“They Failed”: Thank You, Archbishop Gomez

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Tonight, Archbishop Jose Gomez broke his silence on the recently released documents concerning efforts by his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, to cover up instances of clergy abuse. Like me, Archbishop Gomez found the documents "brutal and painful reading." He did not stop at repugnance, however, but in a letter to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, assigned accountability: "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. … [Read more...]

Showing the Beauty of Virtue: Don Bosco’s Legacy of Care

Don Bosco si tinerii

In a week when the scandal of clerical abuse of young people is again in the headlines, it's particularly important to invoke the prayers of St John Bosco, patron of youth, whom the Church remembers today. And it's especially important for people like me, who raised some hackles this week by calling for more accountability on the part of bishops who enabled and perpetuated the scandal, to acknowledge the Church's much longer and larger legacy of ransoming children from abuse and caring for them … [Read more...]

The Cat & The Cardinal: Assigning Moral Culpability When the Will Is Ill

Carlos

My cat, Carlos, died last week. To be completely honest, I killed him---even though I was 2500 miles away and had not seen him since November.I found out about his passing in the way so many of us learn about death these days: on Facebook. My former landlady, who assumed the care of Carlos along with the countless other burdens my hoarding left in its wake, posted a picture of him in happier times, with a message that said, "RIP Carlos. You deserved a better end."It was a shock, and … [Read more...]

Vale of Tears or Vale of Soul-Making? A Book Review

The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind 1825, reprinted 1874 by William Blake 1757-1827

The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life by Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens Ensign Peak, 2012Can God make a rock so heavy He can't pick it up? That's the playground version of the questions raised by the apparent paradox an omnipotent Deity presents to the limited human mind.When you get older, and life drops the heavy boulders of sin and suffering and death into your path, the questions get more complicated. Why do the innocent suffer while the guilty go unpunished? Why, in … [Read more...]

Songs of Innocents and Expedience–UPDATED

Duccio, "Slaughter of the Innocents"

Remembering the Slaughter of the Innocents means mourning them all . . . or none of them.Herod, the king, in his raging, Charged he hath this day His men of might, in his own sight, All young children to slay. (The Coventry Carol)On December 28, the Church recalls the massacre of infants and toddlers recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. Having heard from the Magi of the birth of a great king, the tetrarch Herod, anxious to hold on to his precarious puppet rule of Judea under his … [Read more...]

When Half-Spent Was the Night

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One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite Christmas carols is a great reminder that the Light of the World comes into our darkness when the night is half-spent. The tradition that Jesus was born at midnight is probably based partly on the language from the Book of Wisdom describing the angel who liberated the Israelites from Egypt: For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word from heaven's royal throne bounded, … [Read more...]

It’s Always Apocalypse, Now

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One more midnight gone, but for Christians---especially in Advent---we live always in the end-times. And that's good.As a small, fearful child with a galloping case of scruples, I was terrified of the End of the World. Those were apocalyptic times for Catholic school kids, the late fifties and early sixties. There were the weekly drop drills intended to prepare us for the nuclear annihilation that was always thisclose; Sister Maria Consuelo, our Cuban refugee third-grade teacher, was always … [Read more...]

The Cleaning Crew: 3 Advent Allies for Spiritual Warriors

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So here I am, sitting in the clean and light-filled kitchen of my new apartment in Southern California, basking in the blessing of engaging in the simplest of pleasures that I had denied myself in the worst of the hoarding. Making breakfast. Doing dishes. Taking a shower. Doing laundry, and hanging the clean clothes in an empty closet. Sleeping stretched out on a bed with clean sheets. Sweeping the floor. Seeing┬áthe floor.This week has been a glimpse of heaven, made possible by family and … [Read more...]


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