Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia from Where I Stand

Philip Larkin lamented that whether or not anybody refills your drink at a party “seems to turn on where you are. Or who.” In our divided Catholic Church, pastoral care is a lot like Larkin's cocktails. Catholics who sincerely desire to submit themselves to the Church they love come to their . . . . Continue Reading »

The Breath of Mercy

A mother shouldn’t have favorites, but I have often observed that she inclines more to the child who is sick or more vulnerable than the rest. The more fragile the child, the fiercer the love of the mother. The strong and healthy ones outgrow her solicitous nurturing, and she can do no more for . . . . Continue Reading »

Shying Away from Mercy

Though mercy is a Christian virtue, our post-Christian society shies away from relying on it. Lenient criminal sentences, pardons, and debt forgiveness all seem to undercut the demands of justice and public safety. We now speak the language of rights, instead of mercy, to justify helping the needy. Social programs have displaced Christian charity, and generic ­do-gooder benevolence has sup­planted mercy.
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The Meaning of Christian Mercy

When Pope Francis announced his Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, now underway, he accompanied it with a beautiful papal bull, Misericordiae Vultus, which disappeared almost as soon as it was issued.Fortunately, in his new book, The Name of God is Mercy, co-authored with Andrea Tornielli, Francis . . . . Continue Reading »

A Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has announced a jubilee Year of Mercy, starting December 8. He is hardly the first pope to stress the importance of mercy. John Paul II spoke about it often and eloquently. But Francis has a special passion for the virtue, likely rooted in his experience of the poor and his affection . . . . Continue Reading »

Mercy in a World Gone Mad

The day after the brutal terrorist attacks in France by ISIS, French President Hollande gave his country’s immediate response:My dear compatriots. What happened last night in Paris, and in Saint Denis by the Stade de France, is an act of war. . . because it was attacked cowardly, shamelessly, . . . . Continue Reading »

We've Been Warned

After a papal visit that provided a welcome rest from the cynicism of our hyper-political culture, coverage of the Pope has devolved into the familiar stories of spin and political speculation. It’s a let-down, all this anxious squabbling over whom the Pope truly represents, but it probably gives . . . . Continue Reading »