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We welcomed two groups of freshmen and their parents to campus this week for orientation. We will welcome another group next week. The two-day event helps ease the new students into college life. They participate in academic sessions and receive their course schedules. They even get to meet faculty, staff... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Dr. Petillo's Blog
Like many Catholics, a few weeks ago I watched online the funeral mass for L’Arche’s founder, Jean Vanier. Those who know the mission of L’Arche are familiar with Vanier’s commitment to building communities that welcome people with developmental disabilities, not out of conventional charity, but out of a desire to... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Go, Rebuild My House
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Thence entered I the recesses of my memory, those manifold and spacious chambers, wonderfully furnished with innumerable stores; and I considered... ­­ St. Augustine. Confessions, Book XIII The church of Notre-Dame de Paris is still no doubt, a majestic and sublime edifice. But, beautiful as it has been preserved in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The results of the recent Vatican summit on sexual abuse have been published; we await the document on Curial reorganization; and it is reported that the group studying the possibility of female deacons is deadlocked. Where stands the change agenda of the Catholic Church? In his programmatic Apostolic Exhortation, The... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
In the Middle Ages, the jurist Gratian compiled a compendium of papal decrees and acts of various synods and councils that became the basis for ecclesiastical law, the Condordia discordantium canonum. This influential work fostered an approach to understanding the church and its ministries in terms of power – often... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
“Clericalism! Clericalism! Clericalism!” This is the cry of the People of God, resounding seemingly everywhere in the Catholic Church in the wake of the latest explosion of the clergy abuse scandal as we look for culprits and causes to vanquish in order to finally put an end to this eternal... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The Church’s current state is a crisis of our own making. We have allowed a distorted understanding of the Gospel and of God to fester within the body of the Church to the extent that Pope Francis acknowledges the need to “combat the culture of abuse” now so evident. An... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
Two recent events have, in different ways, called to mind an influential yet deeply problematic strand of thinking – the equation of the church with a civilizational strand sometimes described as Western civilization, sometimes expanded to include “Judeo-Christian civilization” to avoid the appearance of Christian chauvinism. The first of these... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
I am writing this from a beautiful Carmelite monastery in Snagov in Romania, where I am speaking at a gathering of Andante – the European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organiations. I travelled here by train from London, because minor eye surgery prevents me from flying. My mobile phone provider tells... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
Many of us, in various parts of the world, watched in horror and disbelief when Notre-Dame de Paris went up in flames. It was especially gut-wrenching to witness an infernal beast consume the roof and topple the steeple of one of the world’s great Christian cathedrals at the very beginning... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
It was thought-provoking to read Bishop Frank Caggiano’s wise words at Fordham on March 12, when he said that “young people are leaving the Catholic Church not because they are angry—but because they are indifferent.” Their lack of interest, he continued, was because “there are questions unresolved, and young people... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
By now, the sins of the fathers are well known. Seemingly weekly headlines underscore that the Catholic Church is riven by clergy sexual abuse, not only locally but globally, with reports on abuse cases surfacing from Australia to Africa. The intensity and immediacy of the current coverage make it easy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
We are a little more than a month since the conclusion of the Vatican’s summit on combating the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and the history of covering up such abuse. What can we conclude about the meeting and about the trajectory for the Church, here in the U.S.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
These past few years have witnessed the refreshing and hopeful comments and kindnesses of Pope Francis. His words are always followed by sincere gestures of affection and mercy. He leads by living example. Unfortunately, that example is not having either a cerebral or emotional impact on many bishops, especially in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
As I write this, we are entering the desert of Lent. A dark Lent it looks to be indeed in the Church. Every day, it seems, there are more revelations of betrayal and crimes committed by the hierarchy worldwide. Australian Cardinal Pell is sentenced to six years in prison, convicted... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
One joy as a Catholic is the liturgical calendar’s rhythm throughout the year—the way, for example, Ash Wednesday disrupts the daily grind of life. But this is the first Lenten season since the “Summer of Shame.” For many, part of the shock was that Catholics could no longer simply hope... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The Academy Awards ceremony coincided with the final day of last week’s Vatican summit on sexual abuse, which prompted me to look for insights about church reform that are epitomized by four of the nominees for best picture. A common thread among these films is their attention to racial or... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
Just last week, reports surfaced of yet another community of innocents whom predatory priests have been preying upon for decades, this time communities of nuns who now are defying cultural expectations to share stories of assault, rape, abortions, AIDS-related illnesses and ecclesial impassivity bordering on abandonment. The torrent of reports... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
On the road to Emmaus, according to Luke, there came a point when Jesus made as if to go on without the two disciples but they pressed him to stay with them (Lk 24: 28). The Church universal in these strange times is at such a cross-roads. The case of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The present crisis in the church has been a long time in the making and no one should be so naïve as to think that it will find a quick resolution. Pope Francis and his spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., have signaled in recent days that we ought to temper... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The “clergy sex abuse scandal” has been something of a misnomer in that, according to the First Law of Media Dynamics, the public always views the cover-up as worse than the crime. Every case of abuse is a crime, a horror and a tragedy. But it is the concealment of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
In the midst of crisis, the most common human reaction, understandably, is an impulse to DO SOMETHING. As our Church reels from long overdue revelations of clerical sexual abuse and corruption, there is an overriding, incontrovertible need for action. When one receives a diagnosis of a serious ailment, the response... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
The ongoing crisis in the church surrounding the sexual abuse scandal and the loss of confidence in authority has been rightly unsettling for many Catholics. As we reflect on this reality of years-long evil and complicity, we ought not to let it distract us from other injustices in which many... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
In 2017, Antonio Spadaro SJ, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, and Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa, editor of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, co-wrote an article on America’s culture wars titled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism.” The article provoked widespread debate, but today it seems even more... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2019 at Go, Rebuild My House
There is arguably no papal document since the end of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) that has mapped out such a radical reform of Church governance, life and mission as Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It is the blueprint for what the pope’s Secretary... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2018 at Go, Rebuild My House