Opinion

Below are the latest opinion pieces from the St. Louis Review. Click on a title or the 'Continue Reading' link to read the whole story.

August 11, 2017

When Amanda Pirih started coaching, her focus was on winning. But that left her unsatisfied. She asked herself if there were more to it, then recognized that there was a purpose greater than herself.

"I realized I was coaching for someone, Christ Himself," Pirih said last month at a CYC Sports Summit in St. Louis. "This is something my players needed to know, too. It draws them out and makes them play better. T...

August 11, 2017

Nicholas Owen was canonized 364 years after his death.

Such is often the case with the Catholic Church, charged with curating a 2,000-year treasure trove of saints and stories, rovers and relics.

Owen's tale is unlike any other. Born in Oxford, England, in the mid-16th century, his devout family prepared him well for his remarkable life's work. His father was as a carpenter who taught him the trade. Two older brothers became prie...

August 4, 2017

One of my favorite criticisms of the Church is that it is fixated on sex. "Why is the Church so obsessed with what I do in the bedroom," many people ask with great seriousness.

I find the observation hilarious because I watch TV, read books and go to the movies. And guess what? Our society is unbelievably obsessed with sex. Religion is no longer the opiate of the masses. Sex is.

The pornography business is bigger than the NFL, NB...

August 4, 2017

The appointment of Hispanic bishops as ordinaries of dioceses in California, Texas or Florida is rather common. This isn't surprising since most Catholics in the South and the West are Hispanic.

However, the recent appointment of Bishop Nelson J. Perez as the next bishop of Cleveland isn't business as usual. It's an historical milestone for U.S. Catholics.

Many reports have noted that Bishop Perez is the first Hispanic bishop of...

July 28, 2017

Lives matter.

In the last few years, we have seen variations of this phrase within concentrated movements: Black Lives Matter. Police Lives Matter. Unborn Lives Matter.

What unites all of these movements is the subject at hand — life.

All humans should see the value in other humans, but often that's what's missing from the conversation. This isn't to say we change the message to "all lives matter," as if to diminish the im...

July 28, 2017

During July 1-4, I had the honor to be part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis delegation to the national Convocation of Catholic Leaders. It was four days of praying for and thinking about the Church in the 21st century.

We reflected on what missionary discipleship looks like in light of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"). There were many excellent presentations, panels and breakout sessions....

July 28, 2017

In professional Catholic circles, a tired joke that still makes the rounds goes like this:

Q: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Most Catholics never use the word "liturgist" in everyday conversation, and may never have even knowingly met a liturgist, but the average Mass-going Catholic can be as opinionated as any liturgist:

The music is too contemporar...

July 20, 2017

Being creative in evangelization means thinking differently, and reaching others in new ways. Sometimes it means connecting via outlets popular in the secular culture.

Take for instance last summer, when Pokemon Go was all the rage. The mobile game, which uses augmented reality to collect virtual creatures, attracted millions of users — driving swarms of players to unsuspecting churches, businesses and other landmarks. A number of paris...

July 20, 2017

In recent times, social conflict has become more pronounced and it's driving much of our human ethos both locally and globally. A glance at the news quickly illustrates the extent of the opposition and division in our world. Ancient quarrels and international divisions linger and find little resolution. At the same time, emerging global struggles aggravate and augment a broken humanity.

Similarly, in our local reality, we're often confr...

July 20, 2017

A seriously ill 11-month-old child in Great Britain has garnered the attention of President Donald Trump and Pope Francis and sparked an international debate.

Charlie Gard is unresponsive and totally dependent due to a severe genetic defect that compromises his brain cells' metabolism. His parents want to sustain his life and transfer him to an American hospital for a highly experimental treatment — one that has benefited children with...

July 14, 2017

When speakers at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders started making calls to be "radical," one would have expected cautious gasps.

Instead, a crowd of 3,500 let out enthusiastic applause. They knew why they'd been appointed as delegates to the historic meeting, and they knew that term would become a rally cry.

Radical.

In modern usage, the word tends to have a negative connotation, be it because of violent extremists or mo...

July 14, 2017

While preparing for the Convocation of Catholic Leaders, I paused on a statement describing a design principle for the event. In calling for missionary discipleship, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the participant guidebook cites Pope Francis' caution that "'mere administration' can no longer be enough."

As I had held administrative posts for almost a quarter of a century with 20 years in Catholic ministries, I took this as o...

July 14, 2017

The old man with the typewriter would like to say to certain people among us: Don't be a blockhead.

David McCullough's bestselling new book, "The American Spirit," takes up a cause he has long championed, lends it added urgency and aims it squarely at young adults.

"We are raising a generation of young Americans who are by and large historically illiterate," McCullough writes.

At 83, the prize-winning historian has ample e...

June 30, 2017

It seems that for every generation in the last century, a public health crisis surfaced involving drug abuse. Cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana and amphetamines are among the illicit drugs that led to addiction and death by overdose.

Today, the United States is experiencing a new type of dependency involving legal, prescription drugs, particularly opioids.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are a class of dr...

June 30, 2017

My daughter posted these questions on an online chat thread one morning: "Would someone care to enlighten me on how we got to this place? This place being almost daily acts of terror or terrorism around the world. How did we, as a planet, fall to immediate violence as an answer to something as simple as being fired. I simply do not understand."

What response do I give to my daughter's plea, my daughter who is looking at the world into w...

June 30, 2017

In a marsh oxbow that was formed long before Europeans settled the confluence of two great North American Rivers, an ancient fish — a gar — skulked among the reeds and weeds, hunting for his prey.

On the bank of the marsh, I skulked with a bow — a modern version of an ancient sporting tool — hunting that ancient hunter.

I released a stout arrow, which flew toward the fish and penetrated the thick armor-like scales that have helpe...

June 22, 2017

Catholics should draw attention to Jesus, not to themselves 

The Catholic Way describes the manner in which Catholics should approach service — under the radar and without fanfare. Many Catholics adhere to this principle, doing good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds as opposed to doing them for personal attention.

The Bible tells us so.

Matthew's Gospel reports Jesus saying to h...

June 22, 2017

June is a natural time to review the previous school year and look forward to the next. While school years are linear on a calendar, they ebb and flow continuously. Recently I shared with our elementary principals that a good metaphor for the past school year is that of the labyrinth.

Originating in Greek mythology, the labyrinth took on special meaning to Christians of the medieval age. It was symbolic of a pilgrimage and the great cat...