The Life of “An Apostle of Charity”

Antoine Frédéric Ozanam by Raymond Sickinger 412 pages, University of Notre Dame Press $60.00Raymond Sickinger, a professor of history at Providence College, has written an impressive new biography of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the mid-19th Century French layman who Pope St. John Paul II called an "apostle of charity" and "a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church." As a 20 year-old student, Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a lay Catholic apostolate focused on pro … [Read more...]

Jesus, Taxes, and Charity

By Matthew Cooper Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ‘Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not?’But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew … [Read more...]

Francis meets TED, Talks About ‘Solidarity’

"How wonderful it would be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work and became instead the default attitude in political, economic, and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the ‘culture of waste,’ which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techn … [Read more...]

My Most Grievous Fault: The Moral Problem of Wealth

"How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?" - St. Basil the Great."Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth, but theirs." - St. John ChrysostomIt is always easier to accuse than to confess. But in reality we're all sinners of one sort or another sitting together in the dock. I have long been, and will continue … [Read more...]

Review of ‘The Reckless Way of Love’

My friend the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel once said that if he weren’t Roman Catholic he’d be a Quaker. It is, he said, the only other thing that makes sense. Personally, I’d join the Bruderhof (assuming they’d have me), and I suspect that my hero and model Dorothy Day might have said that, as well.The Bruderhof certainly are fans of hers. One of the latest books from Plough Publishing House, the Bruderhof book imprint, is The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus. It’s a collection … [Read more...]

Find Your Own Calcutta

Myself I've never met a saint of the Church and I've only met one person who ever knew a prospective saint. (It was someone who knew Dorothy Day well.)But we all need to meet more of them, even if it's only in the pages of books like Fr. James Martin's My Life with the Saints, now out in a 10th anniversary edition.The author picked out sixteen of his favorite saints (including saint-in-the-making Dorothy Day) and interestingly wraps bits of his own life story around his mini-biographies … [Read more...]

A Lawless Man

On Friday, January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. It will be dark day for our nation, and a portent of even more dire days ahead, because the highest office in our land is being assumed by a fundamentally lawless man.Like Erebus and Nyx, Trump is born of Chaos. His campaign, indeed his broader public career and persona, have been characterized by the absence of any recognized constraints on his conduct and by the cavalier violati … [Read more...]

Good News & Great Joy

To all people of good will fighting for social, economic, and environmental justice, defending the poor & the marginalized, ministering to the world's sick and wounded, or working for peace and reconciliation among both men and nations- rejoice!  You do not labor to build the Beloved Community in vain, but are instead the harbingers of a Kingdom that is, even now, triumphantly breaking into our world.To all people in darkness- the poor, the oppressed and abused, the migrants, the fo … [Read more...]

Roasting Marshmallows at the Apocalypse

[A review of Nothing to Vote For: The Futility of the American Electoral Process, by Daniel Schwindt]One of the more misguided, even destructive projects of our hyper-merchandized culture is the labeling of entire generations into Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. As though our society needed yet another mechanism for dividing ourselves from each other, especially via stereotypes based on shopping. As an example of the crudity of these generational labels, I offer the example of my … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Deal: Privatizing the Presidency

Dispossessed of jobs and their dignity for a generation now or more, the Trump voters are glowing as they await what they were promised: nothing less than the reversal of a great tidal wave of economic history, the one popularly referred to as globalization or offshoring or free trade.As their unlikely tribune of the plebs, they have elevated a man with businesses in 18 countries, including Trump-branded hotels in India (2), Istanbul, Uruguay, the Phillippines, South Korea, Panama, Rio de … [Read more...]