Archive for Featured

‘Aesthetic Witnesses’: Using
Beauty to Build the Kingdom

“Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God.” – Pope Saint John Paul II The quote above is taken from Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists,” published on Easter Sunday in 1999. I’ve been reflecting on that letter in terms of the saint’s call, beginning in the late 1970s, for a new evangelization, and also in the context of young Karol Wojtyla’s cultural resistance efforts with the Rhapsodic Theater during the period of Nazi control of Poland. The more I reflect, the more convinced I become that

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The Whole and the Parts – Teaching the Faith

When I refer to the “faith” in this post, I am speaking of fides quae or the faith which we believe (objective) and not fides qua or the faith by which we believe (subjective).  It’s the content of the faith and not our response to it that is the focus. Growing up, my religious education included both the curriculum used by my parish’s Catechesis program, and the Baltimore Catechism required by my mother.  I don’t remember which curriculum the parish used, but I recognize the content and approach in those used by my children’s school.  The Baltimore Catechism I used, and

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Innovation + Abortion = Stagnation

I recently attended a week long technical symposium which, normally, I find myself too busy to take the time to indulge. However, I realized that I had managed to let a decade slip by without connecting with peers outside of my immediate circle. So this year, I decided to reconnect and get inspired. In addition to an impressive forum of technical presentations the symposium hosted a rather large trade show. By about mid-week, I had had my fill of technical papers and so decided to stretch my legs and spend the rest of the day walking the show floor. This

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Trumpet

From the start of  Donald Trump’s run for president, all conventional wisdom wrote him off as a joke, predicting, and predicting again … and again his inevitable crash and burn. Yet with each such prediction and with each successive condemnation of him from all quarters, his popularity has grown. Not only do people support him, but they do so with numbers and enthusiasm not enjoyed by any other candidate running. With the focus on Trump himself, less attention has been paid to his supporters, who are often brushed aside in the discussion, dismissed as a bunch of angry bigots or

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‘Miserando Atque Eligendo’:
What Is the Holy Father Trying to Say?

“Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me.’” – Venerable Bede, commenting on the calling of St. Matthew the Apostle; the underlined text is the origin of Pope Francis’s motto, “Miserando atque eligendo.” It should come as no surprise to this group that I continue to be concerned about our Holy Father Pope Francis and the conflicting and conflicted coverage of his pontificate. For me, this is a practical preoccupation: on a regular basis, I encounter all sorts of people who want to draw nearer to

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The Devil IS in the Details

During this month of November the Church invites us to rejoice with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and to pray for the Church Suffering in Purgatory. By engaging in this practice, we are forced to consider our own mortality; to “remember death” and how to live our lives in order to achieve what we were created for, which is unity with God in heaven. “We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various

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Perón’s Pope?

Since his election and with each new utterance, many of us have been debating what labels apply to Pope Francis.  Perhaps one that we haven’t applied but may be most accurate after some study is the label “Perónist”. Juan Perón, leader of Argentina from the mid-40’s, drove government initiatives that were to be a “3rd option” to the assumed alternative extremes of capitalism or communism.  In the region, capitalism was linked to imperialism, therefore, Peron also drove a strong anti-imperialist agenda.  What we view now as something akin to a corporate socialist framework, Perón tried to find a fine balance

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Exodus Redux

I don’t believe in coincidences, particularly when it has to do with matters spiritual.  This past Saturday, the Satanic Temple in Detroit celebrated the unveiling of “Baphomet,” Satanism’s winged, goat-headed icon to a partying crowd of 700.  On Monday, the 1st reading at Mass was from the 32nd chapter of Exodus, which chronicles the idolatrous conduct of the Israelite’s at the base of Mount Sinai while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments. The similarities are striking. The Israelites received a gift of favor from God who led them out of slavery.  Many of the Detroit revelers undoubtedly in the past received

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Time to Say Goodbye

When I was graduating from high school, Green Day’s song “Time of Your Life” was starting its interminable lifespan as our nation’s Theme of Commemoration.  I hated the song right from the get-go, though part of me greatly appreciated the irony of my classmates and others featuring it predominantly in various collages .  Most of them evidently never bothered to listen to the song or even to learn its actual title:  “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”  Among the lyrics included in the song, the observant listener will hear: So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind Hang

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Death and Laughter

This past weekend I saw a play put on by the St. Paul Seminary called Death of a Liturgist.  It was a comedy-mystery with a lot of laughs, many of which would only be funny to Catholics.  Admittedly, it was not “great art.”  But for the two hours of the performance, everyone had a terrific time watching a light-hearted production with no swearing and nothing off-color (which for many critics would probably disqualify it as art altogether).  The gathering felt like a mini-communion of small “s” Catholic saints, whose enjoyment was rooted in their affection for the Church.  Because that

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