Fortnight for Freedom: Why Now?

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On June 21, the night before the Catholic Church traditionally remembers the martyrdom of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More at the hands of King Henry VIII, American Catholics will begin a unique two-week vigil of prayer, sacrifice, and public witness for the cause of religious liberty. The “Fortnight for Freedom” was called by my brothers in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it will conclude with the ringing of bells in churches all across the country on July 4, the memorial of our country’s independence… . Continue Reading »

Faith and our Fathers

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Some years back, Stephen Gabriel’s A Father’s Covenant, a book aimed at young fathers, came out. The book consists of a series of aphorisms and promises for fathers to meditate on to help them grow in their relationships with their children, their wives, and God. These promises range from the solemn to the funny, and one made me laugh out loud: “I will play Chutes and Ladders with enthusiasm!” It reminded me of my childhood; it was a game my father used to play with my sisters and me all the time. But there is real wisdom in that promise… . Continue Reading »

A Time for Catholic Action and Catholic Voices

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Last Thursday in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a remarkable address to a group of visiting American bishops. He praised America’s founders for their commitment to religious liberty and their belief that Judeo-Christian moral teachings are essential to shaping citizens and democratic institutions. The Holy Father warned that our heritage of religious freedom faces “grave threats” from the “radical secularism” of political and cultural opinion leaders who are “increasingly hostile to Christianity.” … Continue Reading »

Defending Our First Freedom

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We are slowly losing our sense of religious liberty in America. There is much evidence to suggest that our society no longer values the public role of religion or recognizes the importance of religious freedom as a basic right. As scholars like Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon and Michael Sandel have observed, our courts and government agencies increasingly treat the right to hold and express religious beliefs as only one of many private lifestyle options. And, they observe, this right is often “trumped” in the face of challenges from competing rights or interests deemed to be more important… . Continue Reading »

To Live Each Day with Dignity

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The euthanasia movement in our country is gaining strength and momentum. The reasons for this are complicated, but at its root, this movement is driven by fears that many of us share. The fear of pain, suffering, and death. The fear that one day we might lose our mental capacity or bodily functions. The fear of becoming a burden on others. Or of being left alone to die in some institution, hooked up to expensive machines… . Continue Reading »

A Heroic Witness to Holiness

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Blessed John Paul II was a witness to the power of holiness in history. He showed us the beauty and heroism possible in the human person redeemed by Jesus Christ and living as a child of God. Holiness is the key to understanding his witness for our times. He was a poet, a philosopher, and playwright… . Continue Reading »

To Seek God in the Spirit of Truth

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This essay is adapted from a commencement address delivered on May 16, 2008, to the students of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., is a great servant of our Lord and his Church. He has long been a kind of hero of mine: for his humility and moderation, and for . . . . Continue Reading »