Church teaching articles and columns

Below are the latest columns from the St. Louis Review. Click on a title or the 'Continue Reading' link to read the whole story.

May 24, 2018

Some billionaires give away massive amounts of money to promote dark causes. Contrast them with Jesus, the God-Man, who gives us His Body and Blood as food to prepare us for eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

On the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we ponder the mystery of this total self-giving. The Old Testament is about the mystery of God giving Himself away to save His people.

In the Book of Exodus, when God appea...

May 24, 2018

Why is Jesus often depicted in images and statues only holding up three fingers?

In images with Christ, He is often pictured with His right hand lifted in blessing. In that pose, He has three fingers up and two down.

The three fingers pointing up symbolize the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. The two fingers joined together point to Jesus' two natures: that He is fully human and fully divine.

Why do pries...

May 17, 2018

A medida que volvemos a entrar esta semana en el tiempo ordinario, quiero preguntarles: ¿Qué es lo que cuenta como "ordinario"?

Hay cosas que son estadísticamente ordinarias, pero no moralmente ordinarias - la forma en la que son las cosas, pero no la forma en la que deberían ser. ¿Nos conformamos con las normas estadísticas, o luchamos por las normas morales? Déjeme darle algunos ejemplos.

Después del tiroteo en la escuela de la...

May 17, 2018

As we re-enter ordinary time this week, I want to ask: what counts as "ordinary?"

There are things that are statistically ordinary but not morally ordinary — the way things are, but not the way they were meant to be. Do we settle for the statistical norm, or strive for the moral norm? Let me give some examples.

After the Florida school shooting in February, some reports claimed that 26 of the 27 deadliest shooting cases in Americ...

May 17, 2018

What is your image of the Most Holy Trinity? Hopefully it's more than a geometric triangle. Once in teaching second graders at Epiphany Parish, I mentioned that the Trinity is a mystery, which we can't understand. A 7-year-old girl raised her hand and said, "I understand it." I invited her to explain. Quickly rising to her feet, she said, "There is an old man with a long flowing beard, and that is God the Father. Inside of Him is a boy, who is...

May 10, 2018

La historia de Eric Liddell debería ser mejor conocida.

Al aproximarse los Juegos Olímpicos de 1924, Liddell lucía como el corredor más rápido del mundo en la carrera de los 100 metros. Sin embargo, las eliminatorias preliminares se realizarían un domingo, y él se negó a correr. El consideró que era un día dedicado a Dios, y punto. Él no estaba dispuesto a comprometer sus convicciones, ni siquiera por la gloria olímpica.

El sacri...

May 10, 2018

More people should know the story of Eric Liddell.

With the 1924 Olympic games approaching, Liddell was looking like the world's fastest 100 meter runner. But the preliminary heats were to be held on a Sunday, and he refused to run. He considered it a day separated for God, period. He wasn't willing to compromise his conviction, not even for Olympic glory.

Liddell's sacrifice raises a question for us — and not only about Sunday....

May 10, 2018

Where were we when the day of Pentecost arrived? We were still awaiting the Father's call to birth. He brought us into being so that we too could experience our own Pentecost.

The apostles didn't receive the Holy Spirit because they were holy. They received the Holy Spirit because they were sinners who needed the Holy Spirit to make them holy. This was God's surprise gift to them — and to each of us.

It's one thing to receive a C...

May 10, 2018

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman began life as a High Church Anglican. At Oxford, he became a leader within the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Catholic elements of the Church of England to help reform it. Through his studies in this movement, particularly of the Church Fathers, he converted to Catholicism, eventually becoming a cardinal.

But who were these people that led him to convert? Obviously, by the name, they were the ea...

May 4, 2018

Preparing to receive Jesus' Body and Blood starts at home — well before Mass. The Church teaches that Catholics should abstain from food or drink, except water, for one hour prior to receiving Communion. As we long for a drink or something to munch on while waiting for Mass, we should be reminded of our spiritual hunger to receive Jesus into our souls.

Our preparation continues at church, where we spend a few minutes in silent prayer, a...

May 3, 2018

Las Sagradas Escrituras de esta semana nos animan a pensar acerca de las transiciones.

Jesús prepara a sus discípulos (y a nosotros) para su Ascensión. La manera en la que Él se hace presente a los discípulos está próxima a cambiar. Hasta ese momento, se había mostrado física y externamente. Después de la Ascensión, cuando les envía el Espíritu Santo, Él va a estar con ellos internamente, sacramentalmente y místicamente. Les tomará algú...

May 3, 2018

The Scriptures this week encourage us to think about transitions.

Jesus prepares His disciples (and us) for His Ascension. His way of being present to them is about to change. So far, He's been present to them physically and externally. After the Ascension, when He sends the Spirit, He'll be with them internally, sacramentally and mystically. That will take some getting used to, and He wants to prepare them for the transition.


May 3, 2018

On May 13, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. When I think of all 20 mysteries of the Rosary, the one that most appeals to me is that of Christ ascending into heaven after the Resurrection.

I picture pushing the button to a rocket ship, rising above all humanity, heading for eternal glory in the heart of the Most Holy Trinity. All of us are on our return flight, and the destination is glorious. All of our human hungers and limitat...

April 26, 2018

El dos de mayo, celebramos la fiesta de San Atanasio. En una sorprendente coincidencia, también comenzamos la lectura de Hechos de los Apóstoles 15 en ese mismo día. ¿Cuál es el hilo en común? Ambos implican controversias en la Iglesia.

En los Hechos de los Apóstoles 15 la controversia fue acerca de la circuncisión: ¿Deberían los gentiles convertidos al cristianismo ser circuncidados, y observar la Ley mosaica en general? Después de tod...

April 26, 2018

On May 2, we celebrate the feast of St. Athanasius. In a wonderful coincidence, we also start to read from Acts 15 that day. The common thread? Both involve Church controversies.

In Acts 15, the issue was circumcision: Should Gentile converts to Christianity have to be circumcised, and observe the Mosaic Law generally? After all, Jesus said that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17), but He also declared all fo...

April 26, 2018

We are better than we think we are, and we are better off than we think we are. Our faith tells us this in the readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

In the first reading Peter is in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. According to Jewish teachings, it was wrong for a Jew to enter a Gentile's home, for this would render such a person unclean. This was Peter's concern, but God commanded him to go to Cornelius' home and witness to Jesus....

April 26, 2018

We first find the Holy Spirit's presence in the Old Testament, and throughout the Bible, in His inspiration of the sacred authors of the text. The Spirit inspires the prophecies of the Old Testament, sees their fulfillment in Christ and confirms the Church in the truth of Christ through the writings of the New Testament. While He inspires the biblical authors, He is also actively at work in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.


April 19, 2018

Esta semana celebramos la fiesta de San Marcos (el 25 de abril). Y este año, los domingos leeremos el Evangelio de San Marcos. Es un buen momento para preguntar: ¿Cuáles son algunas de las características sobresalientes del Evangelio de San Marcos que nos sirven de guía en nuestras vidas?

En primer lugar, el Evangelio de San Marcos transmite las prédicas de San Pedro. San Marcos se puso a sí mismo al servicio de Pedro, y Pedro se puso a...