Doyle.pdf

Cellphones revisited/ Conversion before marriage? / Dementia and holy Communion

Posted June 23, 2017 at 12:00 am

Q Recently a reader complained about irreverent behavior in church prior to Mass, including cellphone use. As part of your response, you stated that cellphone use is always inappropriate. Judging behavior is also ugly behavior, at least as repugnant as irreverence.

I use my cellphone prior to Mass while seated in church. I read the day’s Scriptures along with meditations on those readings from several sources. (I particularly like the daily reflections from the University of Notre Dame and from the Jesuit community.) I will continue this practice despite anyone’s misplaced judgments. (City of origin withheld)

Q  I take issue with your recent comments on cellphone usage in church, as appeared in your column in Our Sunday Visitor. I fully agree with the inappropriateness of talking or

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    Carville.pdf

    A truck for Liberia mission

    President Donald Trump has said that he was elected to care for the needs of Pittsburgh, not Paris. America should come first, before we do anything for the planet or the advantage of poor countries. That seems to make sense to many Americans today. At the end of May I was visiting former classmates in Detroit. They took me on a tour of the city which I had not seen in 40 years. Downtown Detroit is still intact, a little worn, but still looking like the prosperous city

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    Carville.pdf

    What do Potus and Pontifex have in common?

    Many world leaders are grabbing news headlines today – (Vladimir Putin, the strong man of Russia, Kim Jong-un, the dangerous man of North Korea, (Donald) Trump, the boastful and unpredictable leader of the world’s richest and most powerful country, the USA, and Francis, the pope, sometimes called Pontifex, of the Roman Catholic Church, whose only power is spiritual. All are well known, and each is quite different from the other three. But, President Trump and Pope Francis do share a common trait; they both make strong use of

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    Carville.pdf

    The Spirit of Pentecost is still blowing

    This is the last column of mine you will read before Pentecost Sunday, two more Sundays to come. Since Easter, the Sunday Gospels have been about the appearances of Jesus to his apostles and disciples after his resurrection. The first readings of the Masses have been drawn from the Acts of the Apostles, telling us about the promise Jesus made to his followers about his Spirit, the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit, that they would receive after his ascension into heaven. We can hear these promises as ancient

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    RichardMeek.pdf

    The alpha and omega of life

    From the pulpit to the dinner table to casual conversation we often hear ad nausea the expression, “Life is precious,” to the point where it is more of a cliché and lacking any real meaning.

    However, God often makes it a habit of reinforcing the preciousness of life, and at the same time reminding us of our own mortality. Recently, and perhaps because he was bored on a lazy Sunday afternoon, God elected to teach me a few lessons that were long forgotten.

    The afternoon began to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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    Rolheiser.pdf

    Coming full circle: From storybooks to spirituality

    My first love was literature, novels and poetry. As a child, I loved storybooks, mysteries and adventures. In grade school, I was made to memorize poetry and loved the exercise. High school introduced me to more serious literature, Shakespeare, Kipling, Keats, Wordsworth, Browning. On the side, I still read storybooks, cowboy tales from the old West, taken from my dad’s bookshelf.

    During my undergraduate university years, literature was a major part of the curriculum and I learned then that literature wasn’t just

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    Doyle.pdf

    Adoption by same-sex couple/How often should a deacon preach?/ Priests born out of wedlock?

    Q I read recently in the Catholic press that representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had written a letter in support of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. That legislation would protect social service agencies who refuse, on religious grounds, to provide adoption services for same-sex couples. Does that mean that the Catholic Church is opposed to such adoptions? (Queensbury, New York)

    A In 2003, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that permitting adoption

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    Carville.pdf

    U. S. immigration policy: Self-interest or charity?

    John Garvey is the president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C.

    A short essay of his on what should guide our immigration policy in the April 3, issue of the Jesuit magazine, America, made me think of my own past experiences on both sides of the border between our country and Mexico. Then I read Pope Francis’ homily this year for the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Immigration is definitely

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    Rolheiser.pdf

    Becoming a holy beggar

    With the exception of Scripture and a few Christian mystics, Christian spirituality, up to now, has been weak in presenting us with a vision for our retirement years. It’s not a mystery as to why. Until recently, the majority of people died shortly after retirement and so there was no need for a highly developed spirituality of generativity after our active years.

    What are our retirement years meant for, spiritually? What’s our vocation then? What might generativity mean for us, after our

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    Fabre, Shelton.pdf

    Bishop Fabre’s statement to Senate Judiciary Committee

    I consider it an honor to be present here among you today to speak in favor of abolishing the Death Penalty in the State of Louisiana. I want to emphasize that I come here today not as a politician, or in the name of any political party, but solely as a Pastor of souls, who comes before you in the name of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Community in our great state. While there are many reasons to abolish the Death Penalty, I am

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    Doyle.pdf

    Difference between priest and monsignor/Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday

    Q Could you explain for me the difference (if any) between “priest” and “monsignor”? Under what circumstances is a priest given the title of “monsignor”? (Burke, Virginia)

    A “Monsignor” is a title bestowed on a priest who has distinguished himself by exceptional service to the church. It is a title granted by the pope typically, upon the recommendation of the priest’s diocesan bishop. It is a purely honorary title and has no effect on the priest’s duties or ministerial assignment.

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    Doyle.pdf

    Gender change and morality/Televising prerecorded Masses /Byzantine Catholics

    Q There has been a lot in the news lately about people who identify with the gender opposite the one listed on their birth certificate. Some take hormones of the opposite sex; some even have surgery to “change” their sex.

    What is the Catholic Church’s position on such transgender people? Is it OK for them to take these hormones and have such surgery? (Alexandria, Virginia)

    A The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Except when performed

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    EDITORIAL: Divine judge

    Geographically, Louisiana and Arkansas are indeed neighbors but recent events have revealed a wide schism when it comes to pro-life issues.

    While Arkansas was pursuing legal shenanigans to justify executing eight prisoners on death row, three state legislators were scurrying to corral support for legislation that would finally eliminate capital punishment in Louisiana.

    A judge stepped in to temporarily block Arkansas’ race to execution but in an ironic twist the state supreme court has barred that same judge from presiding over future

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    Carville.pdf

    Why are we Christian?

    Why do Christians of any denomination Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Eastern Rite, Russian Orthodox, or Coptic believe in Jesus? He, of course, is regarded by most of the world, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists as one of history’s greatest moral teachers. That, however, is far from the profession of faith that we as Christians make along with St. Thomas the Apostle, “My Lord and my God,” as we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel reading. Jesus was the baby boy born to Mary of Nazareth in the manger in Bethlehem.

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    Carville.pdf

    The drama of Holy Week

    Three years ago, The Catholic Commentator carried a story with pictures of a “traveling Way of the Cross” in some of our towns below Baton Rouge. It began in Convent on the Mississippi River and ended in the church parking lot of Holy Rosary Church Parish in St. Amant. If I remember correctly, the cross was carried from one town to another on foot by a procession of people following alternate cross bearers. The cross even had wheels on the bottom so

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    Rolheiser.pdf

    Good Friday

    was bad long before it was good, at least from outward appearances. God was being crucified by all that can go bad in the world: pride, jealousy, distrust, wound, self-interest, sin. It’s no accident the Gospels tell us that, as Jesus was dying, it grew dark in the middle of the day. Few images are more telling. As Jesus hung upon the cross, seemingly, light gave way to darkness, love to hatred, and life to death. How can that be good?

    Moreover,

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    Doerflinger, Richard.pdf

    A divided church?

    We sometimes hear that American Catholics are divided: Some advance the church’s teaching on abortion, others promote its teachings on peace and economic justice. And those factions are at war.

    I seldom saw this among the bishops or their national staff, where I once served. We each had areas of expertise, but we knew we were advancing one vision of human dignity. But the divide can exist among Catholic activists who don’t work day by day alongside good Catholics committed

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    Carville.pdf

    Prayer, our deepest longing

    Stealing a reading project from our school system, Catholics were urged to all read the same book for this Lent. Its author is Father Ronald Rolheiser, the priest whose very good writing graces almost every issue of the The Catholic Commentator. His book, “Prayer: Our Deepest Longing,” is ideal in its subject matter for the Lenten season and in its length, just 95 pages. So, if you have not read it yet, and you are feeling guilty because now we are ending the fourth week of Lent, and your

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    Nelson, Trey.pdf

    Father Nelson eulogizes Father Mike Collins at memorial Mass

    Mike was a true brother to me. For this I will always love him. For this I will be always thankful. As a brother, priest and friend, he brought me to a better place. He made me laugh, often. And he made me stronger. In my years as a priest, I have been blessed with three great priest-mentors: Father Jerry Young, Father Tom Ranzino and Mike. These past few days, especially, I again realize how lucky I am.

    Many of you

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    Doyle.pdf

    Did Jesus feel abandoned?/Prayers during adoration

    Q When Jesus was dying on the cross, according to the Gospel, he cried out, “My God, why have you abandoned me?” Why was he saying this? Did he really feel that his father had abandoned him? (Coxs Creek, Kentucky)

    A Half a century ago, when I first began to think about the meaning of scriptural verses, the conventional explanation was this: The passage you quote is only the first verse of Psalm 22, a prayer well-known to Jews of Christ’s time.

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    Doyle.pdf

    Thanking high donors/Meaning of ‘world without end’/Free to marry?

    Q In my parish, there is an appreciation dinner every year for high-end donors, by invitation only. (I would estimate that anywhere from 5 to 7 percent of parishioners attend.) But among the invitees I have not seen are people who devote a lot of time working for the parish community but can’t afford to contribute enough money to be eligible for the “dinner club.”

    It strikes me that such fundraising techniques might be appropriate for some other charitable organizations but not

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    Carville.pdf

    Some who need your Lenten prayers

    The biblical and traditional way to “keep” Lent is through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Our Catholic Church designates Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as mandatory days of fasting. During Lent many of our parishes use “rice bowls” or take up special collections for the poor. Prayer, however, gets the most attention, and rightly so. The first reading for Lent on Ash Wednesday has the prophet Joel speaking for the Lord and saying, “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.” Some church parishes

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    Catoir.pdf

    My farewell column

    As a young college student, I found myself drifting away from the church. I had a thousand questions, and I found institutional religion unappealing. If it were not for a piece of writing that spoke to my heart, by Cardinal John Henry Newman, I don’t know where I’d be today:

    “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, which he has not committed to another.

    “I have

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    Rolheiser.pdf

    Of virtue and sin

    There’s an axiom which says: Nothing feels better than virtue. There’s a deep truth here, but it has an underside. When we do good things we feel good about ourselves. Virtue is indeed its own reward, and that’s good. However, feeling righteous can soon enough turn into feeling self-righteous. Nothing feels better than virtue; but self-righteousness feels pretty good too.

    We see this famously expressed in Jesus’ parable of the pharisee and the publican. The pharisee is practicing virtue, his actions are

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    EDIITORIAL: Diffusing prejudice

    Polarization fueled by hatred that is permeating modern society is perhaps the most serious threat the country is facing today.

    Although it might be trendy to place the entire blame on the Trump administration for this disturbing trend, we did not arrive at a point where even the walls of school buildings are being employed as billboards to broadcast messages of hate and prejudice over night. Rather, those seeds that are spreading their malefic pollen today were planted many years

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    Carville.pdf

    Lent, a time to let our prayers go up as our eating goes down

    Lent has been an intense spiritual experience for followers of Christ throughout the centuries. Christians of ancient Rome early developed impressive Lenten liturgies. For medieval Europeans, Lent was a time for prolonged prayer, severe bodily discipline and generous alms giving. During the 1900s our parents and grandparents observed Lent with frequent, even daily Mass, public devotional practices and austere fasting. As a boy, I can remember our pastor, Right Rev. Msgr. Leonard Robin, preaching in detail the requirements of fasting: for breakfast – two slices of toast, no

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    Rolheiser.pdf

    Welcoming the stranger

    In the Hebrew Scriptures, that part of the Bible we call the Old Testament, we find a strong religious challenge to always welcome the stranger, the foreigner. This was emphasized for two reasons: First, because the Jewish people themselves had once been foreigners and immigrants. Their Scriptures kept reminding them not to forget that. Second, they believed that God’s revelation, most often, comes to us through the stranger, in what’s foreign to us. That belief was integral to their faith.

    The great

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    Doerflinger, Richard.pdf

    Being Catholic first

    This past presidential campaign, one of the most bruising and discouraging on record, left many of us dissatisfied with the electoral system and politics in general. As usual, Catholics voted for the winning candidate – despite internal divisions between churchgoers and nonchurchgoers and between white and Hispanic Catholics.

    And as usual, Catholics’ tendency to pick the winner raises a question: Are we leading the country or following the crowd? Does our faith make us different?

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