Sifting Interior Movements of the Heart

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving … [Read more...]

Self-esteem: Biblical or Distracting?

Self-esteem is a relatively modern concept that has been elevated to the point of an all-important virtue by pop psychology, perhaps the virtue in which all others can be found. Christians need to make sense of the word from their own … [Read more...]

Simony in Spiritual Direction?

When I mentioned this thesis to my classmate, he deemed it “peculiar.” I had to apologize after shouting, “My thesis isn’t peculiar, what’s going on is peculiar!” My thesis is that direct, monetary payment to a spiritual director from … [Read more...]

Mercy is a Serious Matter

Pope Francis announced a "Holy Year of Mercy" which began on Dec. 8, 2015, and will end on Nov. 20, 2016. Many imagine that a year of mercy means that people can lift their arms up to the heavens, crying out for God's mercy, and a … [Read more...]

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order: A Short Meditation on the Call to Penance

Today there is a new international discussion about Secular Franciscan identity, and the future direction of the Order. The General Chapter of 2014 asked for a “period of serious reflection, involving all members of the Order,” on the … [Read more...]

Writing that Connects with Parishioners

In an essay about his father, William Buckley, Christopher Buckley wrote that he noticed that the parts that sounded most characteristic of his father were actually added to the drafts late in his process of writing. His father, a famously … [Read more...]

A Pastoral Approach to Bullying

In a little over a two-month period, two men in our city killed themselves because of what can only be called “bullying.” Shortly after the New Year, a student, attending a high school I had attended and taught at decades before, ended his … [Read more...]

Transsexual attractions and sexual reassignment surgery

Given the early age at which youth seek treatment for transsexual attractions (TSA) and gender dysphoria, and given the serious risks associated with such treatment, it is essential that family and youth be advised about these risks, and … [Read more...]

Late Summer Reading

Unity in the Church or The Principle of Catholicism. By Johann Adam Möhler. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1996). 487 pages. $34.95. ISBN: 978-0-8132-2876-1. Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law. By J. … [Read more...]

Being Single in the Church

In the 2015 film, Brooklyn, there are a number of scenes in which young Eilis Lacey, a recent immigrant from Ireland, goes to several dances organized by her local church. There, she and her friends are courted by young gentlemen, one of … [Read more...]

Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools

How do Catholic schools best serve students who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (popularly called “transgendered”)? What should a school’s policies prescribe in order to prevent confusion, disputes and even … [Read more...]

Evangelization & Scripture: The Pastoral Prerequisites for Mass

The Sacred Liturgy is “an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ” by which the sanctification of mankind is “signified by signs” “and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs … it is a sacred action … [Read more...]

Ideas for Pastoral Ministry from the Philosophy of Love of Dietrich Von Hildebrand

My Encounter with the Philosophy of Love of Dietrich Von Hildebrand In the year 1958, I was a young atheist philosophy major about to give up on finding truth or love—as I couldn’t find either truth or love at the non-religious … [Read more...]

Like a Tree Planted by Rivers of Water

With issues that arise in any given culture for the Church, the theologian cannot separate the tradition of dogmatic teaching from pastoral mission. The first Psalm calls the man, who takes his delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on … [Read more...]

Catholic Men, the Spiritual Life, and Our Growth in Holiness-Perfection

A Catholic Christian spiritual life has often been described in terms of “ways,” “stages,” “degrees,” and “conversions.”[1. See, e.g., among many books on the topic, Fr. John J. Pasquini, Light, Happiness and Peace: Journeying Through … [Read more...]