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 | 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).

BEFORE THE CROSS | Jesus the healer

Jim Crowley, left, the 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal chair, recently received the St. Louis King Award from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. The award is the highest honor in the archdiocese. Crowley laughed as Archbishop Carlson spoke about his contributions to the 2014 appeal.

The Gospels give abundant witness to Jesus' desire and ability to heal those in need. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus' public ministry begins with acts of healing. Whether of an unclean spirit, of an ailing body, or both at once, healing isn't just one among many aspects of Jesus' mission -- it's the fundamental pattern behind his every word and deed.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Members of one body

Jim Crowley, the 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal Chair, was awarded the St. Louis King Award from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. The award is the highest honor in the archdiocese. Crowley, left, laughed as the Archbishop spoke about his contributions to the 2014 appeal.

Our sins aren't just individual actions, a matter of a purely private choice with purely private consequences. Just as the attitudes of our heart and the thoughts of our mind flow outward in actions, so also our individual actions flow outward and affect others. In the words of St. John Paul II: "[B]y virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual's sin in some way affects others ...

BEFORE THE CROSS | Exposing the root of sin

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Every gardener knows that if he treats only the flower and neglects the root, the weeds that plague the garden will keep coming back. Every physician knows that if she treats only the symptoms of illness and neglect to discover and treat the underlying cause, the patient's ailment might return again and again.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Temptation and misdirected desires

Sister Emeline Phan, CMR, held the prayer book and Sister Irene Dinh, CMR, the local superior, held a candle as Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated a votive Mass for the Queenship of Mary and blessed the new convent of the Sisters of Mary Queen on Sept. 6. The sister’s motherhouse is in Saigon, Vietnam, but there have been Sisters of Mary Queen residing in the Archdiocese of St. Louis since 1994. The Sisters of Mary Queen serve God’s people through teaching, nursing, pastoral care, social work, early childhood education, youth ministry and more.

As we probe more deeply into the roots of sin in our lives,we find that we are not only inwardly divided but also tempted. In addition to the weakness inherited as part of fallen human nature, a force of evil also is at work in the world and in our hearts: We are under attack by the enemy of human nature, who is stronger than our human capacity. Every human person is susceptible to the strategies of the tempter, who wills our destruction and fears our surrender to God.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Getting to the roots of sin

At the end of a Mass in honor of St. Louis IX, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presented each of the Catholic schools of the archdiocese with a framed image of St. Louis. The archbishop encouraged the children to pray to St. Louis, the patron of the city and archdiocese, integrating him into their education.

To see a recording of this Mass, visit

We know the inward division that St. Paul spoke of when he said:

"What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. (Romans 7:15)"

Faced with such an ancient problem, what will we do?

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