What does it mean to be “pastoral”?

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 The term “pastoral” comes from the Latin, pastor, meaning “shepherd,” and thus refers to the work and concern of the shepherd for his sheep.   In the current ecclesiastical jargon, what is the meaning of the word … [Read more...]

The Homosexually Oriented Person and the Church

pro-gay demonstration collage

Holding that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God, the Church most certainly does not condemn homosexual persons ... (but) condemns using human sexuality for purposes contrary to that for which it is divinely intended … [Read more...]

“You Can Always Give Them Kindness”

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Fr. Robert C. Cieslinski was a priest in the mold of St. John Vianney ... He was self-effacing and humble, but realistic. “It is unusual to see so many people at the funeral Mass of a diocesan priest, especially one of his … [Read more...]

Shepherding the Irascible Sheep: Anger, Fear, and Fortitude

Shepherding-Rooney photos 8-24-12

By dealing with our anger and fear in a healthy way, we develop the virtue of fortitude (a key component of patience). Focusing on the character of fortitude provides guidelines to dealing with clients that encourages proper use of fear … [Read more...]

Positive Psychology and Pastoral Practice

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The interventions advocated in positive psychology show, not just a surprising overlap with pastoral theology, but can also be used to deepen and aid Christian practice. Are psychology and religion fundamentally incompatible? … [Read more...]

Razing the bastions, yet again

In his 1952 Razing the Bastions (Schleifung der Bastionen) Hans Urs von Balthasar challenged the Church to replace any posturing of fear with a more world-friendly embrace.[1. Han Urs von Balthasar, Razing the Bastions, trans., Brian … [Read more...]

The will of God

Over the years, in reading the lives of the saints, I have noted that they have tried to find God’s will in their lives. When they found it, they did all they could to follow it. There are many different paths to holiness—to which we … [Read more...]

“And unto dust you shall return”

Rosary beads, holy water, incense, ashes, et cetera—the “sacramentals” used in prayer and liturgy give Catholicism much of its distinctive flavor. As we are physical creatures in love with a God-made-flesh, the Church encourages the … [Read more...]

From conservation to consecration: Towards a Green Thomism

The Lord fills the earth with goodness. (Ps 33:5) Introduction “Ah! If we could and would only listen to the lesson of the bees…how much better the world would be! Working like bees with order and peace we would learn to enjoy and … [Read more...]

The Catholic Holocaust of Nagasaki—“Why, Lord?”

On August 9, 1945, God’s inscrutable providence allowed an atomic bomb named “Fat Man” to be dropped from a B-29 into the heavily populated city of Nagasaki. The epicenter of the blast was the Urakami district, the heart and soul of … [Read more...]

The St. Noël Chabanel Responsorial Psalm Project

“The Chabanel Psalms are not only great music; they use a revolutionary form of distribution, both in terms of zero price and universal availability. In fact, the day the site went live, I knew I was looking at the future of sacred … [Read more...]

The paradox of Christian freedom

“For freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1). St. Paul tells us that faith in Christ makes us free. In the contemporary world there is a universal demand for more freedom—personal, political and economic. Freedom, however, is a … [Read more...]

Pope John Paul II on conscience

When Cardinal Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978, he was well prepared to teach the Catholic faithful about ethics. As a young man Karol Wojtyla thought about a career in acting, but he felt a call to the priesthood and soon found … [Read more...]

Praying with the Bible

At the Roman Synod on the Bible in October 2008, which I covered for HPR, the most common topic mentioned was the need to recommend “Lectio Divina” as a pious practice among the faithful. You have probably seen the phrase mentioned in … [Read more...]

The ingredient for priestly vocations

It is truly uplifting to read about the great number of people who are received into full communion in the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in so many parishes across the United States. This gives the Church a reason to rejoice and … [Read more...]

NeverWinter Astral Diamonds