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.

February 2, 2017

It's a scene that's become more commonplace as technology: One or more of the people gathered for a meal is constantly interrupted by his or her phone. Conversation is stilted, light, and in short bursts between phone checks. Clearly, those gathered at the table aren't the complete group. They're not "the happening." The "others" never called or came, and nobody seems to have a very good visit.

I also notice in conversations, people see...

January 26, 2017

The news out of Our Lady School simultaneously heartened and disheartened Father Jeffrey Maassen, pastor at the parish in Festus.

On one hand, the school's eighth-graders wanted to be regulars at Sunday Masses, a precept of Catholicism.

On the other, if they expressed this desire, then it must not be happening on a regular basis.

"When I hear my eighth-graders saying, 'I want to go Mass,' that to me is 'Wow,'" Father Maass...

January 26, 2017

When the U.S. Catholic bishops do their laudable work in looking out for the needs and rights of migrants and refugees, they are looking out for a large and vulnerable share of their flock.

For all of the articles and volumes written about the new Americans and their growing political importance, though, it was the progeny of yesterday's Catholic migrants and refugees who earned the national spotlight in the 2016 election.

When D...

January 26, 2017

The 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei is often used as evidence that the Catholic Church opposes scientific thought. The reality is that the Catholic Church has had a fruitful relationship with science and has been one of its biggest proponents. Scientific historian J.L. Heilbron asserts, "The Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries ... than any other, and probably, all othe...

January 19, 2017

Much has changed in the 40 years since the calendar clicked over to 1977.

Numerous things have gone by the wayside, including — thankfully — bell-bottoms, disco and gas-guzzling vehicles. Secularly, we're on our seventh president and, in the Catholic world, our fifth pope and our fifth archbishop of St. Louis.

We've also experienced a drop in vocations to the clergy and to consecrated life, with Catholic education transitioning t...

January 19, 2017

Once, in a confessional, I told a priest that I considered myself the worst sinner I had ever known — not really for the bad things I had done, rather more so for the thoughts I have conjured and encouraged in my head.

"That's not the first time I've heard that," he said. His smile quickly disappeared; his face turned stern and serious. "You need to not think that way. That's pride, thinking you're the 'best' at anything or the 'most' o...

January 19, 2017

I recently finished my five-year term of service at Catholic Relief Services and now write in my status as "me" and not whatever titles I have held since starting my professional career in 1979. Yes, this is the big step: retirement.

Retirement is definitely about letting go. A friend told me that retirement was very difficult for him. After giving notice to his board, he found himself depressed and carrying a great deal of anxiety and...

David and Linda Straub from Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin prayed outside of Planned Parenthood as part of the 40 Days for Life vigil in October 2016.
January 12, 2017

A proposal in St. Louis to enshrine the rights of some has effectively trampled on the right to life.

City alderwoman Megan E. Green has proposed an ordinance that would amend the city's anti-discrimination law and add pregnancy and reproductive health deci...

January 11, 2017

Don Currey was a 30-year-old graduate student when he was responsible for cutting down the world's oldest tree.

A geography student at the University of North Carolina, Don wanted to better understand Ice-Age glaciology by examining bristlecone trees. In the summer of 1964, he was in a grove of bristlecones on Wheeler Peak Mountain in Nevada when his tree corer got stuck in a tree.

A park ranger helped him remove the instrument b...

January 11, 2017

For many, cultural celebrations of a new year involve the familiar ritual of reviewing the past in order to prepare and plan for a better future. We identify concrete goals and resolutions that, hopefully, will become real in the coming year. Encouraged by friends, family and colleagues, we move forward with enthusiastic resolve and purpose.

And, yet, some people are skeptical — if not cynical — about engaging in this cultural norm. The...

January 5, 2017

They carry on despite the circumstances.

This issue of the St. Louis Review includes an article about an arson at St. Monica Church in Creve Coeur two days after Christmas that requires cleanup and repairs lasting several weeks.

Yet, they carry on, with Masses and other sacramental matters continuing as scheduled, but in the parish school.

The fire meant extra work was piled on pastor Father Joe Weber and the parish staff,...

St. Mary Magdalen basketball player MaKiya Sanders (34) contested a rebound by St. Joseph-Manchester player Dana Kerpash (14) at the eigth annual Mary McDermott Third Grade Basketball Tournament at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights Dec. 30. The tournament, a fundraiser for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital’s Cardiac Hybrid Catheterization Suite, honors Mary McDermott who died at 24 in 2008 after suffering cardiac and liver problems throughout her life.
January 5, 2017

Good job. Nice play," Kate Eichhorn shouted to the players on the third-grade basketball team that includes her daughter, Jillian.

The players from Immacolata Parish and their opponents from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish ran up and down the court, passing and dribbling fairly effectively, considering their age and experience level. Some had an accurate shot from a close distance and others need to grow a bit before they'll have the strengt...

A pilgrim lit a candle Dec. 17 in the grotto of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank.
December 22, 2016

Four weeks of Advent are followed by Christmas Day and the beginning of the true Christmas season.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has written that "people go from celebration to celebration — Christmas to the Super Bowl to Valentine's Day to March Madness to Easter to baseball season. There's a lot to celebrate, but something about it seems frantic — and frantic isn't a fruit of God's presence. Preparations begin so early, but when the an...

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...