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.

March 22, 2018

The Feast of the Resurrection is as spectacular as it is mysterious. We'll never comprehend this mystery, we'll only experience it someday. The mystery touches us in inexplicable ways every day. Contemplating this mystery should profoundly alter the way we relate to others, because Christ relates to others through us.

In attempting to explain the meaning of this day, St. Heshchius of Jerusalem wrote: "This day brings us a message of joy...

March 22, 2018

This highly theoretical question has been pondered by many a great mind through history. It all boils down to this: Could Jesus have simply declared to the whole human race that all their sins were forgiven without His suffering on the cross? We're tempted to say yes, if that were God's will, because nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37).

On the other hand, God created this universe with a certain order and structure, and, in order...

March 15, 2018

Nosotros celebramos la fiesta de San José el 19 de marzo.

Antes de decir nada acerca de él — y hay mucho que decir — es tiempo de aclarar algo: José y María estaban casados cuando María concibió a Jesús por causa del Espíritu Santo.

San Juan Pablo II escribió sobre José, en su exhortación apostólica "Redemptor Custos". "De acuerdo con las costumbres judías antiguas, el matrimonio toma lugar en dos fases: la primera era la legal,...

March 15, 2018

We celebrate the feast of St. Joseph on March 19.

Before saying anything else about him — and there's much to be said — it's time to clear up something: Joseph and Mary were married when Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

St. John Paul II explained this in "Redemptor Custos," his apostolic exhortation on Joseph. "According to ancient Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first the legal, or true marriage was cel...

March 15, 2018

On Palm Sunday, we enter into the most moving week of the liturgical year.

As we enter into His passion through quiet prayer, we engage the love in His heart that embraces the sufferings and insults of all humanity. This is Christ's opportunity to pour out on mankind God's unfathomable love and mercy. As we encounter His outward silence, let us be in touch with the inward roar of saying "yes" to the Father. Jesus models the strength and...

March 15, 2018

Sometimes, this discussion of offering Holy Communion under both forms turns into a contentious issue. Some feel that when the Precious Blood isn't offered, they don't fully participate in Holy Communion or their rights as Catholics have been infringed upon. Far from feeling united in communion, individuals feel divided.

This view might be motivated by the underlying belief that clergy exclusively possess the Eucharist. Others participa...

March 8, 2018

"Por allá pasa un río."

Así dice el pequeño Diamond, el personaje principal en el libro clásico de George MacDonald "Más allá del Viento del Norte". Diamond visitó el cielo en sus sueños. Cuando un viejo amigo y tutor le pregunta: "¿Qué pasa allá?" él le da una respuesta enigmática: "Por allá pasa un río".

El pensamiento de MacDonald y su escritura tienen una tremenda influencia para C.S. Lewis. Lewis no solo publicó un libro de...

March 8, 2018

"A river happens there."

So says little Diamond, the main character in George MacDonald's classic book "At the Back of the North Wind." Diamond has been visiting heaven in his dreams. When an old friend and tutor asks him: "What happens there?" he gives this cryptic reply: "A river happens there."

MacDonald's thinking and writing were tremendously influential for C.S. Lewis. Not only did Lewis publish a book of reflections and qu...

March 8, 2018

The readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent reflect two seemingly contradictory states (though they are actually complementary): rest and restlessness.

First, the state of rest. Jeremiah saw his share of conflict, but he also saw it was never destined to be a permanent state for mankind. Earlier he had said, "More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"

Now, years later, through much prayer...

March 8, 2018

This is a question that many people wonder about. We hear of terms such as "mortal sin," "venial sin," "deadly sins" and so on. But what do they mean?

Sin is a "failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1849). It sets us against God's love, for it declares that the love I have for myself or another person or thing is greater than the love I have for...

March 1, 2018

Cuando el pueblo judío regresó a Jerusalén después de 50 años en el exilio, se dedicó a reconstruir el templo. La destrucción del templo no fue su culpa, fue por causa de los pecados de otros, pero la tarea de reconstruirlo recayó sobre sus hombros.

Este ejemplo nos sirve como un patrón para nuestra disciplina cuaresmal, y en realidad, para toda la vida cristiana.

Los seminaristas y sacerdotes de nuestro tiempo — en todo el país...

March 1, 2018

When the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after 50 years in exile, they set about rebuilding the Temple. The destruction of the Temple wasn't their fault — that was due to the sins of others. But the task of rebuilding fell to them.

Their example serves as a pattern for our Lenten discipline and, really, for all of Christian life.

Seminarians and priests today — across the country and around the world — face a similar situatio...

March 1, 2018

The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent illustrate a simple fact: Man's best friend is God, while his two worst enemies are his own flesh and the Evil One.

God revealed to Judah a plan for its future, but the people of Judah had other plans for their happiness. "Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send His messengers to them, for He had compassion on His people and His dwelling place."

However, the Lord's p...

March 1, 2018

When we hear the word "gospel", our minds immediately turn to the four books at the head of the New Testament. Originally, though, this word had a more expansive meaning.

The word 'gospel' literally means, "good news." It was first used by a different kind of king than Jesus: the Roman emperors. They used this word at the head of any proclamation or message to the people, regardless of the content of the message. Using this word reinfor...

February 23, 2018

Ellos conspiraron para asesinarlo.

De una u otra forma, esta frase aparece cuatro veces en las lecturas de esta semana. Es utilizada con relación al profeta Jeremías, José y su abrigo de muchos colores, y finalmente en el hijo del terrateniente en una de las parábolas de Jesús.

Esto plantea una pregunta para nosotros: ¿Cómo pensamos acerca de la "gloria"?

A menudo, cuando pensamos acerca de la gloria, solamente estamos pen...

February 23, 2018

St. Augustine, in his writings on the Sermon on the Mount — one of the places in Scripture Jesus encourages us to ask, seek and knock for the Father's answer to our needs in prayer — comments on why God doesn't seem to answer our prayers. He lists four reasons.

The first is that we're asking for something that's bad. In the passage from which St. Augustine is commenting, Jesus says, "Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he a...

February 22, 2018

They plotted to kill him.

Four times, in one form or another, that phrase comes up in this week's readings. It's used in reference to the prophet Jeremiah, Jesus, Joseph and his coat of many colors, and finally the son of the landowner in one of Jesus' parables.

It raises a question for us: How do we think of "glory?"

Often, when we think of glory, we're only thinking of victory: the victory of an athletic team, success at...

February 22, 2018

The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent focus on what the heart sees but the eyes don't.

In the Book of Exodus, God communicates His covenant to His people in order to form them into a community of love. To do this, they will need a common set of teachings and beliefs, hence the Ten Commandments.

This set of beliefs, if lived, will bind them to their God but also establish Godly principles in their heart, and these principles w...