The Harder Task: Talking About Abortion

This evening, at our parish’s regular 5:30 pm Mass, I put on purple vestments, and we prayed for the defense of unborn life and in reparation for the sin of abortion.The occasion, of course, is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which the U.S. Catholic bishops have designated as a day of prayer and penance.Praying for an end to abortion – and an end to the situations which make abortion appear to be the best or only option – seems obvious enough. But the “penance” part is less clear … [Read more...]

In the Kingdom of the Enemy: Reading the Torture Report

It’s been a struggle to figure out what is most disturbing in the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s “detention and interrogation” — i.e., torture — program, but I got the list down to a top six:The sheer brutality of some of the “enhanced interrogation techniques;” The fact that the torture was mostly useless, if not actually counterproductive; The fact that we’re discussing torture and effectiveness as if utility could justify brutali … [Read more...]

Between #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter: Being Called to Conversion

Earlier today, we posted an image applying a quote from Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium to the current discussion about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter: there cannot be peace unless we're all in it together.— The Jesuit Post (@TheJesuitPost) December 5, 2014We got some replies that suggested a better hashtag would have been #AllLivesMatter. If you search that hashtag, you’ll find that there are … [Read more...]

This Is What Authority Looks Like: Francis Bows Again

This is what authority looks like: like bowing and asking for a blessing.I woke this morning to this stunning image in my Facebook feed, courtesy of the Deacon’s Bench. As I’ve spent much of the morning driving back from seeing my family for Thanksgiving, it’s kept coming back to mind, as if it had something more to say.The context for the photograph is Francis’s visit to Turkey, and meeting with Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch. In addition to being the first Sunday of Advent th … [Read more...]

Remembering 9/11 with a Gospel that Preaches Itself

To you who hear I say, love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you. Sometimes, the lectionary provides us with a reading that preaches itself. As we remember 9/11 today, Thursday of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time offers us eleven profoundly challenging verses from chapter six of Luke's Gospel.And if I'm being honest, I have to say that as painful and sad as the memories are, I don't struggle to remember 9/11. And I'm … [Read more...]

Facing Failure: Why the Seal of Confession Is Inviolable

I try not to make a habit of wading into swamps, but there’s something going on in Louisiana that should not be ignored.[1. A few other contributors in the Patheos Catholic channel suggested a Jesuit might take look at this situation, in particular explaining from a Catholic viewpoint some of what’s being discussed over on the atheist channel.] The state Supreme Court ruled that, once a penitent has waived confidentiality, what was discussed in the sacrament of confession can be fair game in cou … [Read more...]