Does God Love the Poor More Than the Rich?

I have a friend named Trish who frequently corners me after Mass to ask questions about things she finds baffling in Scripture or Catholic teaching. Her questions range from the mundane – “Why, if Mary remained a virgin, does Scripture refer to the ‘brothers and sisters’ of Jesus?” – to the sublime – “How can it be that Jesus is both human and divine?” Why Trish brings her questions to me, I’m not sure, but I always try to reward her curiosity by patiently providing as full an answer as I can. … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Passing the Test (for Cynthia)

[An old friend in pain recently emailed me to share some anguish and doubt. (S)he wrote that despite years of intense but unanswered prayer, (s)he had finally failed the test of faithfulness. Most disturbing of all, (s)he commended me on having passed that test, no doubt truly believing that in fact I have. This was my reply. I offer it today for my new friend Cynthia.]Thank you, my friend, for reaching out to share these thoughts with me, for trusting me with emotions so raw and doubts so p … [Read more...]

Novena for Peace: August 29 – September 6, For an End to the Injustice of Exploitation

Join us at Novena For Peace!General Intentions: For an end to the injustice of exploitation. For the redemption of structures that enable the powerful to abuse the Earth, bind women and children in sexual slavery, promote pornography, and deprive workers of just wages. For the spread of an integral ecology that protects nature, promotes the dignity of the human person, and seeks the common good.Particular Intentions: For those people known to us who suffer from exploitation, and in re … [Read more...]

Forget Shea. This Guy Has Anger and Tone Issues

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore, whatever they tell you observe and do, but do not do their works. For they speak, but do nothing. They fasten heavy loads that are hard to carry and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with their finger.They do all their works to be seen by men. They make their Scripture boxes broad and lengthen the tassels on their prayer shawls. They love the places of honor at feasts, and the prominent seats in th … [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...]

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...]