The Three Necessary Societies

Rerum Novarum (1891) begins with this sentence: “That the spirit of new things [revolutionary change], which has long been disturbing the nations of the world, should have passed beyond the sphere of politics and made its influence felt in the cognate sphere of practical economics is not . . . . Continue Reading »

The Merciful Grace of the Truth

At the Easter Vigil a few weeks ago, tens of thousands of men and women, mature adults, were baptized or entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Each of them walked a unique itinerary of conversion; each of these “newborn babes” (1 Peter 2.2) is a singular work of the Holy Spirit. . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis Delivers

In the days leading up to Francis’s recent Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laeititia, one would have thought that a seismic shift in Catholic theology was about to take place. The New York Times wrote excitedly, “Liberals . . . are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Holy Family

Of the Passover festival in Jerusalem, St. Luke concisely reports, “When the festival was ended, Jesus stayed behind but his parents did not know it” (2:43). Of course they didn’t know it. They are parents. What makes anyone think they knew anything at all? The twelve-year-old Jesus decided to . . . . Continue Reading »

Divorce and Communion

There were only two occasions in my life as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that required disciplinary ministry with a church member. One was gossip; the other was sex. The first didn’t get beyond private admonition by the pastor, me. That’s what the pastor does in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Saints and All of Us

Written from Rome: Amidst all the Sturm und Drang of Synod-2015, something genuinely new in the life of the Church began, and it shouldn’t escape our notice. For the first time in two millennia, an entry in the liturgical books will now read, on the appropriate day, “Saints Louis and Zélie . . . . Continue Reading »

A Family of Saints

If there was one serene moment amidst all the ecclesiastical discord at the recent Synod in Rome, it was when Pope Francis canonized Therese of Lisieux’s parents, commending them to the faithful:The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin practiced Christian service in the family, . . . . Continue Reading »