Comment and Dialogue Articles

  • Recognizing that race exists only in our minds

    The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois and Wisconsin has been outstanding in its anti-racism work. I was pleased to be able to attend on April 7, a lecture by Jim Wallis at Eureka College (a Disciples institution) on the themes of Wallis’s recent book on racism, America’s Original Sin. Read More
  • Considering relics, saints and the resurrection

    Recently, Father Carlos Martins, of the Companions of the Cross, blessed all those who made a pilgrimage to our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield to pray together and to see the Sacred Relics Exposition. Included in the exposition were over 150 relics of our faith, some dating back 2,000 years. While there, I talked to so many excited Catholics, like 9-year-old Marissa Davis of Riverton, who traveled from near and far. They shared with me they could “hardly wait” to see the relics. Read More
  • Seize opportunities to understand, be understood

    “We don’t wear that around here.” A Muslim woman in Decatur reports that she received this reaction from a woman in the place where both were shopping. The woman was referring to the Muslim hijab or veil. Read More
  • What it means to hunger and thirst for holiness

    Though the weather has not been all that bad this winter, I am ready for spring to get here. I like my lemonade (or Arnold Palmer, which is half tea and half lemonade) as my drink of choice when I go out for a meal. I get frustrated when restaurants tell me, “We do not have lemonade during the winter,” and yet they have iced tea? I don’t get it, but so be it! Read More
  • Sense of perspective in ‘being Catholic first’

    Discussions abound about “being Catholic first” — how our moral vision should judge partisan positions, not vice versa. Also essential for a Catholic view of politics is a sense of perspective, or “taking the long view.” Read More
  • Spring training can be exciting time

    Doesn’t it seem like it was just yesterday when the world was watching the Cubs win the 2016 World Series in baseball over the Cleveland Indians? Now, here we are and the 2017 exhibition baseball season is already under way. All the great players are gathering with their major league teams and have started their drills, and preparation for “spring time” baseball. Read More
  • It was a Lent to remember in Eternal City

    The best Lent of my life involved getting up every day at 5:30 a.m., hiking for miles through ankle-twisting, cobblestoned city streets, dodging drivers for whom traffic laws were traffic suggestions, avoiding the chaos of transit strikes and other civic disturbances, and battling bureaucracies civil and ecclesiastical — all while 3,500 miles from home sweet home. Read More
  • Looking into our hearts, conversing with other Christians

    The Jan. 29 ecumenical event at the Chiara Center in Springfield — a Lutheran-Catholic event intended to begin a series of commemorations of the beginnings, in 1517, of what came to be called the Protestant Reformation — was very well attended, giving evidence that there is great interest locally in addressing the mandate, implicit in the fact that there is one Lord Jesus Christ, that Christians seek the unity which Jesus intends for his people. A planning meeting for further events will be held Thursday, March 2, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Springfield. Read More
  • Ask yourself, ‘Who do I hang around with?’

    You are only as good as the crowd you hang around.” I remember being told that by a guidance counselor at a school I attended. I probably didn’t want to hear those words of wisdom then, but now at 58, I have come to know how true these words are. In fact, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this column because of an experience I had while attending a recent funeral Mass in Quincy. Read More
  • Gratitude and goodbyes after holidays

    The sun rose this morning in dramatic flourishes of pink and orange. Never mind that later the clouds and the gray winter reasserted themselves as members of my family left for the airport. I am grateful for the memory of standing in the front room with my youngest daughter and marveling at the stunning moment that was today’s brief sunrise. Read More
  • It’s time for a synod — we can make a difference

    On Jan. 22, approximately 300 clergy, religious and laity representing the seven deaneries and 129 parishes that make up the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois gathered in prayer with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki at our mother church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. Read More
  • What about those Sign of Peace marathons?

    Q I belong to one of those parishes where the whole Mass stops for what feels like an hour during the Sign of Peace. What I want to know is, what does the General Instruction of the Roman Missal say is the proper way to do the Sign of Peace? Do you have to shake hands, or is polite nod acceptable? And was there talk a few years ago about changing when we do it during the Mass? It seems really disruptive where it is. Read More
  • Pastoral reflections: public officials and abortion

    Abortion is the killing of an innocent infant in the womb of its mother. That is an incontrovertible fact. The growing child is not a disease to be cured nor a “tumor” to be excised. There is no biological doubt but that the fetus is a human person in development and for that reason pro-abortion supporters will not even argue the issue any more. The evidence is clear. If the developing embryo were not a human being in development, why would there be a need to kill it? Given enough time the child would exit the womb and enter the Read More
  • ‘I don’t want to go to hell for 75 cents.’

    When I was a young woman, I went to the grocery store with my mom in the farm town where I grew up. It was before the days of computerized cash registers that automatically revealed the amount of change due. You needed some rudimentary math skills back then to work at a store. Read More
  • Retirement: An invitation for something more

    Hello. I feel like I should re-introduce myself to you as I have just finished my five-year term of service at Catholic Relief Services and now write to you in my status as “me” and not president and CEO, or dean, or professor or whatever titles I have held since starting my professional career in 1979. Yes, this is the big step: retirement. Read More
  • Should Pope Francis sell the Vatican?

    I was asked by a non-Catholic whether Pope Francis is a hypocrite because he won’t sell everything and give it all to the poor. I was not sure how to respond. Thoughts? Read More
  • Lighting a candle in response to the times

    Last fall the [Springfield] State Journal-Register ran a guest column by our Sister Teresa Marron, OP, in which she explained that our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience are “a prophetic witness against the abuse of money, sex, and power.” Read More
  • Understanding the past; hope for the future

    Back in November, I let you know that there was some planning going on among Catholics and Lutherans in the Springfield area to commemorate the beginnings of the activity, five hundred years ago in Europe, which led to what is today called “the Protestant Reformation.” Read More
  • On Epiphany, let’s ask: What gift do we bring?

    Gold, frankincense and myrrh have never been under my tree. No one has ever given these gifts to me and I have not given them to others as a Christmas gift. They were the three symbolic gifts that the wise travelers laid at the manger as they honored Jesus as their Lord and Messiah. Read More
  • Intentional disciples say ‘Merry Christmas!’

    I have made a commitment to offer the greeting “Merry Christmas” as many times a day as I can. I applaud the Knights of Columbus who have been strongly supporting this effort “to keep Christ in Christmas.” I do this with no disrespect to any person of another faith. I would hope that in the particular important dates of their respective faith, they would share these moments with me so that I may celebrate with them their faith, too. Read More
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