I was all set to write my "what to expect in the life of the Church in 2014" column this AM but then I seem to have managed to wash one of my contact lenses down the drain this morning. I am quite blind without them and am typing this with my face about three inches from the screen. Hopefully, I can secure a replacement today or, at latest, tomorrow. My apologies.
In the political realm, the end of 2013 could scarcely look more different from its beginning. The Capitol in Washington was awash in construction one year ago as the platform for President Obama’s second inauguration was going up. Now, at year’s end, the platform – and the President’s agenda – has been thoroughly dismantled.
Uganda's parliament had passed a set of anti-gay bills and sent them to that country's president to become law. Among the provisions, the laws forbid any minister from performing a same-sex marriage ceremony with a jail term of seven years for those convicted of presiding at such a ceremony. So, the question asks itself: The U.S.
Some years, there is a justifiable debate about what was the lead story regarding the Catholic Church in any given year. In 2013, there is no such debate: The unprecedented resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and subsequent election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis was not only the biggest religious story this year, the other competitors are derivative of that election.
The Pope Francis story is, of course, many stories, some of them still unfolding. So, let us look at some of the more important memes that have developed in telling the story.
Today, our celebration of Advent reaches its goal. “Our yearnings anticipate landfall,” wrote St. Augustine, answering definitively, and almost 1500 years early, the charge of the skeptics that our faith is a mere projection of human need, a myth designed to provide comfort and solace. The fact that we desire the coming of the Messiah does not preclude the reality of a Messiah but rather discloses the fact that our desires, our deepest desires, are no more irrational than our desire for shelter or a loving family.
For all the excitement about online polling and other means of garnering feedback, as Mark Silk points out today, many of the questions on the questionnaire distributed by the Holy See in advance of preparations for next year's synod can only be answered by a pastor, not by the lay faithful. So Silk turned to a priest friend to solicit his replies.
The Mother of All Advent Hymns:
Recently, the Constitutional Tribunal in the Dominican Republic ruled that residents of Haitian descent could be stripped of their citizenship, even if they were born in the Dominican Republic. The ruling creates enormous hardship for some 200,000 people. The leadership of the Church in the Dominican Republic has been quiet or worse in the face of this atrocity. The Vatican's nuncio is compromised by the fact that he is new on the job and was brought in to replace a previous nuncio who has been charged with hiring under age Dominican boys for sex.
Last Christmas, I was unable to come home to Connecticut for Christmas because my border collie, Clementine, had emergency back surgery two days beforehand and the recovery was brief, one month, but intensive, especially in those days immediately after she got home. This summer, I was unable to come home because my Saint Bernard, Ambrose, had a torn
Over at CatholicMoralTheology.com, Meghan Clark looks at the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare, which have recently come under scrutiny as a result of that outrageous suit by the ACLU. This is a very sophisticated look at just how sophisticated the ERDs are.