We Catholics have new sins for the 21st century. The old sins -- sloth, envy, gluttony, lust, pride -- have a “rather individualistic dimension,” said Vatican official Msgr. Gianfranco Girotti in 2008. “The sins of today have a social resonance as well as an individual one,” he said, naming new transgressions for a new age.
I was not raised in a linguistically sensitive family. My parents called us “stupid” when they thought we were. They employed the full range of locally well-known, inaccurate and often hateful words and phrases for people of different skin colors and abilities.
Companies like Google and Facebook offer their employees a variety of compelling services that enhance the work experience. Employees at Google get “first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, car washes, dry cleaning, commuting buses -- just about anything a hardworking employee might want,” says Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO. “Let’s face it: Programmers want to program. They don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.”
Earth and Spirit
In the Midwest, the shockingly red cardinals begin singing in drab mid-February, no matter what the weather. That’s when my spring hunger begins. Their hopeful songs bring it on. Migrant robins return. My yearning cranks up. By March, garden seeds are on display in the hardware store while hoes, rakes and spades are up front. That gets me salivating.
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican commission studying the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina held its first meeting in late March.
While the Vatican press office provided no details about the meeting, it published the names of the commission members April 13.
Earth and Spirit
Beautiful, grotesque, disturbing, darkly terrible, inspiring, tragic, funny, deeply spiritual, shockingly antireligious -- all of these equally describe the late Ingmar Bergman’s 1956 film about a 14th-century knight (Max von Sydow) returning from the Crusades to his plague-ridden homeland. “The Seventh Seal” has become one of the cinema’s living legends. I watched it recently for the second time. I saw it first in 1964, when I was 19, just out of high school seminary. It shook me to the roots then.
Who ministers to the ministers? Where can priests and religious safely turn when they are depressed or addicted?
Guest House, a 54-year-old organization headquartered in Lake Orion, Mich., specializes in treating priests, religious, deacons and seminarians with addictions. Upper Room, a new crisis hotline based in Joliet, Ill., provides paraprofessional counseling, information, referral, suicide prevention and reassurance for elderly priests, brothers and deacons.
Earth and Spirit
Our culture directs us to engineer our total security, to surround ourselves with things and wealth, so that we are in no way ever dependent upon another. However, our Catholic spiritual traditions tell us that if we protect ourselves from insecurity, from vulnerability, we in turn cut ourselves off both from the Source, but also from the community we need in order to be fully human and compassionate.
Franciscan preacher Fr. Richard Rohr has said: “One religion, Catholic Christianity, even dares to call God a lamb!” What is the nature of a lamb, if not simple, vulnerable and dependent on others? Spirituality often turns things upside down and inside out. To be human is to be insecure, dependent. Even God chooses community — to be a weak and gentle lamb in our midst.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Did God abandon Haiti?
No, say its people of faith -- and there are many here in a place without much beyond faith. The earthquake was a sign of God's presence.
So, it should be no surprise that on a narrow street choked by debris, outside a church with a shattered ceiling open to the morning sky, what was left of the congregation of Haiti's Second Baptist Church stood in a courtyard and waved their hands in the air and shouted, "Victoire! Victoire!"
WASHINGTON -- President Obama addressed how his faith guides him and the importance of hard work as he marked the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at a Washington church on Sunday, Jan. 17.
"Folks ask me sometimes why I look so calm," he said at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, a historic congregation that was visited by King. "I have a confession to make here. ... There are times when it feels like all these efforts are for naught, and change is so painfully slow in coming, and I have to confront my own doubts. But let me tell you during those times, it's faith that keeps me calm. It's faith that gives me peace."
The president spoke for almost half an hour in the usual spot for the sermon on the church's program, addressing about 500 people gathered in the Family Life Center of the congregation founded by freed slaves in 1866. At times he spoke like a preacher, opening his speech with "Good morning. Praise be to God," and concluding with "through God all things are possible."