EDITORIAL: Where will it end?

Posted November 18, 2020 at 9:19 am

Innocent lives lost, hundreds, perhaps thousands of others injured.

All too often headlines scream of a law enforcement officer shooting, where an African American man or woman was killed. Protests follow and significant portions of major cities are far too frequently burned to their skeletal bones.

But violence is not confined to officer related incidents. Unfortunately, violence continues to rise among the Black community, taking the lives of innocent young African Americans at far too early of an age, including infants as we have seen in southeast Louisiana.   

Mourning families are left behind, asking why.

And through tearful eyes those same family members  publicly beg for the killings to stop.

Where will it end?

Predictably, each mass shooting or senseless killing renews the call for greater gun control and perhaps the time is ripe to revisit the issue.

Equally as predictable, gun control opponents view such

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    Diocese’s goal is to foster racial unity

    One day I was having a conversation with my dad about growing up in Dallas. He explained that his south Dallas neighborhood was made up of mainly Italian, Jewish and African American families. He remembered that he mostly played on his own street, but often the children of the neighborhood would gather to play baseball at the neighborhood park. It’s just what children did back then.

    He remembered one day, during a neighborhood baseball game, a policeman pulled up and called the white children over to his car. The

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    Our only hope

    The liturgical year, Cycle A, concludes with the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, as the new liturgical year, Cycle B, begins with the First Sunday of Advent. The Sunday Mass readings fill us with the light of the kerygma (pronounced ke-rig-ma), the first proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, namely “that in Jesus Christ, who was crucified, died and rose, salvation is offered to all people as a gift of God’s grace and mercy” (“Mission of the

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    Remaining Catholic / Beginning of Advent

    Q I am confused, angry and frustrated with the Catholic Church with so much scandals involving priests in the Catholic Church. Why should I remain Catholic?  

    A Because of the recent scandals involving two priests in New Orleans, as well as other scandals involving our clergy, you have a right to be confused, angry and frustrated. But this is not the time to run away and hide. It is a time to fight fight for your church, fight for change, fight, for

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    Saints are us

    Saints are us

    “Everyone is invited to the heavenly banquet, everyone is welcome. But the decision to come is yours. Get ready though, for it is not just the party of the season, or the century; this is the party of eternity.”

    I found this wonderful quote in a notebook I keep of ideas for future columns. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who said or wrote it. But my thanks to author unknown.

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    Racial reconciliation

    My mother is Catholic and white, and my father is Methodist and Black. They raised our family in the Catholic Church but growing up, I never really felt connected to the church and didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.  

    We were “sacramentalized,” but I was never evangelized until high school, when Protestants began to share Jesus with me. I also lived a lifestyle that was not conducive to becoming a saint, and I stopped going to church.  

    My mom still made us go to religious education classes, and one of my friends was

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    Spirituality and the second half of life

    One size doesn’t fit everyone.  

    This isn’t just true for clothing, it’s also true for spirituality. Our challenges in life change as we age.  Spirituality hasn’t always been fully sensitive to this. True, we’ve always had tailored instruction and activities for children, young people and for people who are raising children, carrying a job and paying a mortgage, but we’ve never developed a spirituality for what happens when those years are over.  

    Why is one needed? Jesus seemingly didn’t have one. He didn’t have one set of teachings for the young, another

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    Proper way of receiving Communion; purpose of fasting

    Q What is the proper way of receiving holy Communion?  

    A  Any Catholic who is free from mortal sin and has fasted from food or drink for more than one hour is eligible to receive holy Communion. Water, medicine and food or drink necessary for the health of the individual is exempt from the one hour fast. Additionally, the one hour is before receiving holy Communion, not one hour before Mass starts.  

    Holy Communion is received

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    Fratelli Tutti: Chapters 4-8

    After describing in his first three chapters the present challenges facing our world today and the necessary response of fraternal charity and social friendship between individuals, civic communities and nations, Pope Francis spends the final five chapters of his encyclical letter, “Fratelli Tutti,” describing practical means of responding with these spiritual virtues to present problems of cruelty to immigrants, politics that divide citizens and nations from one another, economic systems that exploit the poor and the weakening of democracy itself.  

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    EDITORIAL: Vote we must

    Presidential elections always have far-reaching impacts in shaping the future of the country, but perhaps at no other time in history has the first Tuesday in November seemed so critical.

    The election comes as the country is at an important crossroads. We seem to be a people estranged, racial unrest has spilled into the streets of large cities and unprecedented acrimony exists between political parties.

    A global pandemic has splintered the country even more, and the health of the American people has unfortunately become a plank in the platforms of both parties.

    Fortunately, the curtain will soon drop on this political morass. Hopefully

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    Speak up!

    The Catholic Commentator is launching a new feature in its bi-weekly publication, and we need your help! A collaborative project with the Racial Harmony Commission of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, the new column will feature stories, letters and other forms of personal reflections on race and faith in order to build bridges of empathy and understanding among members of the body of Christ.

    To that end the column will be called “Building Bridges,” the motto of the commission, which was established by Bishop Robert W. Muench after the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and three Baton Rouge law

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    Let your voice be heard

    The Catholic Commentator, in conjunction with the Racial Harmony Commission of  the Diocese of Baton Rouge, is launching a new feature in its bi-weekly publication to share stories and increase understanding among members of the Body of Christ.

    The recurring column will be called “Building Bridges,” which is also the motto of the Racial Harmony Commission established by Bishop Robert W. Muench after the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers in 2016. The commission remains active today with the strong support of Bishop Michael G. Duca.

    The purpose of the new column, similar to the commission’s mission, will be to highlight the

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    Deeper things under the surface

    Imagine this. You are the dutiful daughter or son and your mother is widowed and living in an assisted living facility. You happen to be living close by while your sister is living across the country, thousands of miles away. So the weight falls on you to be the one to help take care of your mother. You dutifully visit her each day. Every afternoon, on route home from work, you stop and spend an hour with her as she has her

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    Racial Harmony Commission statement

    (The Racial Harmony Commission of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, a bi-racial commission, which consists of 12 members and includes clergy, religious and laity of the diocese, continues to meet at the direction of Bishop Michael G. Duca to explore ways to better understand the effects of racism on our society and to build community around the need for racial harmony.

    The commission issued the following statement in response to the death of George Floyd and to commemorate the fourth anniversaries of the deaths of Alton Sterling and law enforcement officers Montrell Jackson, Brad Garafola and Matthew Gerald).


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    EDITORIAL: Court turns back on the unborn

    A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down Louisiana’s so-called abortion law is evidence of a court that is continuing to relegate the life of an unborn child to an inconsequential proceeding on a legal docket.

    On June 29 the court ruled unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby medical facilities. The swing vote in the 5-4 decision was Chief Justice John Roberts, an erstwhile pro-life advocate who has apparently fallen prey to the repellant seduction of pro-abortion forces. Roberts’ turnabout was obvious when he snubbed his judicial nose at a

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    COVID-19 challenges for young people

    The novel COVID-19 struck our country with an undeniable amount of incredible force. With hospitals being overwhelmed with thousands of sick patients, civilians scared out of their minds, schools, workplaces and places of worship closing their doors, it is clear that this pandemic has wreaked havoc.

    Many agree the effects of the coronavirus will have a severe and lasting impact on the future. Being a teenager during this time of crisis has its own unique challenges. Our school year cut short, encounters with isolation, uncertainty of the future and experiencing

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    Salvific use of the flag

    “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I don’t know who said it, but the truth of that statement has certainly been proven throughout the turmoil following the cruel murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. On June 6, the Advocate’s opinion page carried a block of six drawings summarizing the oppression of racism from slavery to today. A white overseer whipping a slave, Ku Klux Klan burning a cross, the legs and feet of a hanging lynched black person, modern cops brutally beating a

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    Let your voice be heard by casting a voite

    Upon learning of the news of George Floyd’s passing, I shared in the utter despair felt by many across the nation. I wish that I could say that I am shocked but, unfortunately, this appears to be the new norm.  

    This is something that happens way too often and seemingly nothing is done. Each time something like this happens, I would always pray and hope that it would be different but it never

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    Christ’s descent into hell/ Catholic-Jewish wedding

    Q I have enjoyed reading your column over the years. But I do have a question that has always bothered me, even though I have made more than 30 retreats at a Jesuit retreat center and have taught CCD (religious education). In the Apostles’ Creed, why does it say that Jesus descended into hell and rose on the third day? How could Jesus go to hell? He had no sins he was God. (Glen Allen, Virginia)  

    A During the celebration of the Mass,

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    Father, Son and Holy Spirit; you, me and everyone

    Many of us in high school or college have read John Dunne’s poetic line, “No man is an island.” 

    He was telling us that we are all connected one to another. We do not live for ourselves alone, but only flourish or even survive with the support and loving help of others. The Gospels for the weeks after Easter used St. John’s Last Supper discourses to show us how true this is, and how God intended this in the incarnation and life, death

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    Facing our tough hours

    Discernment isn’t an easy thing. Take this dilemma: When we find ourselves in a situation that’s causing us deep interior anguish, do we walk away, assuming that the presence of such pain is an indication that this isn’t the right place for us, that something’s terminally wrong here? Or, like Jesus, do we accept to stay, saying to ourselves, our loved ones, and our God: “What shall I say, save me from this hour?” 

    At the very moment that Jesus was facing a

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    EDITORIAL: Correcting a wrong

    Creating a task force examining the seemingly disproportionate and tragic affect the coronavirus is wielding on the African American  community is a humane and judicious decision by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

    At one point, African Americans accounted for more than 70 percent of deaths caused by the virus in Louisiana. Although decreased, the number still hovers around 60 percent,  disturbing in a state where approximately 33 percent of the population is black.

    National numbers, particularly in the South, are equally distressing.

    Undeniably, there is ample cause for concern but pinpointing the reason for such a disparity

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    History of confession/ Does televised Mass fulfill obligation?

    Q When I was a Protestant, I never went to confession, and no such practice existed in any of the churches to which I belonged over the years. Now, as a Catholic, I’ve been told that confession is based on a passage in the Letter of James (5:16) that says, “Confess your sins to one another.”  

    But that verse to me seems more like a general instruction to admit it when we’ve done a person some wrong

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    John Updike, after recovering from a serious illness, wrote a poem he called, “Fever.” It ends this way: “But it is a truth long known that some secrets are hidden from health.”  

    Deep down we already know this, but as a personal truth this is not something we appropriate in a classroom, from parents or mentors, or even from religious teaching. These just tell us that this is true, but knowing it does not itself impart wisdom. Wisdom is acquired, as Updike says, through a

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    In times of crisis, become godlike

    My son was having trouble graphing an equation for his algebra class so he had to ask me for help. Poor kid. As I struggled to remember my eighth-grade algebra, he wondered aloud when he would ever use this stuff in “real life.”  

    At that moment, I couldn’t help but think of the dozens of graphs I have seen dotting news articles and social media feeds over the past several weeks.  

    Coronavirus case counts, death rates,

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    God and the principle of non-contradiction

    It is funny where the lessons of our classrooms are sometimes understood.  

    I studied philosophy when I was still a bit too young for it, a 19-year-old studying the metaphysics of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. But something from a metaphysics course remains indelibly stamped in my mind. We learned that there are four “transcendental” properties to God: Scholastic metaphysics tells us that God is one, true, good and beautiful. My young mind then had some grasp of what is meant by “true, good and beautiful” since we have some

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    Pope and bishops in China/ Is it too late to pray?

    Q I was surprised to read in the Catholic press an article criticizing Pope Francis’ agreement to allow the Communist government to nominate candidates for bishops in China. So my question is this: Are those under the pope’s authority allowed to question publicly such an arrangement made by the Holy Father? (Newark, Ohio) 

    A The answer to your question is “Yes,” but first some important background. 

    The provisional agreement that you reference was made in September 2018 after

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    ¿Cómo encontraremos al Cristo resucitado?

    En las últimas semanas, tuve la oportunidad de hablar con algunos de ustedes sobre las dificultades de quedarse en casa. Sé que las familias están luchando con preguntas difíciles: ¿Cómo pagaremos las facturas? ¿Cómo puedo ayudar a mis hijos a completar sus tareas escolares? ¿Cuándo volverá la vida a la normalidad? En tiempos de dificultad, estamos acostumbrados a llevar nuestras preocupaciones y esperanzas con nosotros a la iglesia. Allí, podemos acompañarnos en oración y unirnos alrededor del altar. Nos encontramos con Jesucristo en la Eucaristía, escuchamos sus Buenas Nuevas, le ofrecemos nuestras oraciones y

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    Things learned in isolation

    My datebook says I have been in isolation for more than a month. I am retired, and there is no one else in my house besides me, so it has been a lot of isolation. My retired clergy jobs supply help in parishes, prison ministry, foreign mission trips all canceled. Fortunately, I always email my columns to The Catholic Commentator, so I spend a lot more time than usual at my desk computer checking articles from Catholic publications that might be useful or in my office easy chair

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     Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

    “Peter ran to the tomb” (Lk 24:12).  What thoughts crossed Peter’s mind and stirred his heart as he ran to the tomb? The Gospel tells us that the eleven, including Peter, had not believed the testimony of the women, their Easter proclamation. Quite the contrary, “these words seemed to them an idle tale” (v. 11). Thus there was doubt in Peter’s heart, together with many other worries: sadness at the death of the beloved Master and disillusionment for having denied him three times during his Passion.

    There is, however, something which signals a change in

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