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Comment and Dialogue Articles

  • Big tech censors religion, too

    Big tech censors religion, too There’s no rest for faithful when it comes to woke orthodoxy It’s not only politics. So far this year, religious groups and figures have been silenced by tech companies at a rate of about one a week, according to a new report from the Napa Legal Institute. Consider LifeSiteNews, a popular religious news website. In February, its YouTube channel was permanently banned by Google, which deleted all its videos. Google claimed its action was a response to COVID-19 misinformation but wouldn’t tell LSN which video had offended its standards. The tech giant had flagged LSN for a video of an Read More
  • Hey, Father! I’m confused on what papal infallibility means.

    Hey, Father! I’m confused on what papal infallibility means. Hey, Father! I’m confused on what papal infallibility means. Since the charism of papal infallibility is one of the more controversial and often misunderstood teachings of the Church, it might be helpful to say first what is not. Infallibility does not mean the pope is omniscient or that he will never make practical mistakes in judgment. Nor does it denote that every word the Holy Father speaks is historically, scientifically, or factually true. It does not prevent reasonable criticism of what the pope says and does, and it certainly does not suggest he is sinless. But it does mean he Read More
  • Doctors of Church have much to tell us

    Doctors of Church have much to tell us Last column, I mentioned three saints newly added to our liturgical calendar as optional memorials. These three all happen to be “doctors of the Church.” This designation may be confusing to us. We commonly use the term “doctor” to refer to a physician. We have to keep in mind that the original meaning of “doctor” is “teacher.” Merriam-Webster’s first definition of “doctor” is “a religious scholar who is eminent in theological learning and personal holiness and usually an expounder and defender of established doctrine.” From ancient times, Ss. Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great were esteemed as the Great Read More
  • Hey Father! Just wondering if Catholics will be able to partake in the Blood of Christ since the pandemic is nearly over?

    Hey Father! Just wondering if Catholics will be able to partake in the Blood of Christ since the pandemic is nearly over? Just wondering if Catholics will be able to partake in the Blood of Christ since the pandemic is nearly over?— Gail in Highland Read More
  • Studying liturgical calendar can be fascinating

    Studying liturgical calendar can be fascinating This column first appeared in the issue of July 3, 2011. So, the column is 10 years old. Over the years, I have heard from many people who have let me know how much they enjoy it. So, I will do my best to keep going. I believe that, in the past, I have touched on my study of the liturgical calendar; it is, for me, a hobby of sorts. Read More
  • Hey Father! Who is the disciple whom Jesus loved?

    Hey Father! Who is the disciple whom Jesus loved? Who is the disciple whom Jesus loved?— Debbie in Springfield Read More
  • Hey, Father! What are the priest’s correct and necessary words for valid absolution in the sacrament of confession?

    Hey, Father! What are the priest’s correct and necessary words for valid absolution in the sacrament of confession? What are the priest’s correct and necessary words for valid absolution in the sacrament of confession?— Nancy in Effingham Read More
  • Reflecting on God the Holy Spirit in His many manifestations

    Reflecting on God the Holy Spirit  in His many manifestations Many of us, over the years (indeed, over the past 52 years!) have noticed something in our Missals and other liturgical resources which has puzzled us. When we come to the solemnity of Pentecost, we find a “vigil” with the possibility of four Old Testament readings, but only one psalm. Just a few years back, complete information was issued about an “extended” Vigil of Pentecost. You can see all the Scripture citations by going to kevinlaughery.com/lc2022.html and scrolling down to June 5. Read More
  • Vaccine mandates and Catholic colleges

    Vaccine mandates and Catholic colleges In a recent statement from the National Catholic Bioethics Center on COVID-19 vaccines, we noted that the Catholic Church “neither requires nor forbids” the use of vaccines, but instead urges people to “form their consciences and to carefully discern the moral and prudential issues involved.” A 2020 Vatican statement offers a similar conclusion: “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation,” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.” Read More
  • Hey Father! Hey, Father! What is the point of praying?

    Hey Father! Hey, Father! What is the point of praying? Hey, Father! What is the point of praying? My brother was in the hospital for almost four months with COVID. We had prayers said, Masses, lit candles, a group said the rosary every night and he was on the prayer list at all the area churches. He died anyway. Did God say, “I want him to die, or I don’t care if he dies?” I think God is very selective of whose prayers he answers. It is like playing the lottery. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. What is the point of doing everything the church says for us to Read More
  • Hey Father! What is the purpose of a confirmation name?

    Hey Father! What is the purpose of a confirmation name? What is the purpose of a confirmation name? Read More
  • Countering Catholic misinformation about vaccines

    Countering Catholic misinformation about vaccines A priest recently mentioned to me that he was not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He told me he was concerned that RNA vaccines could alter our DNA and he heard there were also risks to fertility. I replied that those particular concerns were unsubstantiated, and not scientifically correct, and encouraged him to be vigilant about various forms of misinformation, including “Catholic” misinformation that can spread rapidly on social media. Read More
  • Hey Father! Do souls or spirits have a shape or form? How will we notice and recognize our loved ones who have gone before us?

    Hey Father! Do souls or spirits have a shape or form? How will we notice and recognize our loved ones who have gone before us? Do souls or spirits have a shape or form? How will we notice and recognize our loved ones who have gone before us?— Roger in Edwardsville Read More
  • Observe Easter season by reading Acts of the Apostles

    Observe Easter season by reading Acts of the Apostles In the previous issue, there were a number of suggestions about observing the Easter season, which always runs seven weeks, and this year concludes on Sunday, May 23. I’d like to add another suggestion. If you have never read the Acts of the Apostles all the way through, the Easter season is the perfect time to do so. We always read excerpts from Acts on the Sundays of Easter. In addition, every year at weekday Mass we read a semi-continuous narrative from Acts. Read More
  • Hey Father! What happened to the custom of bowing the head when saying the name of Jesus?

    Hey Father! What happened to the custom of bowing the head when saying the name of Jesus? Thank you for asking this important question, and indeed it is an important question to answer since it relates to our relationship with Jesus Christ and his relationship to us. Read More
  • Should we take whatever vaccine is offered?

    Should we take whatever vaccine is offered? On March 1, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told residents in the town of Mattapan that when it comes to the various COVID-19 vaccines, “These are all very effective. People don’t need to pick one from another. People should get vaccinated. If you have a chance to get a vaccine, you should take it, whatever it is.” The governor’s sweeping statement seems to imply, first, that everybody should get a COVID-19 shot, and second, that it’s not necessary to distinguish among the different vaccines currently on the market, like Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and eventually others. Read More
  • Hey Father! “Oh my God!” What’s wrong with saying that?

    Hey Father! “Oh my God!” What’s wrong with saying that?  “Oh my God!” What’s wrong with saying that? Read More
  • Looking at extraordinary beauty of ordinary moments

    Looking at extraordinary beauty of ordinary moments For many years I aspired to direct, and to play the role of the “Stage Manager” in Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play Our Town. I had my chance in 1998, when I was pastor of St. Patrick in Girard and St. Mary in Farmersville. I was able to assemble a cast which included students of St. Isidore’s School in Farmersville, adult parishioners, and also my father, who was once on the stage as a student at Decatur High School. Read More
  • Hey Father! Does the Catholic Church believe that innocent babies that have not been baptized yet will go to limbo and not to Heaven upon their deaths?

    Hey Father! Does the Catholic Church believe that innocent babies that have not been baptized yet will go to limbo and not to Heaven upon their deaths? Does the Catholic Church believe that innocent babies that have not been baptized yet will go to limbo and not to Heaven upon their deaths?— Anonymous in the diocese Read More
  • The ‘quality of life’ error

    The ‘quality of life’ error During “serious illness conversations,” some doctors will ply their patients with this question: “What is your minimally acceptable quality of life?” Behind the question can be the implication that if patients are experiencing a low quality of life, their medical treatments can be discontinued because their life has become “no longer worth living.” Read More
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