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Holy Impatience

From Web Exclusives

Some years before he was elected pope, Joseph Ratzinger was asked what he thought about the health of the Church. He answered that she was doing very well; she was just a lot smaller than most people thought. He was exactly right. We need to think of the Church in our age as a seed of life embedded in layers of dead tissue. We also need to distinguish the Church in the emerging world from the Church in developed nations… . Continue Reading »

Fighting for Religious Freedom

From Web Exclusives

Earlier this spring I had the privilege of being asked to take part in the funeral of Chuck Colson. Because of other pastoral duties, I couldn’t attend. But the invitation meant a great deal to me. Chuck embodied what it means to be a Christian leader. He was a man of faith, wisdom, humility, and courage. These are easy virtues to list. They’re much harder to live”but Chuck did live them, and he cultivated them in others through the daily witness of his own actions… . Continue Reading »

Yeshiva Lessons

From the Aug/Sept 2012 Print Edition

When the prophet Isaiah spoke to the Jewish people and said, “You yourselves shall be named priests of the Lord, ministers of our God shall you be called,” he was addressing all of God’s people. So when the Church proclaims this same Word of God in the Catholic liturgy, God, through those . . . . Continue Reading »

Launching the Fortnight for Freedom

From Web Exclusives

I’ve known Greg Erlandson as a friend for many years. So I was glad to accept his invitation to join you tonight. And I’m very glad to speak on the theme of religious liberty because events in our country have made it an urgent concern. I can sum up my remarks tonight in five simple points. First, religious freedom is a cornerstone of the American experience. This is so obvious that once upon a time, nobody needed to say it. But times have changed… . Continue Reading »

Catholics and the American Future

From Web Exclusives

My theme focuses on Catholics and the American future. But sometimes the best way to look at the future is through the lens of the past. One of the most sacred symbols of the Roman state was an altar to the goddess Victory. It stood in the Roman Senate for nearly 400 years. In a.d. 382, a Christian emperor removed the altar as idolatrous. Two years later, after his death, the pagan prefect of Rome”Quintus Aurelius Symmachus”wrote one of the most interesting letters of Late Antiquity… . Continue Reading »

World Youth Day and Religious Freedom

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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 »