The Most Important Day of Your Life

During talks around the country in recent years, I’ve been asking Catholic audiences how many of those present know the date of their baptism. The high-end response is a little under 10 percent. The average is about 2 to 3 percent. This, brethren, is a problem. You know your birthday. You know (or . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering Two Great Bishops

We American Catholics are, in the main, notoriously uninterested in our own history. So it likely escaped the notice of many that December 3 marked the bicentenary of the death of John Carroll, one of the greatest who ever lived among us. The adjective “first” is applied to John Carroll more . . . . Continue Reading »

The Pope's Visit

When Pope Francis arrives in America next month, he will undoubtedly find a very different country than did Paul VI, John Paul II, or Benedict XVI.In the past decade, the culture of death has gained momentum (even as pro-life marches and valiant efforts to chip away at it continue), the sexual . . . . Continue Reading »

John Paul II and “America”

In the years preceding the Great Jubilee of 2000, John Paul II held a series of continental synods to help the Church in different locales reflect on its distinctive situation at the end of the second millennium, and to plan for a future of evangelical vigor in the third. These Special Assemblies were easily named in the case of the Synods for Africa, Asia, and Europe. But when it came to the Synod for the western hemisphere, John Paul threw a linguistic curveball that made an important point. Continue Reading »

Evangelizing Christians

If baptism isn’t just a symbol of initiation but is an initiation, then Zach was already a Christian. God’s seal had been impressed indelibly on his soul. The inky divine thumbprint declared, “Mine.” He was adopted into God’s family, inducted into the knighthood of worship.Not that anyone . . . . Continue Reading »

Remember the Prisoners

“Nobody criticizes us. We have no enemies,” Warden Burl Cain tells me as the servers load our plates with Big Lou’s brisket, ribs, chicken, grits-n-shrimp casserole, and baked beans. “I have the number for the head of the local ACLU on my cell phone, and she has my number on hers.” Continue Reading »