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 »

Sex and Tradition

In a few carefully argued pages in his recently translated The Crisis of Modernity, the Italian Catholic philosopher Augusto del Noce explains the “ascendance of eroticism.” Del Noce died in 1989, but his account could have been written yesterday. He illumines why Fifty Shades of Grey . . . . Continue Reading »

Issues Beneath Issues at Synod 2015

Written from Rome: Since Pope Francis announced that two Synods would examine the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family and work to devise more evangelically dynamic responses to that crisis, a lot of attention has focused on issues of Catholic discipline: How does the Church determine . . . . Continue Reading »

Synod on the Family

The following is a preview segment of R. R. Reno's “The Public Square” from our upcoming November issue. Another segment can be found here. A group of bishops from around the world gathers in Rome this week. The synod’s topic is the family. But the underlying issue is . . . . Continue Reading »

Instrumentum Laboris

Last fall, in preparation for this fall’s Synod on the Family, an extraordinary synod met in Rome. Between that meeting and this year’s, a Vatican-­appointed committee produced a document. It’s called the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document to guide deliberation. Reading it is a ­depressing experience. It reminds me of how weak Catholicism’s ­intellectual culture has become, at least in some official circles.