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.

January 26, 2018

Recently, I was teaching third-graders at the parish school. One of the students asked if the Sign of the Cross was the shortest prayer there was. I responded that I knew a shorter one: the name Jesus.

The power of Jesus' name is apparent from St. Paul's writings, where he tells the Philippians that every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:11). The confession that Jesus is Lord also forms the most...

January 19, 2018

Is it possible to condemn a sin in the clearest possible terms, and yet love the person who commits the sin?

As we mark the 45th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States, it's crucial that we answer this question correctly.

Contemporary culture wants to tell us that we can't do both: either we accept the person and endorse their actions, or we hate the person because we don't approve their behavior.

January 19, 2018

¿Es posible condenar un pecado en los términos más claros posibles, y sin embargo amar a la persona que comete el pecado?

Al señalar el 45º aniversario de la legalización del aborto en los Estados Unidos, es crucial que respondamos esta pregunta correctamente.

La cultura contemporánea quiere decirnos que no podemos hacer ambas cosas: o aceptamos la persona y respaldamos sus acciones, o la odiamos porque no aprobamos su comportami...

January 19, 2018

What are the sounds that drive us? Recently I was waiting at a red light and saw a driver in a car opposite me. He was bobbing his head up and down and side to side rhythmically. The movements seemed so extreme that I wondered how he could tell when the red light changed.

Granted, the body was simply responding in a musical way to the rhythms on his radio. Thank God there was a reason his body responded in this patterned way. If that we...

January 19, 2018

Who were the Church Fathers? 

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 peop...

January 11, 2018

"El vino nuevo se vierte en recipientes nuevos" (Mc. 2;22)

Las lecturas de esta semana están llenas de historias acerca de nuevos recipientes para el vino. Y nos dan algo que pensar acerca del comienzo del año.

Por ejemplo, después que Saúl es rechazado por su desobediencia, David es ungido como el nuevo rey de Israel. Dios trató de hacer algo nuevo, y David es el nuevo recipiente.

Cuando David pelea con Goliat, Saúl trata...

January 11, 2018

"New wine is poured into fresh wineskins" (Mark 2:22).

This week's readings are filled with stories about new wineskins. And they give us something to think about at the start of the year.

For example, after Saul is rejected for disobedience, David is anointed as the new king of Israel. God is trying to do something new, and David is the new wineskin.

When David fights Goliath, Saul tries to outfit him in armor and give hi...

January 11, 2018

The Gospel for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time begins: "Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: '... this is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.'"

Just what does Jesus mean by "the time of fulfillment?"

The word "fulfillment" means the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted. The poet George Herbert reflects on this mystery in a poem entitled "Th...

January 11, 2018

Is there a biblical basis for Purgatory? 

When explaining this question, I like to begin by explaining the concept of Purgatory. The Catechism does this in an approachable way: "All who die in God's grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" (1030).

January 4, 2018

Muchas cosas pueden suceder en un año.

Por ejemplo, si usted toma lecciones de piano por una hora a la semana, y toca el piano 10 minutos cada día, usted puede tocar cosas increíbles para el final del año.

Mi punto no es acerca de tocar el piano. Mi punto es una pregunta simple: ¿Qué quiere usted que sea diferente dentro de un año, cuando finalicemos la temporada de Navidad y volvamos al Tiempo Ordinario?

Antes que nada, c...

January 4, 2018

A lot can happen in a year.

For example, if you took piano lessons for one hour a week, and played the piano for 10 minutes a day, you could play amazing things by the end of a year.

My point isn't about playing the piano. My point is a simple question: What do you want to be different a year from now, when we close the Christmas season and shift into Ordinary Time again?

First of all, whatever your goal is, maybe that's n...

January 4, 2018

We would each do well to ask ourselves this question: "What am I looking for?"

At one time in our lives, each of us thought that we were the most important person in our world because that is all we knew. Others existed to love us, nurture us and take care of us.

But then we found out that we were in competition with others for attention, nurturing and toys. We came to realize that others have the same needs.

At first we d...

January 4, 2018


December 21, 2017

A medida que celebramos la Navidad este año, mi pregunta es: ¿Cómo la mantendremos? ¿Celebraremos la temporada completa de Navidad, y no solamente un día?

¿Recuerda el eclipse en agosto? Hubo una gran preparación de antemano. A medida que el eclipse progresaba aumentaba la emoción. Entonces, 30 segundos después de que terminó la totalidad del eclipse, ¡todo el mundo simplemente se retiró!

Nuestra cultura celebra los eventos de es...

December 21, 2017

As we celebrate Christmas this year, my question is: How will we sustain it? Will we celebrate the whole Christmas season, and not just a single day?

Remember the eclipse back in August? There was a huge buildup beforehand. As the eclipse progressed, excitement mounted. Then, about 30 seconds after totality was over, everyone just walked away!

Our culture tends to celebrate events that way. We don't sustain them — we turn to some...

December 21, 2017

Fittingly, the final Sunday of the year is devoted to family values, which hopefully reflects the grace-filled wisdom practiced over the past year. Christian virtues start in family living. That is where parents demonstrate how to integrate the word of God with daily living, model this behavior and teach these values to their children.

This can't happen in society unless parents from the very beginning decide how they wish to live and r...

December 21, 2017

One of the most recent and thorough studies of the nativity of Jesus was done by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as the third volume of his "Jesus of Nazareth" series. This slim volume gives great insight and clarity to these questions and many others surrounding the birth of Christ.

Discerning exactly who the Wise Men, or Magi, were is difficult. In a general sense, they were in charge of a body of religious and philosophical knowledge. Evi...

December 15, 2017

The mystery of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ taken together is the central mystery of revealed religion. The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent help us enter into this mystery, using Mary as the model of how we're invited to participate in this incredible act of God becoming man.

In the first reading, David consults Nathan about building a house for God to dwell in. God then turns the tables...