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Comment & Dialogue
Word and Worship
Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love
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Is revision a change in doctrine?
September 16, 2018
On Aug. 2, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis has revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church with regard to capital punishment. In a rescript, or decree, the pope has replaced the previous version of paragraph 2267 of the Catechism, now concluding that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”
A call for profound spiritual renewal at all levels, prayer and fasting
September 02, 2018
In my previous column in the Aug. 19th issue of Catholic Times, I wrote about the recent revelations of what can only be described as horrifying abuse and neglect of authority among some priests and bishops of the church in our own country. While I felt compelled to respond immediately to the news, since that time, I have only experienced increasing anger, disgust, and a desire to act. I called for a response that must include several components, namely, public prayers of repentance and acts of atonement, new measures for review of bishops’ handling of cases and a reaffirmation of my own commitment to a zero-tolerance policy in our diocese, and a call for spiritual renewal at all levels of the church. I would like to share additional details and perspective on each of these three components of response — especially the first.
Sexual misconduct: Pruning and purification continues within the church
August 19, 2018
Recent allegations against Archbishop (formerly Cardinal) Theodore McCarrick of sexual misconduct with minors, seminarians and priests have caused great shame, anger and even outrage throughout all levels of the church. As a bishop, I certainly share in those feelings of disgust that a fellow successor of the Apostles could engage in such sinful conduct. I also find it disgraceful that his proclivities were apparently known by some church authorities, yet they did nothing about it as he continued to ascend through the ranks of the hierarchy.
The balance of charity and security with immigration
August 05, 2018
Immigration has been a hot button topic in recent times, but it has been a matter of keen interest for me during most of my adult life. My great-grandparents on both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family were Polish immigrants who came to the United States in the 1890s. The neighborhood where I grew up was heavily Polish when I was a young child. Hispanic immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico began to move into our neighborhood when I was in high school. My father, who spoke English and Polish, learned Spanish so he could speak to his customers in our family pharmacy. Similarly, the priests of my home parish learned Spanish so they could celebrate the Mass and the sacraments in English, Polish and Spanish.
Natural law and trusting in God’s providence
July 22, 2018
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical, Humanae vitae, on the gift of human life, written by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1968. This landmark document provides beautiful and clear teaching about God’s plan for married love and the transmission of life. Three key issues framed the context for the writing of this encyclical: the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960, changes in the understanding of the dignity of women and their role in society and growing concern that the earth’s natural resources would not be able to handle the huge population explosion that many people expected.
I respectfully disagree
July 08, 2018
The United States Supreme Court on June 27 decided that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions to which they do not wish to belong. When the case was decided against the union, Bishop Frank Dewane, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed his disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision, citing “the long-held view of so many bishops” in support of unions. I respectfully disagree. Let me explain why.
Ensuring our synodal efforts bear fruit
June 24, 2018
Over the past six months, I have used my column in Catholic Times to explain the 12 declarations of our fourth diocesan synod that concluded last November. My hope is that this explanation will help to advance the cause of implementing these 12 declarations so that our diocesan commitment to discipleship and stewardship will take root and flourish.
Belonging to the wider Catholic community
June 10, 2018
The 12th (and last) declaration of our fourth diocesan synod has three paragraphs. It is an essential aspect of our Catholic identity that we understand that we belong to the wider Catholic community beyond our local parish. The word “catholic” in fact means “universal,” so we belong to the universal church throughout the world as well as to our local diocese. Priests are collaborators with their diocesan bishop and bishops are successors of the Apostles in union with the Pope, who is the successor of St. Peter. As individuals tithe to their parishes, the parishes in turn will tithe with the diocese, which in turn contributes to the needs of the universal church in Rome and throughout the world.
Trust in God’s providence and give accordingly
May 27, 2018
The 11th declaration of our fourth diocesan synod was one of the more highly discussed and debated topics of the synod. Tithing is a concept that is not familiar to many Catholics despite its strong biblical roots.
Who acquires and owns my possessions?
May 13, 2018
The 10th declaration of our fourth diocesan synod makes clear the connection between discipleship and stewardship. The word “disciple” comes from the Latin word “disco,” which is not a dance, but means “I learn.” A disciple is someone who learns from someone else. A disciple of Jesus is someone who follows Jesus in order to learn from him and live accordingly.
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