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 | Pornography debases human sexuality

Pope Benedict XVI posed for a photo with bishops from Missouri during a March 10 meeting on their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican. From left are: Bishop J. Vann Johnston Jr. of Springfield-Cape Girardeau; Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis; Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice of St. Louis; Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis; Pope Benedict; Bishop John R. Gaydos of Jefferson City; Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph; retired Bishop John J. Leibrecht of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

Pornography takes something beautiful -- the God-given gift of human sexuality -- and debases it. Pornographic images take something of inestimable value -- the loving union of a husband and wife -- and makes it cheap and tawdry.

Why then do so many people -- young and old -- use pornography in all its ugly and degrading forms? Why has the sale of pornographic magazines, DVDs, downloads and apps become a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business?

Family is gift that requires responsible stewardship

Generally speaking, families go through three phases. In the first phase, the parents care for their young children. In the second, or middle, phase, the parents and their growing children (young adults and/or adults) all care for one another. And in the final phase of a family's life cycle, the adult children care for their aging parents.

Children are a gift from God, sexuality must always remain open to life

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presided last weekend at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. The rite is for those who have been preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, including Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist, before the final weeks of their preparation before Easter Vigil. The Church also recognized those who already have been baptized and now prepare to profess their faith as members of the Church. This year, the archdiocese will welcome in 846 new members to the Church, including those pictured below.

Several years ago, I met with a group of parishioners who were concerned about the future of their school. Enrollment had been declining for many years, and the families who attended the meeting were legitimately concerned about their school's viability. Lots of causes for the decline in enrollment were discussed, but one issue -- a major contributing cause -- was never mentioned. After listening for some time, I decided that I had to be the one to bring it up.

Fight racism in ourselves and in our communities

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson distributed ashes for the students at Incarnate Word Academy on Ash Wednesday.

Racism is a serious moral problem in society and in the Church. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior. Racism is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. Racism must be recognized as a radical evil that influences the way we think, speak and act. The only "cure" for the sin of racism is conversion -- a profound recognition of the dignity of every human being regardless of his or her race, ethnicity, economic condition or cultural heritage.

Before the Cross | Violence is always sinful, never justified

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson talked with reporters after he announced plans to strengthen Catholic schools through his Alive in Christ mission advancement initiative Feb. 2 at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School.

For the past six weeks, I have been writing about issues that Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has identified as moral challenges that we should regard as priorities for this election year. As we form our consciences and exercise our rights -- and responsibilities -- as faithful citizens, the following threats against individuals and the common good require our attention:

• Abortion and all threats against the dignity of human life

Before the Cross | We must welcome strangers, respect others' dignity

This is my 115th "Before the Cross" column for the St. Louis Review. During the past two and a half years, I have enjoyed receiving feedback on my columns. Most of the time, people write to express their appreciation. Sometimes, however, I receive letters in which writers express their disagreement. I welcome different points of view as long as they are respectful. We would all benefit from more respectful disagreement and dialogue -- especially in the political arena!

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