Tag Archive for charity

Mercy Is Not Accidental

Mercy as it is here contemplated is said to be a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. It is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that although mercy is as it were the spontaneous product of charity, yet it is to be reckoned a special virtue adequately distinguishable from this latter. … Its motive is the misery which one discerns in another, particularly in so far as this condition is deemed to be, in some sense at least, involuntary. Obviously the necessity which is to be succoured can be either of body

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Mercy Is Not Strained Part One

Pope Francis is now three years into his pontificate. He is a popular pope, but there are Catholics who believe his popularity has come at a cost. After many of his extemporaneous remarks as well as some of his more deliberate pronouncements, he has been roundly criticized for avoiding clarity and arguably even undermining Catholic doctrine, as though he views Catholic teachings as simply too much for people to accept and thinks that the nice thing to do is to blur or ignore some teachings and doctrines to make Catholicism more palatable for those he wants to win over. These

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Charitable Accountability

There is a time in the liturgical calendar, sometime after the close of Advent and the start of Lent, when I perceive a slight uneasiness as I enter church. On a somewhat subconscious level, I find myself panning the worship space looking for the large projector screen which announces the start of the Archdiocese annual appeal for funding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the appeal for money that bothers me, for years my wife and I have been a tithing family and like many we can attest to the blessings that this practice has brought. What bothers me is

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The Son Who Stayed, Redux

This morning, in a motel room outside of Kansas City, I re-read Meddlesome’s post, “What Happened to the Son Who Stayed?” In many ways, that post and the discussion and posts that followed seem to have set the tone for the Junto’s approach to discussing Pope Francis—a tone that, I continue to worry, is at times not spiritually healthy for us. It’s not that I don’t share the Junto’s concerns about the confusion that has been caused around the Church’s teachings on marriage or find the Pope’s treatment of various cardinals baffling. (And I’ve ceased to try to make sense

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True Charity?

My job requires that I travel quit frequently and I have taken the habit of seeking out local Catholic Churches in which to spend time with the Lord in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. While recently visiting a church in Pittsburgh, my solitude was broken by a male voice repeatedly barking out, “Raffle tickets, raffle tickets for sale!” Upon leaving the chapel, I discovered a parishioner standing at the busy street corner alongside a new Dodge 2015 Dart. He was selling tickets to any and all passersby who wished to exchange their money for the opportunity to win. To

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Wherein Lies Love of Family?

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…. (Mt 10:37) If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give them no warning, or speak to warn the wicked from their wicked way, in order to save their life, those wicked persons shall die for their iniquity; but their blood I will require at your hand.  (Ez 3:18) I speak from limited personal experience, but it seems that few Catholics take these teachings seriously.  Last year, when my Catholic niece got married in a civil ceremony on a

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Part of ‘the Problem’:
Five Practical Questions

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Not long ago a sudden transition occurred in these pages which, thus far, has gone unremarked. On August 3, Spaniard wrote a brief post asking the question, “Is the Pope Catholic?” — and answering more or less in the

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Reflections on Race in America: A Catholic’s Perspective Part 3

How might practical Catholics respond to the current state of race relations in America?  Often the topic only comes up when accompanied by controversy and incident-driven tension.  Navigating such a delicate conversation, if you even dare such a thing, is risky business that can backfire with hurt feelings, hurt egos, misunderstandings and damaged friendships.  Trying to “win” the argument is as fruitless as grasping water. Still, we cannot and should not intentionally avoid the topic altogether.  It is important that we understand what is happening and form the basis of a response.  Here are a few steps, respectfully submitted. 1. Follow Church teaching on

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Reflections on Race in America: A Catholic’s Perspective Part 2

So what do I believe is happening to black America?  In order of causality and importance:   FAMILY LIFE I am inclined to think that the systematic dismantling of the black family in America is the single most important factor in the relative stagnation of aggregate black living standards.  This is certainly not an original thesis, but there is merit in learning the underlying data in order to defend the position. According to CDC, the out-of-wedlock birth rates in 1964 for white and black children were 7 % and 25 %, respectively; currently those rates are 29 % and 72 %,

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Reflections on Race in America: A Catholic’s Perspective Part 1

On the heels of the spectacle in Ferguson, Missouri I’ve tried reconciling my feelings about what’s really going on there and across the nation in regard to race relations.  Despite the undeniable improvement in opportunity for minorities in the U.S. in the last 50 years, I continue to strongly suspect a Faustian bargain of sorts in this so-called “progress.” My own experience tells me things have changed in these last several decades, and probably why I am driven to better understand what is happening in our nation, to the black demographic.  I grew up in a nearly all-black community and was the

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