Why Pope Benedict XVI Matters to Me


On this 88th birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I became a little nostalgic. And I started to think... Why does Pope Benedict XVI matter so much to me? I hope you'll allow me to explain.It was early April, 2005 and the world was in mourning. The long-suffering, deeply afflicted Pope John Paul II had slipped away and we were ushered into a period with which I was unfamiliar as a non-Catholic: The Interregnum. Sede Vacante. The period between popes. The time of St. Peter's vacant seat. I w … [Read more...]

Rediscovering The God I Had Forgotten About


 The Incredulity of St. Thomas by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Something happened to me on Easter. Something extraordinary. It was like a longstanding logjam that had clogged up the flow of a heaving, impatient river suddenly, miraculously became free. And the dancing waters flowed once again. Effortlessly. And with exuberance.Let me explain.It was Easter Sunday and my wife, daughters and I had gone to Mass followed by a quick brunch. We returned home to a … [Read more...]

Behold the Pierced One: Spending Holy Week with Benedict XVI


 "Easter is concerned with something unimaginable." - Joseph Cardinal RatzingerI just returned from vacation. And it was terrific. The sunny climes of gulf coast Florida afforded an abundance of time to explore Busch Gardens (birds land on your head!), discover the Florida aquarium (I've never seen a bigger grouper), be dazzled by mind-bending art at the Dali Museum (pose with a gigantic Dali moustache!) and swim with my two daughters (both of whom I threw, splashed and chased to … [Read more...]

On Catholicism & Atheism…My Dogma & Yours


 Milan CathedralEarlier this evening I happened upon CNN's home web page where I encountered an engaging feature, Famous Atheists & Their Beliefs. Intrigued, I was drawn into the fashionable and attractive head shots and statements of actors and actresses, scientists and intellectuals, musicians and composers who had declared their creed (or refutation of a Creed) of Atheism. From many, they had become one. And CNN was happy to tell their stories.And so, the stories wo … [Read more...]

My Quaint, Silly, Ridiculous, Little, Lovely, Lovely Faith


The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da CaravaggioWhen I was growing up, I was raised in a Lutheran home. My mother's father was a gifted, but somewhat stern Lutheran pastor who informed my mother's faith. We attended church regularly, prayed at meals, prayed before bedtime and read stories from "Hurlbut's Story of the Bible". I recall close friendships between my parents and our pastors. I remember walks with my dad down long train tracks, as our black lab manically sniffed for … [Read more...]

Why That Woman Wept At Confession


  I have to be honest. I was jarred when I first heard it. It was on a Tuesday night - a Lenten Reconciliation Service. The gorgeous sanctuary of our church was warmly lit and Richard, the music director, gingerly played beautiful, familiar, sweetened hymns on the piano. Lines were formed around the periphery of the sanctuary. Five priests were working overtime (as if there is a prescribed set of "working hours" in a priest's life anyway) leaning in, comforting, consoling, … [Read more...]