World Youth Day and Religious Freedom

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I want to start by sharing a story. Once upon a time, a student at one of the world’s oldest universities took a break from her studies to visit the Catholic chapel on campus. As she sat there in silence”praying for a sick relative or trying to settle her nerves before a test”the chapel suddenly filled with noise. A mob of about seventy fellow students charged in chanting anti-Christian slogans. They shouted obscenities against the Church and insults about the Pope… . Continue Reading »

Catholic Charity in Secular America

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I would like to offer three reflections that focus on the “Catholic” identity of Catholic Charities and, by extension, the identity of all Catholic social work. First: What we do becomes who we are. A man who does good usually becomes good”or at least better than he was. A man who struggles with his fear and overcomes it and shows courage gradually becomes brave. And a man who steals from his friends or cheats his company, even in little things, eventually becomes a thief… . Continue Reading »

A Principled Charity

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The basis of Catholic social doctrine is quite straightforward. Speaking to Caritas International earlier this year, Raniero Cantalamessa said that “Christianity doesn’t begin by telling people what they must do, but what God has done for them. Gift comes before duty.” In other words, our love for God and our love for neighbor begin as responses to love we’ve already received… . Continue Reading »

Violent Video Games and the Rights of Parents

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Twelve years have passed, but very few Coloradans have forgotten the name of Columbine High School. I spent the days after the April 20, 1999, Columbine school massacre with my brother priests, burying the dead, visiting the families of victims and trying to make sense of the violence to the wider community… . Continue Reading »

Subject To The Governor Of The Universe: The American Experience And Global Religious Liberty

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In his World Day of Peace message earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI voiced his concern over the worldwide prevalence of “persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance.” We now face a global crisis in religious liberty. Christian minorities in Africa and Asia bear the brunt of today’s religious discrimination and violence, but Christians are not the only victims. … Continue Reading »

Open, Disarming, and Inevitably Misunderstood

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In his foreword to this remarkable book”structured as a conversation between Benedict XVI and journalist Peter Seewald”George Weigel praises the German Pope for his “frankness, clarity and compassion.” This is very true. It’s also an understatement. No serving bishop of Rome has ever spoken so openly and disarmingly as Benedict XVI does in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times… . Continue Reading »

Catholics and the Next America

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One of the key myths of the American Catholic imagination is this: After 200 years of fighting against public prejudice, Catholics finally broke through into America’s mainstream with the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy as president. It’s a happy thought, and not without grounding… . Continue Reading »