Glutton For Punishment

In this week’s Gospel passages, Jesus encounters Pharisees, very smart, learned men who put lots of emphasis on religious rituals, rules, and regulations.  Because of their intellect and devotedness, some were high priests, members of the Jewish magisterium and Sanhedrin, and those who wanted Jesus silenced and, ultimately, killed.  Though knowledgeable (a human trait), they […]

Trump Derangement Syndrome

A hundred years ago, Hermann Rorschach created his famous inkblot test to assess the personality of subjects.  It offers therapists insights into how clients perceive their surroundings through abstract images.  It can reveal aspects of cognition and affectivity because of patterns which subjects report to see in the images and even make calculated predictions about […]

Compassion, Not Condemnation

Like former-president Trump, Pope Francis is incredibly transparent.  Though their similarities might begin and end with this one thing, it is refreshing to witness such clear-sighted leadership.  At the same time, it is probably not enjoyable for them to be continuously criticized for it.  Pope Francis recently spoke about the criticism he receives—much, if not […]

Pastoral, Not Political

Pope Francis recently commented that church leaders should be pastors not politicians (when facing hot topic issues).  On other occasions, he has reminded Catholics that we, like Jesus, are to engage in society, i.e., to be political.  It is a balance that is difficult for some of us to establish and maintain. To be pastoral […]

Next Chapters

Modern Ignatian Spirituality offers programs to assist people facing the next chapters of their life.  Participants willingly grapple with what God is calling them to do in their next phase of earthly existence.  It is particularly relevant for retirees.  A hundred years ago, life expectancy was around fifty years and very few people—less than one […]

The Day America Got Blindsided

A decade ago, columnist David O’Brien wrote: “American individualism is real, and it is good.  When their lives were on the line, many endangered Americans thought not of themselves but of others.  Evil is real; sin is real; humanity is limited, but love is not.  On 9/11, the United States of America was tested, and, […]

Stimulus

I recently received a beautiful card and kind note with an enclosed check of $1,400 from a very thoughtful and generous friend.  Though sympathetic towards our federal government’s distribution of stimulus checks, she admitted that she didn’t need hers and would like to support a person or family that did, perhaps one seeking a good, […]

Into the Mystic

Nineteenth Century American spiritualist, Reverend Luther Beecher, wrote a beautiful reflection about death called “Gone From My Sight,” sometimes referred to as “The Parable of Immortality.” You are standing upon a seashore as a ship at your side spreads its white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the massive blue ocean.  She is […]

What The Church Does Well

Construction spending is one indicator of what a society values.  According to the Census Bureau, construction of houses of worship plunged in the United States over the past twenty years while building boomed in most categories.  The 66% decline in religious structures, from $9 billion in 2003 to $3 billion in 2021, is a record […]

Aberrant Subculture

In the 1950s and 60s, high school and college seminaries were packed with boys and young men, 14-22, wearing cassocks, smoking cigarettes, and trying to grow up within structures permitted by priests charged with forming them to become clerics.  As one of them recalls: “They treated us like boys, dressed us like girls, and expected […]