2006 Archive

  1. January 8

    ‘In Truth, Peace:’ What is happening in Iraq?

    Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the annual January 1 World Day of Peace this year connects peace and truth. The Pope is a teacher, always concerned about telling the truth. The message for 2006 reminds the world of the old saying that the first casualty in any conflict is truth. The Pope says it more carefully by recalling the Beatitudes, which call us to be peacemakers, and explaining again the choice of his name as Pope: Benedict. “I wanted to evoke both the Patron Saint of Europe, who inspired a civilization of peace on the whole continent, and Pope Benedict XV, who condemned the First World War as a ‘useless slaughter’ and worked for a universal acknowledgement of the lofty demands of peace.”

  2. January 22

    Is the human mind bigger than scientific method?

    In the news lately have been many stories and comments about evolution and design in nature. Is so-called “intelligent design theory” scientific or religious? The short answer is: neither. It’s philosophical. That means theories about purpose in natural order can be constructed and argued without referring to religious belief and without verification by scientific method. They can be rationally debated as true or false without the help of revelation and outside of a laboratory. Philosophers have speculated about the origin of the world without knowing either the Bible or scientific method. In their speculations, philosophers have constructed methods of argument and proof that are purely rational but not scientific in the contemporary sense.

  3. February 5

    The love of God and Valentine’s Day

    Valentine’s Day is marked each year as a celebration of human friendship and romantic love. In some people’s minds, romantic love is quite different from love of God or God’s love for us. Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical tries to show how every example of love feeds into every other. “God is love,” the Pope tells us again, echoing St. John the evangelist; and God’s love for us shows itself in the love of husband and wife.

  4. February 19

    Finding the face of Christ: What kind of year will 2006 be?

    After the Year of the Eucharist in 2005, the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese have called for a Year of Evangelization in 2006. Evangelization, conversion to Christ in his Body the Church, is the constant purpose and mission of the Church; but this year a special emphasis will be put on re-thinking how this might be done in the parishes. As special events, Father Robert Barron of Mundelein Seminary will lead an Archdiocesan mission with public homilies and added opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Festival of Faith in February has as its general theme the New Evangelization. Many parishes will find their own way to implement the Archdiocesan evangelization guide, “Spreading the Holy Fire.”

  5. March 5

    The merciful gaze of Jesus: Lent, 2006

    Lent has begun. Last Wednesday we took the blessed ashes upon our foreheads and accepted the invitation of the Church to go into the desert with the Lord.

  6. March 19

    The Lenten journey: expressions of discipleship

    During Lent we learn again how to follow Jesus. It’s a journey that takes place interiorly and exteriorly, in our souls and in our actions.

  7. April 2

    The strength of weakness: Pope John II’s death, a year later

    Last week I prayed at the tomb of Pope John Paul II. He is buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the grave where Blessed Pope John XXIII’s body lay until it was brought up to the basilica when he was beatified. Recent Popes have asked to be buried not in elaborate tombs but in the rock under the church that guards St. Peter’s tomb, with a marble slab on top of their grave. Long lines of pilgrims pass the grave and pray each day. I went early in the morning, before the business of the day that brought the Cardinals to Rome.

  8. April 16

    Christ’s resurrection and the mystery of God’s mercy

    Christmas is easy. The lovely manger scene and the sentiment that surrounds it make an immediate appeal. Christmas tugs at the heartstrings of millions of people who may or may not understand the mystery of the incarnation of the eternal Son of God.

  9. April 30

    What do we say when we evangelize?

    We all have reason to be grateful to Father Robert Barron of the Mundelein Seminary theology faculty for the series of talks he gave in the parishes of the Archdiocese in recent months, the last given in the Cathedral on Palm Sunday evening. His work was part of “Mission Chicago,” an important moment in the Year of Evangelization. He traced the way grace transforms our lives when we open our hearts and minds, our very selves, to the mysteries of faith.

  10. May 14

    The DaVinci Code: Was Abraham Lincoln wrong?

    Each time I go from my house to my car I look at Lincoln Park. It’s particularly beautiful these spring days, with white and pink blossoms on many trees and various shades of green on the partially opened leaves.

  11. May 28

    Pentecost: the Spirit is sent; the Spirit sends

    Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, is celebrated by the Jewish people as the feast that commemorates the giving of the Law, the great link between God and his chosen people. In the Church, Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, is celebrated as the feast that marks the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles gathered in prayer after the risen Lord’s ascension to the Father. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Son, is the great link between the Father and his people who are the Body of Christ.

  12. June 11

    Will the real Vatican II please stand up?

    In the time after Pentecost, the Church considers the impact of the Holy Spirit in her life. Individuals often speak of an inspiration, of feeling led by the Spirit. Works of mercy and compassion get organized against all odds. In the midst of serious disputes, unity of faith and life is preserved. In the Church’s common life, an Ecumenical Council is one of the events that is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit guards the Church in every age from abandoning the apostolic faith, and a Council is an instrument for strengthening that faith from generation to generation.

  13. June 25

    L.A. in L.A.: Liturgiam Authenticam in Los Angeles

    The spring meeting of the United States Bishops’ Conference took place last week in Los Angeles. As is the case with most meetings, the bishops spent most of their time in a hotel, but we went one evening to celebrate Mass in the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a unique ensemble of buildings designed to place the Church and her ministry squarely at the center of Los Angeles’ life.

  14. July 9

    God’s grace at work

    By Father John Canary

    Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with seminarians, priests and religious, and many lay people as they were searching for ways to grow spiritually and to live their lives by the light of faith.

  15. July 23

    Catholic teenagers in the U.S.: good news and bad

    In Poland a couple of months ago, Pope Benedict XVI said to thousands of young people, “In the heart of every young person there is a desire for a full, happy and successful life. Do not be afraid of this desire, do not be dismayed. God the Creator who inspires in young hearts an immense yearning for happiness will not abandon you in the difficult construction of the house called life.”

  16. August 6

    To Christ be Glory in the Church

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I am writing this before going to the hospital for an operation for bladder cancer; but you will be reading it after the operation’s results are known. About three weeks ago, blood in my urine made necessary a series of tests that showed I have cancer in my bladder, a cancer not yet invasive but wide spread enough to call for surgery.

  17. August 20

    Mary’s faith and her Assumption are lessons for us

    By Bishop Basil Meeking

    It was a hard and lonely thing to be a Catholic in England of the 16th and 17th centuries. The persecution under Queen Elizabeth I and King James was sharp and effective. Yet Catholic life continued, mostly behind closed doors and in secret.

  18. September 3

    On work and workers this Labor Day

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: A constant word of advice to me from all quarters in the past two weeks is that I should not try to take up work very quickly early in my convalescence. I'm happy to take that advice, even as we all celebrate Labor Day.

  19. September 17

    Healing the Wounds of the Church

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Convalescence, as most of you know from your own experience, is a period of ups and downs. There are days when you almost feel yourself again and other days when you barely have energy to keep yourself together. As doctors and others tell me, anyone after a major trauma like a cancer operation has to allow the body to heal according to its own rhythm. I remain deeply grateful, during these days of recuperation, to the many people who have been praying for me. As my strength returns, I pray for them more consistently than I have been able to do in the immediate past. Christ heals, but he asks us to ask.

  20. October 1

    Religion, reason, violence

    Last September 12, Pope Benedict XVI lectured at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria on the relation between faith and reason. His argument was straightforward: faith without reason will often lead to violence; and contrariwise, reason without faith will often lead to violence. Therefore, if we want to live in a peaceful world, faith and reason must be in dialogue not only in particular cultures but globally.

  21. October 15

    Religion, reason, voting

    I wrote the last column to explain what I understood Pope Benedict to have said during his visit to Germany last month: that the path to genuine peace is marked by dialogue between faith and reason in every religion and in every culture on the planet. In our country, the dialogue between faith and reason becomes focused every couple of years in the decisions we make for choosing our elected officials.

  22. October 29

    What makes a saint?

    As we approach the Feast of All Saints on Nov. 1, we recall that what makes a saint is God’s grace. But, on Oct. 15, I was in St. Peter’s Square in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI “made” four holy men and women saints in the calendar of the Church. They had cooperated with God’s grace and his will that we live intimately with him in this life and the next. The Church recognized that life of union with God in the canonization ceremony two weeks ago.

  23. November 12

    Diversity of People, Unity of Mission

    We rightly regard the diversity of the Church here in Chicago as a strength, because we are enriched by the beautiful and varied ways the faith is practiced and passed on by the many cultures that make up our local Church. We also have diversity of opinion and approach in the Church about what is the best way to practice and pass on the faith, and that discussion can be healthy and productive. This diversity of cultures and approaches exists within each parish as well. At times, however, this diversity breaks down into division, and when it does, the Church becomes fractured and her unity is threatened. If the Catholic Church is to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ, as a Church we must walk together in unity.

  24. November 26

    Please and Thank You: Two Ways to Pray

    During the month of November, many Catholics of the Archdiocese send me cards with requests for prayers. Thousands of these cards and their requests remain in the chapel in my residence, and each day I try to read through some of them and shape my prayer to include the needs described on the cards.

  25. December 10

    The Way of Discipleship: preparing to meet the Lord

    Last week I was cleaning out old holy cards from family prayer books, and I discovered a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On the back of the holy card was printed: Remembrance of the Mission conducted by the Diocesan Missionaries, Rev. William E. Cousins and Rev. Raymond P. Hillinger, in St. Pascal Church, Chicago, Illinois, March 10 to March 24, 1946, Reverend George P. Heimsath, Pastor.

  26. December 24

    Christmas: Knowing the One you love

    With the vast increase of information available from the communications explosion, I sometimes feel I am drowning in a sea of data. We are now able to know so much – about our work, about what is happening in the world, about sports, about music or the theater, about politics and public life, about financial results at all levels of enterprise. But the pile-up of facts does not always lead to greater understanding.