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Wed, Sep 21, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.In this political season—some call it the theater of the absurd—discussions about women presidents evoke strong views. In the1960s, there was one woman whose contributions to society were so far reaching that, if the times had been more propitious to women, she could have been elected President of the United States. But it was not to be. Eunice Kennedy (1921-2009) Eunice was the fifth child and the third daughter born to Rose and Joseph P. Kennedy. As the granddaughter of John F., “Honey Fitz,” Fitzgerald, the famous mayor of Boston, she inherited her mother's natural political instincts; from her father, the energy, initiative and drive of a human dynamo. Rosemary was the third child and first daughter born into the Kennedy family. Unlike the bright brood of eight other brothers and sisters, she was found to be retarded. Eventually, this fact changed the lives of millions of retarded children and adults because Eunice looked after her older sister for the rest of her life. “I had enormous respect for Rosie,” Eunice said of her sister. “If I had never met Rosemary, never known anything about handicapped children, how would I have [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Sep 14, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.Search the Internet, and you'll find literature in abundance regarding the hackneyed phrase, dark night of the soul. Last week, the phrase surfaced again with the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity. The Dark Night of the Soul and The Dark Night: Some Distinctions In the lexicon of popular phrases, the dark night of the soul should be distinguished from the dark night as developed by St. John of the Cross in his treatise, The Dark Night. Worries and annoyances that weigh us down each day are part of the human condition. No more, no less. Rarely are they considered the dark night of the soul. To accept and face hardship as part of the human condition is a sign of maturity. It may surprise even spiritual directors to read that John does not use the phrase, the dark night of the soul, nor does it appear in his poem or treatise. The Dark Night has a precise and rich context. Its focus lies on God's innovating activity upon the soul destined for transformation. The soul remains in spiritual darkness, passive yet docile and responsive to the divine touch. By [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Sep 07, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.We have just celebrated the last civic holiday of the summer. On Labor Day, we reflect on our role as co-workers in God's vineyard and, with our talents, continue the activity of God our Creator. Work deepens the truth that we are all made in God's image and likeness. Mr. Shakespeare has a word to send us off: “Proud of employment, willingly I go.” The Church's special care and concern of the worker began in earnest with Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum (1891) when it treated the theme of work. Included in the encyclical was the defense of workers and, in particular, their exploitation. Since then, every pontiff has integrated Catholic social thought concerning workers as part of the Church's teaching. Politicians of all religious stripes have quoted from their writings as part of their own social platforms. According to Ronald Reagan, “the best social program is a job.” Bearing Fruit Work is one way men and women discover their dignity because the building up of the culture is the fruit of labor. The Psalmist uses the image of a garden to describe the just ones who labor in it. [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Aug 24, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.Matteo Ricci College (MRC) is one of eight schools and colleges that form part of Seattle University, a Catholic institution conducted by the Society of Jesus. With the Humanities as its core, MRC offers three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (BAH), a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Leadership (BAHL), and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Teaching (BAHT). Mission of MRC MRC educates teachers and leaders for a just and humane world. The study of Western culture is the surest place to begin. Pseudo-educators claim it's a waste of time. Yet, the facts don't lie. We are the beneficiaries of Greco-Roman culture preserved, reinterpreted, and handed down through the Catholic Church's medieval monastic tradition and continued through the Italian Renaissance. To be human is to be in a story, and to forget one's story leaves a person without a present identity, without a past and without a future. At MRC, cultural history is taught so that students can draw moral lessons from it. Those who don't learn from these lessons are condemned to repeat and relive them. With the small class size at MRC, [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Aug 17, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.In a week or two, freshmen from around the country will begin their college education. The first year, the most important of the four, is meant to build a strong academic foundation for the remaining three years and even beyond. Freshmen year often awakens in the student a love for learning. In college, self-identity is chiseled out, attitudes and values mature, friendships and new loves, discovered. The halls of university academe can be an exciting place to hope and dream about one's future. Attending college is both a privilege and responsibility. Here the phrase, noblesse oblige applies (literally, nobility obliges): Those who have received much are expected to share their gifts with others to make society a better place in which to live. Seeking a Liberal Arts Education Colleges typically organize their curriculum around their mission statement. An institution of higher learning worthy of its name offers a core curriculum, also known as the humanities or liberal arts. Some have general requirements. The humanities offer a splendid array of disciplines, and one of them will be chosen as the focus of students' special attention in junior and senior year. Courses include: foreign language(s), linguistics [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Wed, Aug 10, 2016
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.“It's back to school,” the many ads remind us. The noble work of education will soon begin anew. The word, educate, from the Latin educere, means to lead out of. Educators worthy of the name lead their students out of the darkness of ignorance to the light of truth, knowledge and wisdom. The Catholic Philosophy of Education To realize its Divine mission, the Church has developed a view of education that claims the right over all other agencies to make final decisions about the education of its youth. There are several principles of the Catholic philosophy of education that mark it with distinction. With the obvious age-appropriate adaptations, they affect all ages and academic levels. Belief in a Personal God First, that belief in a personal God is essential to all Catholic thinking in any and every phase of human activity. This includes formal education which proclaims Jesus as its primary Exemplar. It follows that the Church rejects any philosophy of education or position that sacrifices the eternal and supernatural to the temporal and natural (V.P. Lannie, “Catholic Education IV,” The New Encyclopedia 5: 168). Academic Excellence Second, Catholic education imparts far more than amassing [...]
Source: The Way of Beauty
Sat, Jan 09, 2016
By Aaron LambertWhat happened to Mary after Christ died? And how did Peter deal with being the rock Christ commissioned him to be? This is precisely the story that is explored in "Full of Grace", the tender, contemplative and beautiful new film from writer/director Andrew Hyatt. The story focuses on Mary's final days on Earth before she is assumed into Heaven, and it intimately captures the relationship between her and her son's successor, Peter. "Full of Grace" is a new kind of Christian film, one that deviates from the typical model of most Christian films. Described by Hyatt as a “cinematic prayer,” the film is perhaps the first of its kind. The first 15 minutes of the film is intentionally paced slowly so as to prepare the audience and put them in the right mind set for viewing the film. “Everything about the film is intentional,” he said. “This experience requires something of the audience to put in front of the film. The film, like scripture, should speak to you wherever you're at in your life.” Hyatt also sought to take these central biblical characters who are often perceived as being perfect and humanize them, making them relatable. Not since Mel Gibson's The Passion [...]
Source: Movie Reviews
Mon, Jul 06, 2015
By Father Thomas Berg In this article I intend to address a series of problematic and closely related ideas bearing on perennial Catholic moral teaching and its underlying understanding of the human person. All of them, in one way or another, have already manifested themselves in the run-up to the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops—to be held in October on the theme of “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” There has been much speculation that the deliberations that will ensue at Synod 2015 could lead to some dramatic changes in the Church's pastoral ministry to Catholics who divorce and remarry civilly, to those who cohabitate, and to those who live in same-sex unions, and that consequently those changes might imperil Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. At very least, those deliberations will not be unimportant, especially in giving shape to Pope Francis's mind on these matters, his of course ultimately being the final word. We should be grateful that these problematic ideas do not appear to have significantly influenced the synod's working document—the Instrumentum Laboris—released last month. My point however, is that, if not consistently avoided by [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Mon, May 25, 2015
By Father Thomas Berg Catholics, as a segment of U.S. population, shrank by 3.1 percent from 2007 to 2014, and are now outnumbered as a portion of American population by the “nones”, the religiously unaffiliated. That was the headline-grabbing revelation two weeks ago from the Pew Research Center. That trend fits within the overall decline in affiliation with Christian denominations, notwithstanding population growth in the U.S. in the same time period. So there it was in black in white: approximately 51 million adult Catholics in the United States as of 2014 versus approximately 56 million religiously “unaffiliated” adults.That should come as no surprise to any Catholic who is attentive to the current situation of the Church in North America. What the study did not point out, but we know from experience to be the case, is that only approximately 12 percent of those 51 million Catholics attend mass regularly on Sundays. The Catholic Church in America is, and has been for decades now, constituted by practicing Catholics, kind-of-practicing Catholics, and non-practicing Catholics—a situation in many ways not unlike previous centuries, yet which emerges from new and complex causes, and has resulted in a Church of profound internal [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Thu, Nov 06, 2014
By Father Thomas Berg With the nation going to the voting booths this week, and the news saturated with myriad international crises, it’s likely we missed the fact that this week the Church celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week. As stated on the USCCB website, it is a week dedicated “to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.”It’s no secret that the best catalyst for vocations is the personal holiness of those who have already embraced the call. Young men are attracted to the priesthood first and foremost by the holiness of the priests they have known—a fact borne out in just about every vocation story.Which leads me to share a few thoughts on the whole question of priestly holiness.In the final moment of the rite of priestly ordination, at the presentation of the gifts to the altar, the bishop in turn presents the newly ordained priest with the paten and chalice. The bishop entreats him: “Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to Him. Know what you are doing, and imitate [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Tue, Sep 23, 2014
By Father Thomas Berg Here are some questions about sexuality and affective maturity you should be asking yourself.As seminaries across the country commence a new academic year and re-engage in the crucial work of priestly formation, so too a throng of young Catholic men throughout the U.S. will continue the task which might lead them one day to seminary, namely, the work of discernment. And they will continue to be assisted in that effort by friends, family, spiritual directors and diocesan vocation directors.If you are in the thick of that discernment process (or if you are trying to support someone who is), here are a few key questions about sexuality and affective maturity that you should be asking yourself and discussing openly and honestly, not only with your spiritual director, but also with your diocesan vocation director. An affirmative answer to any one of these questions indicates an area that requires much more careful attention on your part prior to commencing college seminary or a pre-theology program (and certainly prior to beginning major seminary). It could also be indicating that you do not have a vocation to the priesthood.Are you considering the priesthood primarily—more than anything else—because you just [...]
Source: With Good Reason
Mon, Aug 04, 2014
By Father Thomas Berg Peer deeply into any one of the many contemporary conflicts afflicting human beings on the world stage—the ISIS purge of Assyrian Christians and other minorities from the boundaries of their putative new Islamic state, the felling of Malaysia Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, the seething hell-hole that is Gaza—and you will eventually discover, if not the utter renunciation of human reason, at least catastrophic failures to approach conflicts reasonably. When I am assaulted by these headlines each day, my thought sooner or later returns to Pope Benedict XVI—the great herald of the scope, and role, and possibilities, and place of God-given human reason in human life and civilization. (And I am equally reminded every time of the immense historical paradox that it was a Pope of the Roman Catholic Church who played this role at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.)From his reflections in Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, to his touchstone speech at the University of Regensburg, to his 2007 address to the government and diplomatic corps of Austria, and beyond, the Pontiff did not lose an opportunity to get at the very core of the conflict, namely, [...]
Source: With Good Reason