Archives for 2019

Homilies for December 2019

For December 1, December 8, Immaculate Conception, December 15, December 22, Christmas, and Holy Family. 1st Sunday of Advent – December 1, 2019   Readings: Is 2:1–5 • Ps 122:1–9 • Rom 12:11–14 • Mt 24:37–44   usccb.org/bible/r … [Read more...]

Canon Law, Civil Law, and the Current Crisis in the Church

Reflections of a Civil Lawyer Studying Canon Law in Rome

Last fall I left my job as a corporate lawyer and began studying canon law in Rome. Explaining my rationale to my colleagues wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. Whether they were practicing Catholics, fallen-away Catholics, not-yet C … [Read more...]

Human and Divine Fatherhood in The Violent Bear It Away and Gilead

The Violent Bear It Away and Gilead show the role of prophet as a preacher of the Lord as a genetic vocation growing out of ‘blood’ and family bonds, but responded to in varying degrees and manifestations. While Marilynne Robinson paints a p … [Read more...]

John of the Cross and Exercising Charisms for Evangelization

A Response to Elizabeth Salas

Once in a while I run into statements like: “Catholics shouldn’t seek to exercise the charisms of the Spirit because St. John of the Cross cautioned against them.” Such concerns come in different forms and are usually raised by people who si … [Read more...]

Review: The Devil’s Redemption

McClymond, Michael J. The Devil’s Redemption: A New History and Interpretation of Christian Universalism. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018. This is a very important book. In two large and carefully documented volumes Dr. McClymond, a p … [Read more...]

The “Female Diaconate” after the Amazon Synod

The Mystery of Human Sexuality in the Woman at the Well and the Vital Sacrament of Apostolic Succession

In light of the recent Amazon Synod, the question of the female diaconate has once again been raised. It is more than obvious that novelty and change are today’s signs of progress. In the twentieth century, for example, scientific a … [Read more...]

The Whale in the Bath

Is mass communication like a background noise that is just loud enough to catch our attention and make it difficult for us to concentrate on what we are doing and yet not loud enough so that we can hear clearly what is going on? Are … [Read more...]

The Moral Theology of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born in 1873 in France, the youngest of the nine children given to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin. Zelie Martin died while Thérèse was very young, so Thérèse adopted her older sister Pauline as her surrogate mother. T … [Read more...]

Homilies for November 2019

For All Saints, All Souls, November 3, November 10, November 17, and Christ the King. Solemnity of All Saints – November 1, 2019   Readings: Rv 7:2–4, 9–14 • Ps 24:1bc–4ab, 5–6 • 1 Jn 3:1–3 • Mt 5:1–12a   usccb.org/bible/readi … [Read more...]

A Method of Homily Preparation

St. Francis de Sales in his excellent book, On the Preacher and Preaching, declares emphatically: “We must adhere to method in all things; there is nothing more helpful to a preacher, makes his preaching more profitable, and is so pleasing t … [Read more...]

The Theological Anthropology of Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II)

Every so often, there appears in history a person who has an effect on the world, that the whole world is changed for the better as a result of their being there. A person of recent memory is Father Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope St. John … [Read more...]

Pastoral Formation as Improvisation

Introduction So what does slapping together a sandwich in a soup kitchen have to do with priestly formation? And how does packing medical equipment for a mission trip help anyone become a spiritual father? Or visiting random old dudes at a … [Read more...]

Some Notes for Preachers on the Reading of Ephesians Five in the Lectionary

In my years of presenting basic sacramental theology to engaged couples for pre-Cana, the interpretation of the literal sense of Ephesians five on marriage is something that has frequently occupied me. It was even an endeavor to which I was … [Read more...]

Mass Exodus

We’ve seen it in most of our parishes: empty pews, easy-out parking, friends and familiar faces who we no longer see at Sunday Mass. This mass exodus we have been experiencing over the last few generations is a true crisis of faith — aff … [Read more...]

An Anthropological Reflection on the Church’s Sexual Scandal

Assuaging God for the Rape of Abel 

The kind of penitence that must take place to move the Church away from the precipice of destruction is the kind that comes from a much deeper well of ancient understandings of man who is flesh and spirit. We must mine the deeper … [Read more...]