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My calendar reads “March 2021” in a way that feels like yet another season of a well-worn television programs. Familiar characters and storylines and more of the same. Sure, this March will have more madness than the last one, and some of us can be proud at accrued mastery for... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Go, Rebuild My House
In just one week in January, it seemed as if all the grief and shame was unleashed again. Every media outlet was covering one story after another about the Catholic Church and the cumulative effect was dispiriting and demoralizing. There was the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
Pope Francis’ appointment of Xavière Sister Nathalie Becquart and now-bishop-elect Luis Marín de San Martín to the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops is only the latest step in his efforts to push the global church toward a synodal model of leadership. That is, a model in which bishops and lay people... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
There really are Catholic anarchists hoping for the end of Pope Francis. They find something wrong with everything he says, even though his every word is rooted in the Gospel and the writings of his predecessors. Don’t be fooled. Another target of the agitators is the Second Vatican Council. That... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
In a phone call last April with 600 Catholic leaders, including Archbishop Gomez, President of the USCCB, and Cardinal Dolan of New York, President Trump referred to himself as the “best [president] in the history of the Catholic Church.” While none of those on the call positively confirmed this distinction,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”— John 10:10 Four years ago, not long after Donald Trump’s inauguration, I was invited to a conference at Heythrop College in London to celebrate the life and work of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
Yesterday, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States—two weeks after a mob, stoked by Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol with the aim of blocking Congress from certifying the election and, among some of the rioters, of doing real harm to legislators. I was interested to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
The images are as poignant as they are sobering, and they lay bare difficult truths about the United States. The images are photographs of Capitol workers, mostly Black and Brown men and women, in the hallways and along the offices and by the side chambers of the US Capitol, cleaning... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
In Ireland, January 6 is called Nollaig na mBan – Gaelic for Women’s Christmas. The idea was that women would be thanked and celebrated after all the work they had put in over the Christmas season. They could put their feet up, party with other women and hand over domestic... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2021 at Go, Rebuild My House
On the eve of the Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse in February 2019, Roman officials praised the Canadian bishops’ guidelines on responsible ministry, “Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation,” as a model that might be emulated by... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
Ask most any Catholic how the church chooses the pope – ask most anyone, for that matter – and they’ll probably give you a pretty accurate account of how it goes: The pope dies (or, these days, resigns), and all the cardinals rush to Rome. They gather in private to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
While the coronavirus pandemic besieges our world, the response to it brings into relief another, even more insidious, contagion. A blatant repudiation of facts has infected populations worldwide, spreading a disease of lies, a denial of reality. Significant numbers, albeit in minority, deny the severity and deadly consequences of COVID-19.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79 American Catholics arrive at Thanksgiving this year on a somber note. The calamities of 2020 have been many: An ongoing pandemic with hundreds... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
After leaving my academic post earlier this year, I am rediscovering the joy of reading for its own sake, free from publication deadlines and the pressure to produce peer-reviewed journal articles. This week I started reading Bernard Häring’s three-volume study, Free and Faithful in Christ. Published in 1978, the first... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
As if further proof were necessary, the results of the recent U.S. elections have forcefully confirmed what we already knew: the United States is a deeply divided nation. And so is the Catholic Church in this country. On November 7 – four days after Election Day – almost every reputable... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
By the time you read this blog, the voting will be over, but the counting will still be going on—perhaps for many days more. But whoever is President for the next four years, Catholics and their church need to do some serious soul searching as we look into the future.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
The plan had been to write a post comparing the place of God and religion in Canadian and American elections, a topic that might have ended up making me sound like a smug neighbor to the north. (Full confession: these days, I probably am.) The idea was to talk about... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
The nation has learned many things this election cycle. We have learned that President Donald Trump’s narcissism is total, standing firm even in the face of a pandemic. We have learned that former Vice President Joe Biden is no longer as sharp as he once was, but he is nobody’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
In 1969, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, theologian Henri de Lubac gave an address at St. Louis University entitled “L’Église dans la crise actuelle” (“The Church in the current crisis.”) De Lubac addressed at length the divisions facing the church, which were particularly stark for his audience... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
It is clear that relations with mainland China are fraught. The geopolitical situation is hazardous and seemingly insurmountable. Diplomacy has collapsed into shouting matches; polemical argument supplants reasoned argument. But there may be an avenue we haven’t explored, and it is an unusual recourse. What do Carrie Lam, the chief... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
In 2017, I listened to a fascinating interview on the TED Radio Hour with the artist, Titus Kaphar, in which he movingly recalls his experience of taking his two sons to the Brooklyn Natural History Museum, when the infamous Teddy Roosevelt Statue still sat outside the main entrance. When his... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
How does a country cope with shame? In July 1942 French police in occupied Paris carried out “Operation Spring Breeze”—arresting 13,000 Jews, including 4,000 children, who were detained in the Vélodrome d'Hiver (a cycling stadium). The detainees were held for five days with little food or water, while awaiting transport... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
Those eager for reform in the Catholic Church have looked to Catholic universities for inspiration. But Catholic universities are beset by many of the same problems that plague the Church: clericalism, top-down decision-making, lack of diversity, reluctance to change and a culture of fear. These are Catholic twists on more... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House
Times of crises will scatter people into different directions to make sense of what is occurring or to gather ideas for what can be done. The current global condition of fear and disruption caused me recently to amble through some older documents and articles, and happily I came across several... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Go, Rebuild My House