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 16, 2017

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph — foster father of Jesus and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I want to take the occasion to address something that I've been thinking about for a while: sexual harassment.

My sister shared a quote with me from Sister Diane Bergant, a Sister of the Congregation of St. Agnes, professor and author: "God's reign will be accomplished by God only through you and me. When we treat people w...

March 16, 2017

In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.

In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."

When Samuel asks Jesse, "Are th...

March 16, 2017

The station (or stational) churches are specific churches in the city of Rome that are designated to be visited by the pope or his delegate on a particular day of the Lenten season.

Such a practice dates to as early as the second or third century. Seeking to bring greater unity to the city with different groups, the pope began visiting the parishes these groups belonged to in an effort to forge a greater unity. As time went on, this inf...

March 9, 2017

De acuerdo a las lecturas de esta semana, hemos pecado. Lo que merecemos es un castigo. En lugar de eso, Dios nos ofrece misericordia y compasión.

Pero, ¿cuáles con las cualidades de la misericordia y la compasión? Cuando esperamos por ellas, ¿qué es exactamente lo que estamos esperando? Mientras más conozcamos al respecto, más conoceremos de qué se trata nuestro viaje cuaresmal.

Ciertamente, esperamos el perdón. Tal como lo pide...

March 9, 2017

According to this week's readings, we have sinned. What we deserve is punishment. What God offers, instead, is mercy and compassion.

But what are the qualities of mercy and compassion? When we hope for them what exactly are we hoping for? The more we know that, the more we'll know what our Lenten journey is about.

Certainly, we hope for forgiveness. As the Psalm for Monday pleads: "Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins....

March 9, 2017

The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are simultaneously simple and overwhelmingly profound. Our eyes see and our hearts hear of physical water, but our spirits hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit.

In the first reading, the Israelites thirst for water to nurture their bodies, but their spirits are even thirstier for meaning. They are profoundly frustrated with being in the desert without water, whereas in Egypt they had plenty of...

March 2, 2017

The great artist Michelangelo has a series of statues called "the incompletes." He began to sculpt them but never finished. It's unclear whether he was making a deliberate artistic statement or simply ran out of time. Clearly, however, the incomplete statues are a great metaphor for human life.

Like the statues, our identity has begun to emerge. Like the statues, that identity is incomplete. Finishing the work of carving our identity is...

March 2, 2017

El gran artista Miguel Ángel hizo una serie de estatuas llamadas "las inconclusas". El empezó a esculpirlas, pero nunca las terminó. No está claro si él estaba haciendo con ellas deliberadamente una declaración artística, o si simplemente no tuvo tiempo de terminarlas. Sin embargo, está claro, que las estatuas inconclusas son una gran metáfora para las tareas de la vida humana.

Como las estatuas, nuestra identidad ha comenzado a emerger...

March 2, 2017

On the second Sunday of Lent, the Church gives us the scene of Jesus, up on the mountain, being transfigured before Peter, James and John. The Church wants to lift our eyes to the beauty of our calling in Christ. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus' Transfiguration lifts our eyes above our present period of purification to allow Jesus to have a new freedom in our hearts. This prepares us for the glory as pre-figured in the Transfiguration.


February 23, 2017

Cada año la gente lucha con esto: Es miércoles de ceniza, así que ayunamos y ponemos la ceniza en nuestra frente. Pero el evangelio nos instruye que mantengamos en secreto nuestro ayuno. Algunas personas se sienten avergonzadas. Otras se sienten hipócritas. ¿Qué es lo que está pasando? — ¿Cómo se supone que debemos aproximarnos al primer día de Cuaresma?

Primero, examinemos lo que Jesús nos dice realmente. "Ten cuidado de no hacer buena...

February 23, 2017

Every year people struggle with this: It's Ash Wednesday, so we fast and put ashes on our foreheads. But the Gospel instructs us to keep our fasting a secret. Some people feel sheepish. Some feel hypocritical. What's going on — how are we supposed to approach the first day of Lent?

First, let's examine what Jesus actually says. "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them." He didn't say: "Don't do these d...

February 23, 2017

We begin the First Sunday of Lent with the story of the creation and fall of man. We are told that man was created out of clay, and then God "blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."

I am reminded of the story of the little boy who crawled out from under his parents' bed and asked his mother, "Mom, is it true that we were created out of dust and that we will return to dust?" and his mother said, "Yes...

February 23, 2017

You raise a valid point, to wit, that the penitential nature of these two days ought not to be compromised.

However, there are a couple of points:

• Church law does define Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days on which Catholics must fast, but not all Catholics. Only those aged 18-59 are obligated to fast, and even then, those whose health would be seriously injured by a strict fast are allowed to consume as much food as necessar...

February 16, 2017

Las lecturas de esta semana nos enseñan acerca de la sabiduría. El libro de Sirac y los evangelios de esta semana nos muestran la sabiduría de Jesús. Veamos más profundamente la conexión entre la sabiduría, Jesús y nosotros.

La descripción de la sabiduría de Sirac vaticina los atributos de la Palabra en el evangelio según San Juan. La sabiduría es creada por el Señor desde la eternidad (Juan 1,1-2). La sabiduría comprende las profundida...

February 16, 2017

The readings for this week teach us about wisdom. The book of Sirach describes wisdom as an attribute of God. The Gospels for the week show us the wisdom of Jesus. Let's take a deeper look at the connections between wisdom, Jesus and us.

Sirach's descriptions of wisdom foreshadow the attributes of the Word in the Gospel of John. Wisdom is created by the Lord from all eternity (John 1:1-2). Wisdom grasps the depths of all creation (John...

February 16, 2017

The readings for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time call us into a new freedom by trusting in God's loving providence that surrounds us. As we open our eyes to this, anxiety is replaced with trustful abiding.

In the first reading, Isaiah expresses Israel's panic that God had forsaken her, since things aren't going Israel's way. God's response is poetically beautiful: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child o...

February 16, 2017

Before looking at why we abstain from meat as a common penance, we should examine why we even do penance in the first place.

The disciples of St. John the Baptist commonly fasted as a way to express sorrow for their past sins, as well as to help them to learn to say "no" to future sins. They were dismayed, however, when Jesus and His disciples didn't fast, but feasted regularly. Some approached Jesus to ask Him about this. He responded:...

February 9, 2017

Aprendemos mucho de la historia de la salvación a través de los santos. Ellos nos educan con su ejemplo: "¡Se así!" También en la historia de la salvación aprendemos mucho por medio de los pecados. Estos nos enseñan mediante ejemplos negativos: "¡No seas así!"

Las lecturas de esta semana están llenas de enseñanzas mediante ejemplos negativos.

Caín y Abel • Caín sintió cólera y resentimiento hacia Abel. Nosotros t...