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.

December 22, 2016

Inside every human being there abides a longing. A need, an absence designed on purpose by the Creator. Some philosophers refer to it as a vacuum. Rich or poor, master or servant, woman or man, young or old — everyone has it. We yearn for happiness. Some theologians call it a "God-sized hole." We yearn for God. And so we seek.

High and low. In reality and in fantasy. In the pages of Scripture and the pews of churches, more often in fina...

December 22, 2016

As a school administrator for many years, I have attended a good number of school Christmas programs. I have seen everything from simple songs on risers, to choreographed routines, to elaborate plays. This year, I had the privilege of attending the Christmas programs at Annunziata School, St. Gemma Center, and St. Joan of Arc, three locations for our Catholic special education programs. What I witnessed at each was extremely impressive, even f...

December 15, 2016

Fathers matter, and moms, too. That's undeniable, of course, but giving them support and making it a matter of public policy isn't always a priority. Luckily, a few efforts in our community are making a difference, and they deserve further support.

This week's Review includes an article on the Fathers' Support Center in north St. Louis, which received a three-year, $319,000 grant for the organization's Parenting in Partnership (aka Moth...

December 15, 2016

Recently, some influential voices have raised concern about the relationship between increased abortion restrictions and the number of children in foster care. Some of the arguments I've heard come down to this: "We should oppose, or at least fear, any further restrictions on abortion rights, because such restrictions will result in more children being placed in foster care." In our country, the foster care and adoption system is burdened and...

December 15, 2016

In our busy and frantic culture, it's easy to be distracted and lose focus. We live surrounded by external and internal distractions competing for our limited attention. Whether due to the constant noise of people talking, phone ringing, TV chatter or the inner disruptions caused by stress, worries and mental obsessions, it's hard to stay centered and single-minded. And for many, access to social media has only made things worse — we now jump...

A homeless man ate his meal at a soup kitchen run by the Archdiocese of Athens in Greece. All Christians are called to help those in need, and to do so in a way that recognizes the dignity of all and keeps everyone safe.
December 8, 2016

A rash of synthetic drug overdoeses among St. Louis' homeless population has prompted the question of how to help those in need, and in particular, addressing the issue of panhandling, as reported in this issue of the St. Louis Review.

As we prepare for the birth of Christ, we're mindful of the plight of the Holy Family. The Scriptures share how Joseph and Mary, who was about to give birth, were without shelter. The Son of God came into...

December 8, 2016

The box went up on a Monday evening in August, a plain white box nestled inside a little wooden tent and mounted atop a fence.

"Prayer requests" is written the side of the tent in black, all-caps lettering.

The box has a slot, like one awaiting Valentines, and the message: "Please write down any prayer requests. We would love to be praying for you!"

Keanu Krech didn't know what to expect when he set up the prayer box, tuck...

December 8, 2016

Matt Birk is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics. The native of St. Paul, Minn., was the recipient of the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for his excellence on and off the field, including his emphasis on the importance of education through his HIKE (Hope, Inspiration, Knowledge and Education) Foundation.

Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, was a standout center for the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimo...

December 1, 2016

As we read in the Gospel of Luke (1:26-27), God chose for the mother of His son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."

Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. After a long period of waiting, the times are fulfilled in her, the exal...

December 1, 2016

My 3-year-old grandson, Lukas, could be a poster child for strong-willed boys. He often displays a temper as well as rock-solid stubbornness. When he sets his mind to something, there's no budging the mountain. And "Lukey-Dukey" is the stereotypical "all boy" in that he loves to wrestle.

My youngest grandson, Lukas also can be incredibly, even willfully sweet. Give him a bag of Skittles, a sack of fries, a bottle of a flavored drink — h...

December 1, 2016

A week after the presidential election, an odd friend request popped up on Facebook. We'd already been friends for years. We're actually kind of close.

"Weren't we already friends?" I inquired.

In a moment of deep frustration Nov. 8, she had unfriended all of her "conservative" friends.

This wasn't particularly bothersome. People sometimes make brash decisions. Besides, is Facebook a real measure of friendship? She is a go...

Pope Francis plays table soccer with a young resident during an Oct. 14 visit to Rome’s SOS Children’s Village. The village, which includes five houses, attempts to provide a home-like atmosphere for children under the age of 12 whose parents cannot care for them.
November 23, 2016

The U.S. bishops' website doesn't hold back when addressing the topic of mercy.

"We say that God is compassionate, but we ignore the poor. We say that God loves us and has mercy on us, but we hold grudges against our friends. Our actions need to authentically reflect God's mercy."

Now that's a challenge, highlighted during the extraordinary jubilee celebration of the Year of Mercy, which closed Nov. 20.

The Catholic Church...

Kurt Nelson
November 23, 2016

The musical "Hamilton" has captured the attention of most of the nation and the Nelson household hasn't been exempt. As a lover of history, I didn't need much convincing. My high school daughter first brought it to my attention and we began playing tracks as we were driving around town. The music is catchy and the lyrics clever, but I think one of its greatest achievements is the ability to tell us a story we thought we knew from a different p...

November 17, 2016

After an intense national election season, we need a diversion.

We look forward to the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas.

The Advent preparation directs our hearts and minds to Christ's second coming at the end of time and also to th...

November 17, 2016

It isn't difficult to look at the world today and be left with profound feelings of uncertainty, uneasiness and concern. Our global perspective provides many instances of real human tragedy and suffering. For example, we might point to the migration crisis or the persecution of Christians taking place in many parts the world and quickly realize the challenges we face.

Closer to home, our predicament doesn't seem to be much better. We ha...

November 17, 2016

This year, Thanksgiving week starts right after the formal conclusion of the Year of Mercy. How do we incorporate what we have gained from the prayers, talks, readings and reflections that most of us took part in during the year to shape the way we think about and celebrate Thanksgiving?

So much of our Thanksgiving pivots around what fills us with satisfaction and a sense of sufficiency. Like most people, my gratitude is tightly wrapped...

November 11, 2016

The speeches by President-elect Donald Trump and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the day after the Nov. 8 election are heartening and, we hope, heartfelt.

Both talked about the nation coming together to overcome divides that were evident during the election campaigns. Trump praised his opponent, saying that we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

"I mean that very sincerely," he said. "N...

November 10, 2016

It's almost as if November's Mass readings were written for election-weary Catholics, with their foreboding tones and calls for "perseverance" and "endurance" amid distress.

"They will seize you and persecute you," St. Luke warns.

"Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light," St. Paul exhorts.

Polls confirm what Facebook makes clear: Americans were disgusted by this presidential campaign. And...