Catholic Living

Ash Wednesday

Lent All Year Round?

For several years, every Ash Wednesday, I witnessed a curious spectacle: an openly dissenting Catholic lesbian teacher I worked with attended her only Mass of the year, early in the morning, and sported her ashes on her forehead all day, in front of her classes. She fasted and abstained, and we noticed, totally confused but [...]

Lent All Year Round?

For several years, every Ash Wednesday, I witnessed a curious spectacle: an openly dissenting Catholic lesbian teacher I worked with attended her only Mass of the year, early in the morning, and sported her ashes on her forehead all day, in front of her classes. She fasted and abstained, and we noticed, totally confused but [...]

The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent always features one of the Synoptics on the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This year, we read from Luke. Spiritual writers have long reflected on the meaning of the temptations—for bread, for goods, for worship—that those temptations embody. The temptations Jesus faced are temptations we all [...]

A father's prodigal love and approval fill the space carved into our being by the finger of our Creator. Boy or girl, man or woman, all, and no matter the age, thirst for it. Our household knows this well. After a period of infertility, physical deterioration, and loss, when we were told never to expect [...]

At first glance, it may not seem that the nature of public discourse—particularly on faith and morals—has changed all that much since the days of Jesus’ engagement and entanglement with so many different groups during his public ministry. Don’t we still have all the usual suspects today? Over there we have the religious zealots; over [...]

Friendship with God

I have an Evangelical friend (I’ll call him Tom) with whom I regularly meet for coffee to engage in friendly “debate” over our differing theological views. In one of our earlier meetings, beginning to explain the Catholic understanding of predestination against his more-or-less Calvinist view, I premised that God created man for friendship with him. [...]

With hopes that I’m not falling into some heresy, I find myself persuaded by mainstream libertarian economists. Their general positions include: economic law of free markets with limited or no government interference; the law of supply and demand; the responsibility of central governments to collect taxes only for those activities the private sector can’t or [...]

“Why do you think we haven’t had a woman as president yet?” First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton asked her guest over their lunch at the White House. The little woman sitting at table with Mrs. Clinton did not hesitate in her reply. “Because she has probably been aborted,” said Mother Teresa. ¤   ¤   ¤ This [...]

Experience shows that acquiring a large sum of money can be a problem. But, especially today, it is easy to miss or forget problems associated with money. Unless we have a rare level of virtue, we are prone to the magnetic pull of precious metals. Money has a uniquely powerful hold on our imaginations and desires. [...]

Letter to a Priest

“The synod experience also made us better realize that the true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit; not ideas but people; not formulas but the free availability of God’s love and forgiveness.” ∼ Pope Francis I do want to love this pope, the sure desire of any Catholic heart. [...]

With the New Year and the Year of Mercy begun, last year's Synod of the Family seems like old news. In a way, it's business as usual for the Church. No new teaching was proclaimed (as if a Synod even had the authority to do that!), no radical changes to Church discipline were announced concerning [...]

When my mother-in-law died, following a long and unhappy illness, her passing was seen by all as a blessed and merciful release. Free at last—that was the universal refrain among family and friends. It was not just the burden of old age, whose cumulative debilities wore her down, but the ravages of Alzheimer’s, which left [...]

We are beginning the Year of the Lord 2016. The marking of the dawn of a new year is no secular holiday, because time and history have been drawn into the coming of God into the world. We keep track of our time as either BC (Before Christ) or AD (Anno Domini) to demonstrate that [...]

The modernist French literary figure Charles Baudelaire coined the maxim that “the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.” I respectfully disagree. The aphorism appears in a short story entitled "The Generous Gambler," told in the first person, in which the storyteller reflects upon a pleasant evening he spent with [...]

In a world riven by conflict, it’s easy to forget what we owe to these three wise men that later legend describes as kings. We easily slough off the acceptance of such stories as naïve. In doing so, I suspect we lose a sense of the wonder that must have been felt by these men [...]

In one of my favorite Flannery O'Connor stories, Revelation, Mrs. Turpin—a very large, very cheerful, and heartily judgmental soul—amuses herself by mentally sorting people into their respective categories. She places all the people she looks down upon beneath herself and her husband, and only those who have more of what she and her husband have [...]

According to a Nielsen survey conducted a few years ago, the 5th and 7th biggest beer-drinking holidays in America are Christmas and Easter respectively. That year, Americans consumed 59,393,752 cases of beer at Christmas and 53,458,630 cases on Easter. I find this strange because Christmas and Easter are the two seminal feasts on the Christian calendar, yet [...]

Charles Dickens’s 1843 Christmas Carol was the beginning of a series of annual “Christmas books” that were very popular gifts in the Victorian era. But while many today treat A Christmas Carol as a child’s holiday story, it is anything but … and it makes many Catholic points. Some might disagree. Jesus is only obliquely mentioned [...]

The Norwegian secret to enjoying a long winter is to see the freezing months as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured. According to a seeker of human happiness, this makes all the difference. They even have a word, koselig, which means a sense of coziness. People gather around the table for a [...]

“Is homosexuality a psychological disorder? And could it be cured?” These are the “dead-horse” questions that blogger Melinda Selmys mentions as she takes exception to the substance of a Crisis Magazine article on homosexuality—Mark Latkovic’s “Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality.” Selmys considers this question—“homosexuality as mental illness”—as tantamount to a lifeless horse brought back [...]

Years ago when our children were young and bursting with that innocence of wonder that I pray will never entirely leave them, I was asked when I thought God would open the clouds and come down. “How should I know?” I’d answer. “I’m only a theologian. Go ask your mother.” Evidently they did, since I [...]

 To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. ~ T. S. Eliot We’ve come to the close of our annual month-long reminder of the obvious: We’re all going to die. It’s a truism that we learned as kids in Sunday school and CCD—the first of the four [...]

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