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 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...

November 10, 2016

This fall is bringing the best in good sports and faith-filled sports personalities to St. Louis.

One of the appearances is on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Former Baltimore Raven Matt Birk will be the keynote speaker at the Vitae Foundation Pro-Life Event in St. Charles. Birk was the headline speaker at the March for Life this year, giving a powerful witness to the value of life.

Birk founded the HIKE Foundation which helps at-risk children...

November 3, 2016

Catholic Church teachings on care for people at the end of life are helpful to people from any religious tradition.

Catholic moral theology has a long tradition that is as relevant today as when it was developed 500 years ago, as a booklet on "Caring for People at the End of Life" from the Catholic Health Association explains. The Church advocates reasonable care in terms of the benefits of such treatments being proportionate to the bur...

November 3, 2016

The souls of the just are in the hands of God.

Since the 1200s, the Roman Catholic Church has honored the faithful departed, and now we focus each November to remember the souls who have died. To that end, the members of the permanent diaconate community of the Archdiocese of St. Louis use this time to recognize their departed brothers and sisters — the wives of our deacons.

Each year, a memorial Mass is celebrated on a Saturday...

November 3, 2016

Just before the sun peeked over the horizon, a group of ducks circled overhead. A few greeting calls and a feed chuckle kept them interested for a pass. Then another. Then another.

"Take 'em!"

Eight shots. Five ducks.

This stewardship of wildlife gets in the blood. It's exhilarating, the food is good, and it helps manage wildlife — the whole "dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air" thing (Genesis 1:29)....

October 27, 2016

The Catholic Church teaches that Catholics are called to form their consciences based on Church teaching and vote in accordance with that well-formed conscience.

Going to the polls or casting an absentee ballot is not optional, folks.

Catholics are called to participate in promoting the common good and, as far as possible, to take an active part in public life. Indeed, "by fulfilling their civic duties, guided by a Christian cons...

October 27, 2016

My wife, Donna, and I took the vacation of a lifetime earlier this month. Thanks largely to the unexpected Christmas generosity of our four adult children and three sons-in-law, we spent the last few days of September and first 10 days of October in Europe. Most of the memorable adventure was based in Madrid, with several day trips to smaller Spanish towns, and about 48 hours were in Florence, Italy. We walked more than 150,000 steps as we vis...

October 27, 2016

Election day — finally! (No, not the U.S. elections, the Jesuit superior general.) The overcast weather in Rome didn't lessen our enthusiasm. Though Mass was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. — at the Church of the Holy Spirit, across the street from our Curia — many Jesuits already had taken their places by 7:10 a.m., quietly praying about the events ahead. No one took this lightly.

Like the opening liturgy of General Congregation 36, the Mass o...

October 20, 2016

Respect for life and the word "belong" have a lot in common.

Pope Francis cites our "throwaway culture that treats human life as disposable." The elderly are marginalized and the lives of people with disabilities are deemed less worth living. Babies in the womb who are unwanted are aborted.

The fundamental truth that "the inalienable worth of a human being transcends his or her degree of development" is forgotten — leading to the...

October 20, 2016

In our contemporary culture, human interactions are often transactional and impersonal. More and more, we fill out online forms to record who we are and use anonymous surveys to find out who we are becoming. For just one example, we Google others, and without ever meeting them, find all kinds of information about their demographics and social behaviors. Our personal and group identities have become so measurable and accessible that others make...

October 20, 2016

In about a week, thousands of children will dress in costumes and assume an alter ego. On Halloween, they will dress up as movie characters, sports celebrities or scary figures. While trick-or-treating is fun, everyone knows this is a once-a-year chance to pretend to be something they will never become.

But on the following day, thousands of Catholic children will wear different costumes to their schools or parishes. The Feast of All Sa...