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 18, 2016

Living in the 21st century, it's easy to look back at history and note the advances, disappointments, struggles and difficulties produced by each historical age. We know the significance the printing press had for popular learning and the development of language in written form. We also point to the industrial revolution as bringing about considerable social mobility, transforming family life from an agrarian society to an urban culture. And i...

August 18, 2016

I love watching the Olympics. While the competition is intense, I am also drawn in by the beauty of the host country, the pageantry of the opening ceremonies, and the stories behind the athletes. This year's games have been more inspiring because faith has been more visible.

Let's start with the breathtaking topography of Rio de Janeiro. Topping this mountainous landscape is the statue of Christ the Redeemer, his arms open wide to the w...

August 15, 2016

Common sense and the need to support our law-enforcement community are reasons legislators need to sustain Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill loosening the state's gun laws. The bill, among other changes, would remove the requirement to obtain a permit and training in order to carry a concealed firearm.

Under current law, a person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons if he or she carries a concealed knife, firearm, blackjack, or...

August 11, 2016

One can't overstate how strange and perplexing this U.S. election season has been.

The call to fear and isolationism, the occasional drumbeat of nationalism approaching xenophobia depresses me. Have we heard the whispers of scapegoating of certain people — especially those of a different religion?

I found it so consoling that in the midst of the campaign season, a Sunday Gospel reading in July yielded the parable of the good Sama...

August 11, 2016

In July, I traveled to Serbia, Greece and Lebanon to review the refugee situation now that the borders to Northern Europe are closed. While the flow of people has diminished, it has not ceased. Migration is now largely dependent on traffickers who charge individuals 4,000 to 6,000 euros to facilitate illegal crossings.

Most of the refugees I met in Serbia were young Syrian men in their 20s who were desperate to find work. They were weig...

August 4, 2016

Many of us probably view a suggestion from the pope as just that — a suggestion. But Pope Francis' strong urging at World Youth Day to leave a mark on the world by practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy is based on the Gospel, and it's what we are called to do.

The corporal works of mercy found in the teachings of Jesus give us a model for how to treat others — as if they are Christ in disguise. We are asked to feed the hu...

August 4, 2016

It was a rough July, on a national scale, marked by division: shootings, protests, funerals, conventions.

Whether you tuned into Trump and Clinton, clicked over to the late-night comics or braced for sharp Facebook exchanges, you likely felt a sense of separation, of people moving further apart, digging in their heels and drawing circles around their camps.

"At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than th...

August 4, 2016

They wore patches with "BH" on their uniform sleeve. Dedicated the season to their former coach. Played their hearts out.

But the St. Margaret Mary Alacoque seventh-grade baseball team probably didn't count on the storybook season ending at the CYC cadet closed championship game July 22.

The team's beloved coach, Bill Hessi, died at age 50 after a work-related accident on Aug. 11 last year, survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and th...

July 28, 2016

Ah Canada. It has the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Rockies, French-speaking Quebec and fishing villages. Mexico and the Caribbean islands have beachfront resorts.

But South America? Bolivia, with its high altitude and rainforests? Who goes there?

There's a vast continent to our south, and in landlocked Bolivia more than 45 priests from St. Louis have served in the Latin America Apostolate the past 60 years, joined in 1959 by missiona...

July 28, 2016

With World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland, over the course of the last week of July, thoughts naturally turn to Pope St. John Paul II and his pilgrimages to his Polish homeland.

The first, the "Nine Days" of June 1979, in which the pope ignited a revolution of conscience, was the pivot on which the history of the late 20th century turned in a nobler direction. In 1983, as Poland suffered under martial law, St. John Paul reignited hope...

July 28, 2016

My soul longing, I close my Bible. My desire is to rest — not to relax and take it easy, but to actively find a properly holy place of rest in my heart, mind and soul. I'm not seeking to recline on a Caribbean beach or to cast my gaze down upon a lush, green valley from atop a steep mountain, though surely those can be holy places.

My desire at this moment is both simpler and more challenging than that. As I sit on my bedroom's "prayer...

July 22, 2016

As a citizen of this country, as a Catholic Priest and Bishop, and as an African-American, I am deeply distressed by the recent violent eruptions of the racial divide in the United States. Last week, I served as the Catholic Chaplain during Week Three of the nine-week summer session at the historic Chautauqua Institution. Moral Leadership in Action was the week's theme. There could not have been a more urgent topic considering the presidential...

Teak Phillips
July 21, 2016

Over the next few months, our emotions may be on edge. At least through the general election November 8, we'll be bombarded with political discourse that challenges our notion of good and tests our patience. We've come to understand this as a part of American politics, but it certainly feels like it gets worse every four years.

Perhaps it is worse. Or perhaps it feels more intense because it comes at us from many directions, seemingly a...

July 14, 2016

As the summer continues, many of us are engaging in meaningful conversations about life, death and hopeful expectations with friends, colleagues and family members. Already, the tone and mood of our sharing seems to disclose an uneasiness at the seemingly overwhelming brokenness and violence unfolding before our eyes. There is plenty of unconscionable behavior in our streets, neighborhoods, cities, nation and world that leave us wanting someth...

July 14, 2016

The dream of playing professional sports often begins early for young athletes. Most of the time that dream goes away as reality sets in as the youngster becomes a teen and turns to a more practical career pursuit.

But for some of the elite young athletes, that dream seems possible following success in high school and then college sports. Some have mastered excellent time-management skills as they focused on sports and academics. Others...

July 7, 2016

A man in mourning visited a grave in The Mount of Olives cemetery. The 3,000 year old burial site overlooks the Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat) and contains more than 150,000 graves including King David's son Absalom and the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Mount of Olives became a pilgrimage site for lamenting Jews because it had a clear view across the valley and onto the Temple Mo...

July 7, 2016

I've been listening to Lillian Cunningham's "Presidential" podcast, trying to glean insights into our nation's earliest leaders. With this month sure to contain fireworks — from the 4th of July to the Republican and Democratic conventions — it feels quieting and introspective to cast my mind back to our first presidents.

In her podcast on George Washington, Cunningham interviewed Julie Miller, a Library of Congress historian. She emphas...

June 23, 2016

The headline referred to the recent Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline Summer Institute as a "Counter Bullying Workshop." The accompanying news release described VBRD as "a Catholic response to bullying," but that was the only reference to "bullying" in its eight-paragraphs.

Interestingly, not one session of the fourth annual Summer Institute had "bullying" in its title. In fact, the word rarely came up at Cardinal Rigali Center in the...