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 Christ: The Divine Physician

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson talked with seminarians prior to a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city and the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis IX. Dignitaries included Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia; Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States; Archbishop Thierry Jordan of Reims, France, where St. Louis was crowned; and Prince Louis de Bourbon, a descendent of St. Louis IX.

Jesus Christ is the great physician -- the Divine Physician -- of body and soul.

In His public ministry, Jesus reached out, by word and deed, to heal those with illnesses of the body and sicknesses of the soul. (See Mark 2 and Luke 4, where Jesus' public ministry begins with healing episodes.)

In His Passion, death and Resurrection, He conquered sin and death, becoming the source of ultimate healing for all. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave the Apostles a share in His own life, so that the healing power of his words and deeds would continue to be present to the world through them.

BEFORE THE CROSS | A revolution of tenderness

Catholic radio host, Teresa Tomeo, broadcasted her show live from the Cardinal Rigali Center. She interviewed Archbishop Robert J. Carlson from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

"God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy" (Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium," 3).

Here's a little Bible trivia: In the Gospels, how many times does someone ask Jesus to forgive his or her sins?

Zero. That's right – it never happens.

The point isn't that Jesus doesn't forgive sins. Obviously, He does. The point is that no one ever asks.

Do you think we can do better?

BEFORE THE CROSS | Synod tries to better explain, not change, Church teaching

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke to Brother Aidan McDermott and Brother Cuthbert Elliott at the Mass in which the two Benedictines were ordained as transitional deacons. The men will continue their studies toward the priesthood at the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis.

In this final article on the family, I want to reflect on the extraordinary Synod of Bishops that the Holy Father has called for the coming fall. The theme of the synod is "the pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization."

Let's begin by recalling a conversation Jesus had with his disciples. One day He asked them, "Who do people say that I am?" They reported the things they had heard: that He was John the Baptist, or Elijah or one of the prophets.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Approaching end-of-life care as people of faith

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated an exposition and benediction as part of a novena Aug. 5 at the Monastery of St. Clare in south St. Louis County.

As we continue this series on the family, I'd like to reflect about one aspect of our care for family members at the end of life.

In a brilliant and challenging article many years ago, Lutheran theologian Gilbert Meilaender wrote,"I want to burden my loved ones."

His analysis started with the response people often give when they hear a story of someone near the end of life who is sustained by feeding tubes or, more drastically, a ventilator: "I wouldn't want to live like that. I don't want to burden my loved ones."

BEFORE THE CROSS | Our first reaction should be to act with love

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As I continue this series on the family, I'd like to reflect on the reality of broken families.

The ideal situation for a family, both morally and statistically, is a "two-parent, intact household" -- children living with their mother and father.

But we know well that, for a variety of reasons, the ideal situation isn't always what happens. There's death. There's divorce. There's having children outside of marriage. There are many factors in our fallen world that complicate things. How do we approach a broken world as people of faith?

BEFORE THE CROSS | Families mirror the fruitful nature of the Trinity

Five sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross of Phat Diem made their perpetual religious professions at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in south St. Louis on July 19. The community came to the Archdiocese from Vietnam by invitation of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who was the principal celebrant of the Mass. The five religious are, from left, Sister Teresa Din Thi Cuc, Sister Maria Vu Thi Diep, Sister Tran Thi Khuyen, Sister Maria Nguyen Thi Thuy and Sister Anna Vu Thi Thuyen.

As I continue this series on the family, I want to reflect about children in the family. I do so with a special awareness that July 20-26 was designated Natural Family Planning Week by the U.S. bishops.

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