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...]

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...]

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...]

Shelter From the Storm

The truth is, I'm going to be just fine during the Trump Administration. I 'm holding a straight flush: white, male, able-bodied, middle-class, and middle-aged. I have a business of my own and my wife has a solid, well-paying job with a Fortune 10 company. We own our home and have other assets, including investment and retirement accounts. Our son has already been to war and is in no danger of having to go again. Our daughter can rely on us for economic and emotional support. Frankly, there is l … [Read more...]

The Novena for Peace Begins Today

Eighty-one days of prayer for justice, peace, and racial reconciliation in the United States. We begin today and end on November 8, Election Day, which also happens to be the birthday of our patron, the Servant of God Dorothy Day.Please consider joining us at any point along the way. This isn't magic. We're not "multiplying words as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). We are Christians lifting our hearts and minds to God in lamentation, supplication, praise, and thanksgiving on behalf of our … [Read more...]

The Real Threat to Religious Liberty

Up front, you should know that I don't intend to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in November. It's not a tough decision, frankly. I live in the bluest of blue states, Rhode Island, where the only real question is whether the Democratic nominee will go over or just miss the 60% mark. So, although I have deep moral objections to both candidates, it's an easy call for me: I'm writing in Wendell Berry's name again.But if I lived in a battleground state and had to choose between Cl … [Read more...]

Turning America Around

In 1976, the evangelical church of my youth celebrated the bicentennial of American independence. Since my dad was the pastor and my mother the music director, my brothers and I were often pressed into service as singers. For our big Independence Day service, I was given the following song, titled “Statue of Liberty,” to sing, which I did with conviction:In New York Harbor stands a lady, With a torch raised to the sky; And all who see her know she stands for Liberty for you and me.I’m … [Read more...]