Archbishop's column

Before the Cross - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Column

'Before The Cross' by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Archbishop Carlson is the ninth Archbishop of Saint Louis. Listed below are the most recent columns written by Archbishop Carlson; click on the title to read the column. The Archdiocesan website has more information about Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Tolerance vs. mercy

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

In my final column on the Sacrament of Penance, I wish to speak about how our culture promotes "tolerance." We will set aside, for the moment, the fact that it is intolerant on many points. For now, I want to focus on two underlying points. With tolerance: 1) nothing is wrong and 2) no one needs to be forgiven.

Pope Francis, however, has been promoting mercy. By way of contrast, mercy also has two underlying points. With mercy: 1) something is wrong and 2) someone needs to be forgiven.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Mercy and the examination of our own sins

Archbishop Robert Carlson

Pope Francis has been teaching us something important about the relationship between receiving mercy and proclaiming the good news.

Perhaps it first became clear in his big interview, published in late September of 2013. The interviewer asked him: "Who is Jorge Bergoglio?" He paused, apparently searching deep within himself, and then replied: "I am a sinner."

BEFORE THE CROSS | Extending the mission of Jesus

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led a panel discussion for the state meeting of bishops and superior generals Nov. 3 at the Cardinal Rigali Center. With the archbishop were Bishop Edward M. Rice, left, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Bishop Vann Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

In addition to the healing carried out by Jesus Himself, the Gospels also testify that Jesus shared His healing mission with the Apostles. Each of the Synoptic Gospels affirms how Jesus made His power to heal body and soul present to the world through the Apostles:

"Then He summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. ... 'Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons'" (Matthew 10:1,8).

BEFORE THE CROSS | The power of Jesus' physical presence

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated Mass for employees of the archdiocese Oct. 29 at the Cardinal Rigali Center. In his homily, the archbishop called for further prayer for peace in Ferguson and Missouri.

I'm focusing on three themes from the healing stories in the Gospels. The third theme is the fact that Jesus' physical presence is powerful.

On the one hand, Jesus is God, and no one has to wait for God to be present. On the other hand, the Gospels testify to a remarkable fact: People waited for Jesus to come to them, and His physical presence made a difference.

BEFORE THE CROSS | The role of faith in healing

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presented the Hellriegel-Burbach Award to Msgr. William McCumber, former director of the archdiocesan Office of Sacred Worship, at the Gateway Liturgical Conference for his contributions to liturgical life in the Church in St. Louis. Msgr. McCumber is well known for a phrase he uses often to describe the liturgy: “If you want to know what the Church believes, listen to how she prays.” The award is named for Msgr. Martin Hellriegel, who was one of the founders the national Liturgical Conference in 1940 and was a leader in the liturgical renewal of the Church for almost 50 years, and Father Maur Burbach, OSB, who served as executive secretary of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and as a member of the liturgical commissions of both Kansas City and St. Louis.

I'm focusing on three themes from the healing stories in the Gospels. The second is the pivotal role faith plays in healing.

To the centurion who asked for the healing of his servant, Jesus said, "You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you" (Matthew 8:13). To the woman with a hemorrhage who reached out to touch his cloak, Jesus said, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction" (Mark 5:34). To the blind man who wanted to see, Jesus said, "Have sight; your faith has saved you" (Luke 18:42).

BEFORE THE CROSS | Jesus' desire to heal

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

I'm focusing on three themes from the healing stories in the Gospels.

The first is that Jesus desires to bring healing. This principle is made abundantly clear in the story about the cleansing of a leper (Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-42).

"A leper came to Him (and kneeling down) begged Him and said, 'If you wish, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand, touched him, and said to him, 'I do will it. Be made clean.' The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean" (Mark 1: 40-42).

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