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Our Secular Theodicy

I live in Berkeley, one of the most religious cities in America. Its churches are being converted into mosques and Buddhist temples, but its one true faith endures. A popular yard sign states its creed: “In This House, We Believe: Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No . . . . Continue Reading »

Pope Francis's Words of Affirmation

During a recent televised video conference hosted by ABC’s 20/20, Pope Francis spoke to several American Catholics who had personal testimonies to share. Among them was seventeen-year-old Valerie Herrera, a student at Chicago’s Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. She has long struggled with . . . . Continue Reading »

Imperfect Goodbyes and the Hope of Resurrection

I was on the phone with my mother the moment when my grandmother died. The two of them, along with my father, were together in the living room of the house where I grew up in Arkansas. My grandmother, having fallen and broken her hip a few weeks earlier, had been brought home, and for several days . . . . Continue Reading »

Adoption, Abortion, and a Message of Hope

On Saturday morning, my wife and I took our children to pray outside the Planned Parenthood clinic near our home in Nebraska. Nearly 700 other people joined us—praying on their knees, singing songs of praise, and holding pro-life signs for passing cars to read. Among the signs, I noticed several . . . . Continue Reading »

Stubborn Hope

The worst sinner in Christian history was Judas Iscariot. Of course he betrayed Christ and handed him over to his death. That was bad. But far worse was his internal conviction that things couldn’t get any better, that he and his situation were irredeemable.This is a great analogy for our own . . . . Continue Reading »

A Cape of Good Hope

In his recent piece, SOS, my colleague Dominic Bouck, O.P., argued that the Church is much like a ship plying the ocean currents en route to her heavenly destination. I was particularly struck by a lengthy quote from Tertullian describing the apostles in their storm-tossed boat: That little . . . . Continue Reading »

Homily for the Mass for Francis Cardinal George

The world must have seemed upside down when the disciples left the holy city Jerusalem. Jerusalem was believed to be the “true pole of the earth, the great king’s city” (Ps. 47:2). It was supposed to be God’s dwelling on earth, the city of David, where the Messiah was expected to reign and restore Israel. And yet, the one who they believed to be Messiah and Redeemer had come into Jerusalem, only to die. Now everything was in question. Their disappointment rings through to this day with startling clarity: “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel” (Lk. 14:21). We were hoping…A similar lament can be discerned in modern society, in which Christendom gives way to a “post-Christian” world. Perhaps not surprisingly, these words also speak to a profoundly disintegrating experience for any individual: angst. Reflecting on the mental world of the disciples, Cardinal George once commented: “Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we can feel that we are victims of time, fate, circumstances and external factors. We might even feel that our world is caving in on us…[The disciples] were caught in expectations they thought were now doomed…But [they] were wrong to give up on their hope.” Continue Reading »

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