church function / role / mission

Ideology is Moral Blindness

Many moons ago, even before Roe v. Wade, I taught an ethics class that consisted of 16 students. At the outset, I used an anonymous questionnaire to learn about their respective stances on abortion. The class was split in half, with eight accepting abortion and eight opposing it. By the end of the course, all [...]

The Desecration of Churches Today

A week ago, I attended a concert featuring my son’s band. It was a splendid event featuring the hard work of students and their music teachers which I look forward to attending every year as part of my family’s Christmas celebrations. Well, something else caught my attention that night besides the music. In his speech, [...]

Running the Church on Hail Marys

“This attitude of resignation with regard to truth lies at the heart of the crisis in the West, the crisis of Europe.”  ∼ Pope Benedict XVI "You can’t run the Church on Hail Marys.”  ∼ former Vatican Bank president Archbishop Paul Marcinkus As jarring revelations about the contemporary episcopacy continue to come to light, it [...]

Horror Stories Abound in Shuttered Sanctuaries

This month in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Film Festival included a screening of the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist at a venue that used to be a Catholic church. The venue in question, Holy Rosary in South Belfast, has been empty and closed since 1980, when the parish outgrew it and moved to the [...]

The Consumer-Driven Church

A recent survey (August 2016) by the Pew Research Center reveals that American churches have produced a generation of spiritual consumers who want little more from their religious community than a good pulpiteer, a satisfying worship service, and a congregation filled with nice, friendly members. Researching the habits of U.S. Christians, Pew found that nearly [...]

What a Pastoral Church Looks Like

Now more than ever, there are calls for a more pastoral Church. That's a good thing. It's the clergy's job to be our pastors, and who could object to priests, bishops, and popes doing their job? “Pastor“ means shepherd, so we find what pastors should do by looking at what shepherds do, especially in the [...]

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