Irish Death

According to Irish legend, centuries ago on the British Isles, where cemeteries were running out of burial space, graves got dug up to reuse or make better use of the small plots of land.  It was discovered that many coffins had scratch marks inside indicating that some of the departed were not actually dead at […]

82% Evaporating

The Catholic Church seems to be evaporating before our eyes.  Bishop Robert Barron claims that only 7% of American Catholics are engaged in parish life while 11% have left the church and 82% of those who self-identify as Catholic have drifted away, i.e., they are only nominally connected and no longer engaged in practicing their […]

Weight of the Cross

Among great 1960s folk songs is “The Weight” by The Band.  As you listen, it might take you on an interesting Lenten odyssey.  A collaborative effort led by drummer Robbie Robertson, the lyrics do a deep dive for those seeking spiritual messaging, though the artists claim that searchers read far more into the words than […]

Saints That Pass Our Way

It has been said: “Heroes are saintly people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the consequences.”  In early March, the church celebrates the feast of Katharine Drexel, the first United States born citizen to be canonized.  A nineteenth century Philadelphia heiress, her mother died the week […]

Improving Church Image

When I was ordained over thirty-three years ago, I entered a covenant with the Catholic Church.  She graciously accepted me, with all my faults, as her ecclesial son; and I vowed to honor her and, with God’s grace, to do my best to serve others through her.  My favorite images of the church are those […]

Loving Lent

There is so much to love about our Catholic faith, formed from our Judeo-Christian roots.  But as Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote: “Love is a harsh and dreadful reality.”  Our tendency is to romanticize and commercialize love with sunshine, flowers, jewelry, boxes of chocolates, and scenic backdrops; but even Saint Valentine, who we honor with fancy […]

Classic Novels

Recently I met a man who had, decades ago, received a college bachelor’s degree in literature and a woman who earned a master’s degree in fiction studies.  If I understood them correctly, the curricula were not so much about creative writing and composition as they were about simply discovering and enjoying good literary works.  To […]

Ole Goats In God’s Kingdom

It’s a little depressing in Chief’s Kingdom tonight.  The ole goat, Tom Brady, did what he does so often and does so well: proved himself the greatest of all time.  As football legends go, he is more legendary than Vince Lombardi, whose name is inscribed on the trophy he hoisted tonight for the seventh time.  […]

Too Damn Dull

Theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, once stated: “The problem with Christianity is not that it’s socially conservative or politically liberal but that it’s just too damn dull.”  His statement speaks volumes to millions of Catholics who feel disconnected from their own church because it promotes a status quo that is out of touch with the struggles of […]

Capacity to Empathize

About eight years ago, during a period when I counseled several adult survivors of priest sexual abuse, I also served on a board for our diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection.  We almost became an underground group because our bishop at the time was uninterested in dealing with issues that exposed church faults.  A […]