Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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January 10, 2021
Is it moral to receive a COVID-19 vaccine made with a cell line from an abortion? The short answer to that question is yes, in certain circumstances. If that qualified answer — yes, in certain circumstances — raises more questions in your mind, that’s good! Moral questions often involve a variety of factors that must be taken into consideration. I realize that not everyone is comfortable navigating these complexities, however.
December 27, 2020
There are a variety of reasons why people do not receive holy Communion when they come to Mass. In some cases, they are children who have not yet received their confirmation and first holy Communion. Others do not receive because they are not Catholic. It could be that a person is conscious of having committed grave sin but has not yet had a chance to go to confession and receive absolution from the priest in the sacrament of penance. It might also simply be that a person has had something to eat right before Mass and hence has not observed the required one-hour fast before receiving holy Communion. Whatever the reason, it has become customary in the United States and some other countries for people to present themselves to the minister of holy Communion with their arms crossed in front of their chest to indicate that they do not want to receive holy Communion but wish to receive something else. The question is: What is it that they should expect to receive if they are not receiving holy Communion? Often they would receive a blessing. Other times they would be invited with various words to make a spiritual communion.
December 13, 2020
When speaking about celebrating Mass ad orientem, what is meant liturgically is to be praying while facing Our Lord, the “Dawn from on high” who will “break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet on the way to peace” (Luke 1:78-79). While celebrating Mass facing the people became popular after the Second Vatican Council, there is actually no document from the Second Vatican Council that calls for Mass to be celebrated facing the people.
November 29, 2020
Three years ago, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 26, 2017, we concluded our fourth diocesan synod. Representatives from each of our 129 parishes voted overwhelmingly to declare that the “mission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is to build a fervent community of intentional and dedicated missionary disciples of the Risen Lord and steadfast stewards of God’s creation who seek to become saints. Accordingly, the community of Catholic faithful in this Diocese is committed to the discipleship and stewardship way of life as commanded by Christ Our Savior and as revealed by Sacred Scripture and Tradition.”
November 15, 2020
Update on confirmations. With safe-distancing and 25% of capacity in our churches, it will not be possible for me to do all of the Confirmation and First Holy Communion Masses myself for the foreseeable future, so I have extended to the Pastors and Parochial Administrators of the parishes in our diocese the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to the faithful in their parishes who are properly disposed and prepared, effective January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021.
November 01, 2020
Death is an uncomfortable topic in our contemporary culture. We avoid talking about it and employ euphemisms to mask our discomfort. Rather than say someone has died, we say that he or she has “passed away.” Instead of wakes and funerals, people prefer to call such services a “celebration of life.” Cemeteries are renamed “memorial gardens.” There is nothing wrong with celebrating a person’s life or remembering them after they have died, but a theological and pastoral problem that emerges with such changes in terminology is that “celebrations of life,” “memorial gardens” and “memorial Masses” all look to the past. Christian burial practices, on the other hand, look to the future in anticipation of our bodily resurrection and eternal life.
October 18, 2020
Is it a sin to vote for Joe Biden because of his pro-abortion stance? A number of the faithful have been asking that question. Here is my response.
October 04, 2020
As witnessed in recent Supreme Court nomination hearings, political opponents are not likely to be so courteous or deferential to Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated on Sept. 26 to replace Justice Ginsburg on our nation’s highest court. In particular, it will be unfortunate if she is attacked for her Catholic faith, as she was in the confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate when she was nominated as a judge for the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Chicago.
September 20, 2020
As election day in our country approaches in less than two months, people have been asking me if I will provide some guidance as they consider the candidates and ponder their votes. While I cannot endorse candidates for office, I and other church officials can provide voter education and pertinent information to help inform one’s choices.
September 06, 2020
Terror on every side! These frightening words are from the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 20:10, NABRE). Jeremiah served God during the reigns of Judah’s last kings. King and people sadly resisted Jeremiah’s life-giving message. The chapters of his book are filled with accounts of the verbal and physical attacks he had to endure. In spite of such dire circumstances, Jeremiah remains confident of God’s help, as he proclaims, “The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion” (Jer. 20:11).