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.

December 7, 2017

What's the value of an image?

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe gives one answer. Between 1531 and 1538 approximately 8 million Mexicans came to believe in Jesus — strengthened, in no small part, by this image of Mary. An image can indeed change the world.

Blessed John Henry Newman gives another answer. Newman distinguished between notional and real assent. Notional assent is when you believe something with your mind but it does...

December 7, 2017

The readings for the Third Sunday of Advent celebrate what the Lord has already done, as an indication of the even greater things He will do in the future.

In the first reading, Isaiah writes: "As the earth brings forth its plants and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all nations."

This allusion to the lushness of the earth's vegetation is a metaphor for the fresh s...

December 7, 2017

A simplex priest is ordained as a priest, but in exercising his priesthood, he's restricted in two areas. First, simplex priests can't preach at Mass. Second, simplex priests can't hear confessions.

The reasoning behind these restrictions lay in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. According to this code and understanding of the law, clerics had to be granted faculties to preach by their bishop. Further, bishops could give the faculty to hear co...

November 30, 2017

"Sin el Hijo de Dios, nada podría existir; sin el Hijo de María, nada podría ser redimido."

Estas palabras de San Anselmo son muy poderosas. ¡María no es Dios! Sin embargo, tiene un papel único en ayudar a Dios para lograr nuestra salvación. Esta semana celebramos el principio de este papel ­— su Inmaculada Concepción.

Las enseñanzas de la Iglesia sobre la Inmaculada Concepción — que fueron definitivamente declaradas por el P...

November 30, 2017

"Without God's Son, nothing could exist; without Mary's Son, nothing could be redeemed."

These are powerful words from St. Anselm. Mary isn't God! But she had a unique role in cooperating with God to bring about our salvation. We celebrate the beginning of that role — her Immaculate Conception — this week.

The Church's teaching on the Immaculate Conception — which was definitively declared by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854 — holds...

November 30, 2017

We start the second week of the new liturgical year with the beginning of St. Mark's Gospel. St. Mark makes it clear that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but it's also a continuation of the unfolding revelation found in the Old Testament.

Isaiah tells us: "Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His...

November 30, 2017

To sign or be marked by the cross originates in the Old Testament. In the Book of Ezekiel, the Babylonians threaten to conquer the city of Jerusalem. This is symbolized in Ezekiel's vision by six armed men approaching the city from the north. While they approached, a man with a writing case came and stood in the temple. God instructs this man to go throughout the city and mark those who have persevered in their faith with the sign of the Tav....

November 22, 2017

This is the last week in Ordinary Time. The first reading each day this week is from the Book of Daniel, and the responsorial psalm for each day is from a hymn in the Book of Daniel. It's as though the Church wants us to learn from the Book of Daniel as we close out the liturgical year.

Daniel is the only "apocalyptic" book in the Old Testament. Two characteristics of apocalyptic books are: 1) they typically came out of times of tribula...

November 22, 2017

Esta es la última semana del Tiempo Ordinario. La primera lectura de cada uno de los días de esta semana es del libro de Daniel, y el salmo responsorial de cada día es tomado de un himno del mismo libro. Parece como si la Iglesia quisiera que aprendiésemos del libro de Daniel a medida que nos acercamos al final del año litúrgico.

El libro de Daniel es el único libro "apocalíptico" en el Antiguo Testamento. Dos características de los lib...

Bishop Robert J. Hermann
November 22, 2017

A new liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, and the readings help us get in touch with our collective cry of lament and frustration. We're frustrated because of our repeated failures to live up to the desires for the infinite put into our hearts by God.

Beneath it is a weariness with our fickle and undependable efforts to live up to God's expectations. However, good news comes in the form of our need for a Savior to resc...

November 17, 2017

On Nov. 26, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The feast describes our commencement time on earth; the Scriptures vividly describe our future. Each of us, without fail, will be there. For some, it will be a time of receiving a sentence, and for others a diploma or reward — both unending.

To get a better idea of that day, look at the Scriptures to learn more about the God who invites us. We know that out of love He has freely cre...

November 16, 2017

Algunos saduceos, aquellos que niegan que hay una resurrección, se adelantaron y le plantearon una pregunta a Jesús".

Estamos entrando en las últimas dos semanas del Tiempo Ordinario. Las lecturas se están volviendo hacia los pensamientos del final de los tiempos. En medio de esto, nos encontramos con esta pregunta acerca de la resurrección.

Esta es era una pregunta "candente" en el tiempo de Jesús. En sus comienzos, el judaísmo...

November 16, 2017

S ome Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put a question to Jesus."

We're entering the last two weeks of Ordinary Time. The readings are turning toward thoughts of the end times. In the midst of that, we encounter this question about the resurrection.

This was a "hot button" question at the time of Jesus. At its beginning, Judaism didn't have a belief in the Resurrection. And it isn't explicit...

November 10, 2017

The readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time reflect the over-abundance of God's love for us. We're inundated with His goodness, and all He asks of us is to receive it in gratitude and invest these gifts in His kingdom.

The first reading describes a wife and mother who is an entrepreneur. God's gifts and talents surround her, and she invests them in her family and neighbors. She isn't the self-pitying victim of others' thoughtlessn...

November 10, 2017

To what extent may Catholics be fans of a sport where violence is part of the competition? 

This question comes at an interesting time in the sports world.

In contact sports, there's debate about what constitutes appropriate contact. Thus, as we better understand the long-term effects of injuries, such as football, there's a desire to make the sport safer and control as much as possible the contact...

November 9, 2017

Quah-kah-ka-num-ad. That's the name the Potawatomi Indians gave to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne: "Woman Who Prays Always."

We celebrate St. Rose Philippine's feast day this week (Nov. 18). We're also reading sequentially through the Gospel of Luke, and the passage that just happens to come up on her feast day tells of Jesus instructing the disciples "about the necessity for them to pray always" (Luke 18:1). Maybe this remarkable coincid...

November 9, 2017

Quah-kah-ka-num-ad. Es el nombre que los indios Potawatomi dieron a Santa Rosa Filipina Duchesne: "Mujer que ora siempre"

Celebramos la fiesta de Santa Rosa Filipina esta semana (el 18 de noviembre). También leeremos secuencialmente a través del Evangelio de San Lucas, y el pasaje que justamente corresponde en el día de su fiesta, habla de Jesús instruyendo a los discípulos "acerca de la necesidad de que oraran siempre" (San Lucas 18:1)...

November 3, 2017

There is a cliché in business journals that goes something like this: "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."

A similar question we need to ask ourselves is this: "Based upon my present behaviors, where is my life leading me?"

The first reading for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time speaks of the gift of wisdom, saying it is resplendent and unfading and "is readily perceived by those who love her and...