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 22, 2016

The Gospel reading for Sunday, Jan. 1, helps us understand why the calendar year begins with the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

It all began with the shepherds tending their flocks when an angel appeared to them and told them to go to a stable in Bethlehem, where they would find a savior who is "Messiah and Lord." "You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

These po...

December 22, 2016

The first three of the Ten Commandments outline our duties toward God. We are to place Him as first in our life, to respect His name, and to keep His day holy. As Christians, we honor the Lord's day on Sunday in commemoration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Other major holy days are included in this commandment as well, as their celebration marks major truths of our faith or events in the life of our Lord or His mother Mary.

In li...

December 15, 2016

Many children — and some adults! — are saying, "I can't wait for Christmas."

But if we look at the readings for the final week of Advent, we see God's plan unfolding in salvation history, one step at a time. It encourages us not to rush the season, but to let things ripen according to God's timing.

For example, on Monday, we hear about the conception and birth of Samson more than 1,000 years before Christ. In a perfect prefigurem...

December 15, 2016

Muchos niños — y algunos adultos! — están diciendo: "No puedo esperar por las Navidades"

Pero si observamos las lecturas de la semana final de Adviento, vemos como el plan de Dios se descubre en la historia de la salvación, un paso a la vez. Esto nos anima a no apurar la temporada navideña, sino más bien a dejar que las cosas maduren de acuerdo con el tiempo de Dios.

Por ejemplo, el lunes, oímos acerca de la concepción y nacimien...

December 15, 2016

The feast of the Birth of Jesus is perhaps the most attractive feast of the liturgical year. Children, adults and elders gaze into the manger at the "infant wrapped in swaddling clothes" and are speechless in awe and admiration.

How could an infinitely great God show more affection for fallen mankind than by becoming a helpless baby, born in a stable and placed in a manger? Normally, babies were born in the family home, surrounded by ex...

December 15, 2016

Donating one's body to science enables future doctors to directly study the human anatomy and gain needed practice in performing surgery. Such donations also advance medical science by more fully understanding diseases and conditions. These insights lead to better treatments and even preventive measures for future generations.

In the "Catechism of the Catholic Church," the Church insists that, even in death, the human body should be res...

December 8, 2016

El 12 de diciembre celebramos la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, y tres elementos estrechamente relacionados a esta celebración merecen nuestra atención: La Visitación de María a Isabel hace 2.000 años, la visita de María al pueblo de México en 1531, y la visita que nos hace María en nuestros días.

La Visitación es una opción para la lectura del Evangelio en la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Como parte del misterio de la...

December 8, 2016

We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, and three closely related elements of this celebration deserve our attention: Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth 2,000 years ago, Mary's visitation to the people of Mexico in 1531, and Mary's visitation to us today.

The Visitation is an option for the Gospel reading on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As part of the mystery of the Incarnation and pregnant with Jesus, Mary br...

December 8, 2016

Sunday, Dec. 18, is a week from the celebration of the birth of the God-Man who comes to save the world from sin. The closer we get to this great event, the deeper we enter into the mystery of His coming in time and in our hearts.

In the first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, God desires to reveal a sign of God's coming to Ahaz, but proud Ahaz refuses to ask for the sign, saying, "I will not tempt the Lord!"

Despite Ahaz'...

December 8, 2016

The character of the Advent season reflects the meaning of the word Advent.

Advent comes from the Latin word advenio, meaning to come. By the very name of the season, the Church calls us to reflect on the two comings of Christ: at the end of time and in His birth at Bethlehem.

Reflection on these comings form the tempo of the Advent season. For about the first two weeks of Advent, the Church focuses more on the coming of Christ a...

December 1, 2016

Esta semana, celebramos la Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción — el hecho que María desde el momento en que fue concebida en el vientre de su madre no tenía pecado original.

Uno podría preguntarse: ¿Si esta es la fiesta de la Concepción de María por santa Ana, porque leemos en el evangelio el relato de la concepción de Jesús por María? En parte, es porque los Evangelios no nos dan un relato de la concepción de María. Más profundamente es...

December 1, 2016

This week, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception — the fact that Mary was without sin from the moment she was conceived in her mother's womb.

One might wonder: If this is the feast of Mary's conception by St. Anne, why do we read the Gospel account of Jesus' conception by Mary? In part, it's because the Gospels don't give us an account of the conception of Mary. More deeply it's because of a fundamental theological truth:...

December 1, 2016

On Dec. 11, the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate "Gaudete" Sunday. The entrance antiphon exhorts us to: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." The readings blend twin calls to have hope and patience.

The first reading from Isaiah celebrates the marvelous future transformation of the parched land and the desert into a land that "will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song." "The...

December 1, 2016

Such a timely, good question, and one that I have wondered about myself.

Once, I stopped by a coffeehouse to enjoy coffee with a good book and saw that they were selling chocolate Advent calendars. To me, it made for a curious sight — a secular coffeehouse chain selling a seeming religious item.

The remote origins of this custom come from St. John of the Cross, the great Spanish Carmelite mystic. He carried statues of Mary and Jo...

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
November 23, 2016

Let it be done for you according to your faith" (Matthew 9:29).

When Jesus heals two blind men, He said this to them. If Jesus said that to us, would anything happen?

Faith is among the great themes of the Gospel readings in the first week of Advent. The first readings for the week come from the Book of Isaiah. One of the great refrains is: "On that day." This is a reference to what will happen on the day when the Lord comes. The...

November 23, 2016

Hágase en ustedes según su fe." (Mateo 9;29)

Cuando Jesús sana dos hombres ciegos, les dice esto. Si Jesús nos dijera eso a nosotros, ¿sucedería algo?

En la primera semana de Adviento la fe está entre los grandes temas de las lecturas del Evangelio. Las primeras lecturas para la semana son del libro de Isaías. Uno de sus grandes estribillos es: "En ese día". Esto es una referencia a lo que sucederá en el día que el Señor venga. E...

Bishop Robert J. Hermann
November 23, 2016

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent validate the hunger our hearts experience for a lasting peace and harmony that eludes us now. As St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you, O Lord." God placed in our hearts a profound hunger for unity, harmony, happiness and fulfillment, and that hunger nurtures our hope for what God promises in the depths of our spirit.

Isaiah speaks about a future unlike anything...

Father John Mayo
November 23, 2016

My priest recently gave a homily saying that yoga is spiritually dangerous. But I just do it to exercise! How is that bad? 

Yoga is a popular way for individuals to exercise, maintain balance and flexibility, and to feel more peace in their life. Yet the spirituality of this practice gives the Church pause.

Yoga is a discipline that originates from Hinduism. The original purpose is to seek enlightenment thro...