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Fri, Sep 08, 2017
By Andrea Picciotti-BayerPope Francis has arrived in Colombia for an unprecedented four-day trip. The press is highlighting the peace accord between the country's president Manuel Santos and leftist guerrillas, but for most Colombians who will attend the Pope's gatherings and Masses, this visit is simply about "El Papa” and his tender care for their souls. Colombians are hardworking people of faith who are too often seen through the lens of the country's civil strife and drug wars. That the Pope would visit their beautiful country produces great joy and engenders pride and patriotism. This visit is a great moment for the country, but the true importance of the visit is its significance in the personal lives of Colombians. I lived in Colombia for almost thirteen years, deep in the coffee-growing region of the country. Despite a shortage of laborers to pick the world's most prized coffee beans, a "good" coffee picker can only make around $20 a day. The pickers work a twelve-hour day in the blistering heat, tormented by snakes and biting insects. The appealing image of Juan Valdez, with his donkey and wide hat, belies the sweaty, grim reality. This reality extends beyond the coffee fields, as the meager wage earned [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Wed, Sep 06, 2017
By Dr. Dan GuernseySan Domenico School in San Anselmo, Calif., has voluntarily chosen to remove or relocate most of its Christian statues and artwork to appease non-Catholic students. Many Catholics are horrified, but sometimes it's entirely appropriate for a Catholic school to remove all Catholic imagery. Like when it's being decommissioned as Catholic – which is precisely what ought to happen in this case. When the Catholic Church decommissions a church building, the adornments are properly disposed of and, hopefully, sent on to other parishes that are still able to fulfill their mission. And when a formerly Catholic school converts to a government-funded charter school, all Catholic imagery is removed before the new school opens. Clearly San Domenico's Catholic identity has been in decline for some time. Its mission statement could belong to any secular school: “preparing the next generation of global leaders… [and] to uphold the values of study, reflection, service and community.” If San Domenico finds that not enough Catholics are willing to spend $42,825 for a year of high school, it can keep most of its current mission and curriculum and transition to a public charter school without a hitch. The philosophy animating the school doesn't seem to reflect [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Mon, Sep 04, 2017
By Dr. Grazie Pozo ChristieThe canonization of Mother Teresa a year ago by Pope Francis was a momentous occasion for Catholics. Every newly-made saint's brand of holiness teaches us vivid things about love and God which are distinctive and unique. The small, spare woman in the iconic white sari serves as a potent symbol of the indispensability of the Church. St. Teresa of Calcutta is a glowing reminder that millions of the world's poor and vulnerable depend on the immense good that the Church does as she goes quietly about her daily business. To impede her mission or persecute her is to hurt those who rely on her for assistance. Like many saints, St. Teresa's path to holiness and canonization was rich in improbability. In 1946, the little Albanian nun was nothing but a humble teacher in India when she received her “call within a call.” She heard a quiet, internal suggestion to help the poorest of the poor while living among them. In an act of almost terrifying audacity, she made her way (with five rupees in her pocket) to what was probably the most rank and dire slum in the world to serve the [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Thu, Jun 29, 2017
By Tom WellsThere are many and widely varied arguments as to whether or not married men should be ordained to the priesthood. My purpose here is not to engage in these debates, but to focus on something more fundamental – what is the question of ordaining married men to the priesthood really about? Celibacy is the norm for the priesthood in the tradition of the Latin Church. Among the Eastern Churches, celibacy is highly esteemed, but a strictly celibate priesthood did not develop in the East as it did in the West. The Latin Church's tradition of a celibate priesthood is a thousand years old, starting with Pope Gregory VII (Roman Council VI, Can. 3). The notion of a celibate priesthood did not originate with the pope, but he did solidify the tradition for the Latin Church. The two traditions, a celibate priesthood in the West and the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the East, are complimentary and should be treated with mutual respect and reverence. The question of ordaining married men to the priesthood is a question of a Church's particular tradition. In 1967, shortly after the second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI wrote an encyclical entitled, On [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Tue, Jun 13, 2017
By Andrea Picciotti-BayerFather Paul Scalia has compiled a series of his essays in a book, That Nothing May be Lost, that help Catholics answer the question: “What does it mean to think like a Catholic?” The answer he offers is not a series of doctrinal points to memorize, but reflections on the Church's teachings – that “‘saving doctrine' that brings health and peace to the soul.” Included as an appendix to the book is Father Scalia's homily at the funeral Mass of his father, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Father Scalia's homily perfectly encompasses the “worldview” of Catholics, particularly on our own certain finality. His remarks began: “We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more; a man loved by many, scorned by others; a man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.” Facing the death of his dad, Father Scalia focused attention where it always should be – on God. Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, in a beautiful forward to That Nothing May be Lost, writes: “[t]he story of salvation is the story of a family of vocation lay, [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Thu, Jun 08, 2017
By Jeanne Marie HathwayEvery generation, feminists gather to recapitulate the state of women's progress. At a Human Life Review sponsored event in New York last week, Feminists for Life's president Serrin Foster made “The Feminist Case against Abortion,” examining the plight of modern women, proposing solutions, and proving that revolutions aren't always brand new. This revolution – pro-life feminism – is well past the throes of teen rebellion. A century since pro-life feminist foremothers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton secured the female vote, it now sports the wiser woman's gray-streaked hair and calm expression of “honey, I've seen it all.” The report card is in: 100 years later, abortion remains an inadequate, violent response to inequality in the workplace and educational sphere. But the mission and message of pro-life feminists remains unchanged, too: women deserve better. Feminists for Life has achieved immense success in their commitment to actualizing this belief. A decade after the organization began implementing their pregnancy resources on campuses, universities witnessed a 30 percent drop in abortions, in no small part due to Foster's realistic approach: “The most important thing young, pro-life women can be doing on campuses today is reaching out to pro-choice girls with [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Sun, May 21, 2017
By Dr. Grazie Pozo ChristieWoven into the fabric of American society, present in every milieu, and taking some part in all the complicated ways we relate to each other in public and private settings are over 70 million American Catholics. We mirror the demographic changes of the general population, and are the largest religious denomination in the country. And yet, there are many of us who feel exactly like the title of Archbishop Chaput's new book: Strangers in a Strange Land. We are clearly living in a culture that is very different from that of the past, and one becoming quickly more different. Archbishop Chaput does a masterful job in the first part of the book explaining how the culture shifted. As he writes in his introduction: “People who hold a classic understanding of sexuality, marriage, and family have gone in just twenty years from pillars of mainstream conviction to the media equivalent of racists and bigots.” He goes on, in his lucid and measured prose, to explain just how we found ourselves here – in this strange land – and what we are supposed to do now. The classic Western view of marriage as between one man and one woman, faithful, [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Wed, May 17, 2017
By Brad HahnDespite all the back-slapping going on in Washington, the Republicans' alleged repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives May 4, misses the mark on protecting religious liberties. The debate swirls around the rising costs of medical care and pre-existing conditions, both of which should be of great concern to everyone. The AHCA, however, has still failed to address a fundamental violation of the Constitution as it relates to the Affordable Care Act and health care insurance: the violation of Americans' religious liberty by forcing individuals to pay for health care that violates millions of citizens' consciences. Federal government-regulated insurance still dictates that all health insurance plans provide “preventative health services” that include all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods for women. Here's the problem: These methods include contraception, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs like Plan B (the morning-after pill) and Ella (so-called “emergency contraception”). Science is clear that human life begins at conception, and these “preventative services” violate natural and moral law because they can block a fertilized human egg (a human person) from implanting in his mother's womb. To be fair, the AHCA does allow states [...]
Source: Guest Columnist
Wed, Oct 19, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.Some the most breathtaking scenery in the United States is found throughout Upper New York and northward to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Two famous pilgrimage shrines are located in this area and deserve special attention for their historic and religious significance. In this country, October 19th is the feast of the North American Martyrs. First, some history. New France In the seventeenth century, French authorities sent a number of expeditions to conduct fur trading in this territory and named it New France. Soon, French Jesuit missionaries followed to minister to their own and to convert the Native Americans to the Catholic faith. Today this direct form of proselytism toward a native people would be considered out of step with ecumenical norms. The Jesuit missions began their work early in the 1630s. Our story picks up twelve years later with eight French Jesuits who were martyred while working among these Native Americans. Here is their story. The Huron Indians By the seventeenth century, the Huron Indians, who belonged to the Iroquois Federation, had developed a fairly high way of life. They spoke in the Wendat language, and their religious beliefs had been fixed [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Oct 12, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.He's been dubbed: “The Poet-Philosopher of Baseball,” “A Voice for the Ages,” “The Velvet Voice.” He's been compared to Walter Cronkite, Mark Twain, and Garrison Keilor. In 1982, the Hollywood Walk of Fame honored him with a star among the Greats of stardom in the same year the National Baseball Hall of Fame enshrined his name among the Greats of baseball. Vin Scully may be the very model of sartorial perfection, but it's not the wardrobe that has endeared him to baseball for sixty-seven years. It's his deep baritone voice and the power of his words. A Catholic Education There's much to be said for childhood dreams. At eight, when he wrote an assignment about his future, Vin imagined himself as a sports commentator. That dream has come true. Vin Scully was born in the Bronx, N.Y. and received his elementary school education from the Sisters of Charity. At Fordham Prep and Fordham University, both conducted by the Jesuits, his eager mind opened itself wide to the liberal arts, to Latin and Greek, science, literary and refining arts. He acted in plays, engaged in debate, learned to read and write well, and above all, to speak [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Oct 05, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.It's a wonderful phenomenon—yeast. It permeates lifeless flour and causes it to rise and expand. The power of yeast effects the brewing of beer and the making of wine. The yeast plant is a fungus that grows without limits to its borders. Only if yeast is alive and active will it interact with the dough. On her TV program, “Martha Bakes,” the talented Ms. Stewart cannot contain her delight when she makes yeast dough: “Look at the sheen—so soft and shiny! The aroma is “bee-you-tee-ful,” and the fragrance gratifies all the senses!” Follow these instructions: proof active yeast, blend it into the flour mixture, and let it rise to double the size. From yeast dough come baked goods such as breads, sticky buns and sugar buns, and monkey bread. “Soo pretty, soo delicious,” Ms. Stewart swoons over her culinary works of art. Yeast as a Metaphor In the Matthean parable (13:33), the reign of God is like yeast that a woman took and kneaded into three measures of flour. Eventually the entire mass of dough began to rise. The image of yeast was a favorite in the Early Church. [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Sep 28, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.Everyone has a theory about leadership, but all of us want strong, effective, and moral leaders. They're in great demand but hard to find. Families and schools, sports teams, businesses, and faith traditions rise or fall on leadership. Governments, armies, and nations rise or fall on leadership. According to James MacGregor Burns, historian and political scientist, leadership is “the process by which groups, organizations, and societies attempt to achieve common goals.” Political leadership is a matter of personality, and it concerns the relation of authority and power with the people. Yet, within this definition lies a mysterious and mercurial quality known as temperament—the most difficult characteristic to gauge in a leader, the most challenging to pin down. Different leadership styles and different temperaments produce varying degrees of success or failure, a topic requiring lengthy discussions. In this essay, we will consider three aspects of leadership: personal and professional qualities of leaders, vision, and decision-making. Personal and Professional Qualities of Leaders To paraphrase the Hallmark motto: The nation should care enough to elect the very best men and women with proven effective leadership, strength of character, and moral probity. Character Leaders should reflect on a key question: Who must I be, [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty