most of us, especially Christians, can agree: Violence is bad. And yet we often don’t recognize violence in all its forms. Apart from our com­mon understanding, violence is also defined as: “strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive force.” In a broad sense, violence could include emotional manipulation, yelling, […]


Loving our neighbor even when it’s confusing

The Lord tells us that everyone is our neighbor — the stranger, the sad-faced child, the loner, the drunkard, the prostitute, the leper, the sell-out, the natural enemy. That means that everyone is worthy of our love and care, and no one is unworthy. It is so, so easy to spout this Chris­tian message. Every […]


Where are the deaconesses?

In May, Pope Francis indicated his willingness to establish a commission to study deaconess­es. He was asked by a religious sis­ter who is a member of the Interna­tional Union of Superiors General, an organization that focuses in part on the role of women in the Church. That there were female deacons in the early Church […]


What’s up there on your family tree?

My cousin Pat has a long-standing addiction to Ancestry.com. At a dinner the evening before my mother’s funeral, she announced that we have a family connection to Millard Fillmore. Frankly, I knew little about him except that he was one of the portraits on a U.S. Presidents puzzle we had when I was still wearing […]


Overcoming writer’s block and the roadblocks of life

I don’t usually get writer’s block. Often, days before a column is due, an idea germinates. I play around with the idea in my mind before I sit down at the computer. And, if I’m lucky, the words spill out on the page. Other times, I sit down to write without a clue what I […]


Males only?

Perhaps the last un-shattered “glass ceiling” is female ordination in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Pope Francis recently announced he would estab­lish a commission to investigate the nature of the early Church “deacon­ess” role. It should be noted that in the same breath Pope Francis warned against clericalizing the laity, assuming those who serve in […]


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