Fr. Robert Johansen

Fr. Robert Johansen is a priest of the diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He holds degrees in Classics and Patristics, and also has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, where he is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Sacred Theology. He has presented a number of papers on musical and liturgical subjects at academic conferences, and published articles on the same topics in several academic and popular journals.

recent articles

Waiting in Hope

I hope I get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas… I hope I get a hoverboard… I hope I get an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle… When I was a boy, about nine or 10 years old, my sister and I longed for and hoped to get a horse. Our family had … Read more

Christmas: Reality Incarnate

On March 25, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the moment when Gabriel brought Mary the divine invitation to bear the Savior. Mary’s fiat allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her, and bring about the conception of Jesus. Now, at Christmas, nine months later, the work begun in Mary comes to its … Read more

The Splendor of the World Redeemed

The aroma was transporting: the familiar smell brought me back to childhood, to being in the kitchen with my mom, as her banana cake baked in the oven, promising sweet and banana-ish goodness. To this day, the aroma of a well-made banana cake (and, you’ll allow me to aver, my mother’s was the best) brings … Read more

The Effrontery of Hope

It seems to me that we take “hope” for granted. Of course, as good Catholics we know that we are not to presume the mercy of God, or his blessings. So we might protest that we do no such thing; we know that God is in no way obliged to give us anything, that everything—including … Read more

And the Word Became Flesh…

God loves stuff. Things. Matter. We can tell that God loves stuff because he made so much of it. From the dust of the Horsehead Nebula to the sand of a Pacific beach to the granite of the Rocky Mountains, God made it all, and, according to its own proper nature, loves it all. He … Read more

And All Shall Say: Alleluia, Alleluia

Throughout the world, in the Easter Sunday liturgy, Catholics sing the ancient Sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes, or as it is known in English, “Christians, to the Paschal Victim.” The sequence offers praise to Christ, the Victor over sin and death, beginning with the verse Christians, to the Paschal Victim Offer your thankful praises! A Lamb … Read more

The Promise and Fulfillment of Christmas

Some years ago, when I was recently ordained, it fell upon me to celebrate the Vigil Mass of Christmas at my parish. The pastor, as was his prerogative, always celebrated Midnight Mass, so the other parish Masses were divided between myself and the other associate. The gospel for the Christmas Vigil Mass is the beginning … Read more

Christ is Born! Come, Lord Jesus!

In the crypt of the church of St. Mary Major in Rome, under the high altar, rests a crystal reliquary containing five pieces of sycamore wood, which are believed to be the remains of the crib of the infant Jesus in Bethlehem. The altar in this crypt chapel is privileged; on it any priest may … Read more

Our National Pride

“I’m proud to be an American.” Those words are more than the refrain of a country-western song. This sentiment encompasses both reflection on our past and national aspiration. We look back on our history and see things we can be proud of as a nation, and we look forward to dream of pride in what … Read more

Answer Me!

Before I became a priest, or even entered seminary, the Good Friday liturgy was always one of my favorites. After my first experience of the Good Friday service, I rarely missed it. Even in those times when I wasn’t exactly practicing my faith very well, Good Friday seemed to always call me back.

The New Missal: Disaster or Opportunity?

Last week, the Holy See gave the formal recognitio, or official approval, to the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, the book that contains the prayers and rubrics of the Mass. The third edition of the Roman Missal was itself approved by Pope John Paul II in 2000.While the approval of … Read more

Our Faustian Bargain: Catholics Caught Between Parties

In following the presidential contest this year, I have been at times amazed and disgusted at the kabuki theater our political discourse has become. The two major party candidates have presented themselves as both more and less than what they really are—trying to capture voters by simultaneously promising that they will solve our problems and … Read more

The Minimum Wage and Catholic Social Teaching

When the Democratic Party gained control of Congress in January, as part of its “100 Hour” plan it quickly introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. The partisan debate has been, in large part, predictable: Democratic advocates of the raise cite concern for poor … Read more

Homosexuality and the Seminaries: How to Read the New Instruction

At the end of November 2005, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education issued an “Instruction Concerning the Criteria of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons with Homosexual Tendencies.” Bearing the signature of Zenon Cardinal Grochelewski, the prefect of the congregation, and approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the instruction is intended to give bishops and seminary rectors guidance … Read more

Killing Terri Schiavo

A hospice in Pinellas County, Florida, has become the front line of the battle to defend the dignity of human life. Inside the hospice is Terri Schindler Schiavo, whose collapse in 1990 and subsequent brain injury has left her severely disabled. A feeding tube provides her nutrition and hydration. Otherwise, she is in fairly good … Read more

What’s Wrong With Our Seminaries? An Insider Speaks Out

In recent years, even before the scandals, there has been growing concern about the institutions that form our priests. Books and articles in the Catholic press have shocked the faithful with lurid accounts of heterodoxy, corruption, and outright immorality festering in the seminaries. Some of the problems these writers describe are now being addressed. But … Read more

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