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Ascend Honored with National Award

June 8th, 2010

Cover of Ascend

Cover of Ascend

Last week, the Catholic Press Association, the national association of Catholic publishers, editors, reporters, writers and communications professionals, held their annual convention in New Orleans, and announced the winners of the 2010 Catholic Press Awards.

We are pleased that Ascend: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation was awarded first place in the category of Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith, being singled out from among many fine books published in 2010.

In presenting the award, the judges noted: “Everything about this book—the design, structure, content, style—is geared to an audience nurtured on visual appeal, technology and rapid assimilation. The content succeeds extremely well in the premise of its subtitle: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation. Anyone who picks it up will find it hard to resist, given its broad scope and lively writing coupled with solid grounding in Scripture.”

We are of course so thrilled that Ascend was selected for this honor. The word is spreading!

Holy Chaos

May 23rd, 2010

Pentecost homily preached at Good Shepherd Church, Beverly Hills, May 23, 1010

I am a web developer. I work in Hollywood and live in Miracle Mile. So Wednesday evening I was driving south on La Brea. As you know, there are many Orthodox synagogues in that area, and the streets were filled with faithful Jews walking to synagogue. Whole families, everywhere you looked. Probably hundreds of people, all celebrating.

Wednesday was the great Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot, also called the Feast of Weeks because it is celebrated 50 days after Passover. At the time of Jesus, Shavuot was a pilgrimage feast, which meant that everyone came to the Temple in Jerusalem. Many came from distant lands, the conquered peoples of many nations. These Jews of the Diaspora spoke Greek as the international language of business and government; they even read the Jewish scriptures in Greek. They had a Greek name for this festival as well. They called it Pentecost.

Jerusalem was filled to capacity for this harvest festival. There were crowds everywhere, festive meals and parties. And in the midst of this chaos, something extraordinary happened. Read the rest of this entry »

A Petition for the First Bishop in the United States

April 19th, 2010

The following is the text of a letter sent to Pius VI on March 12, 1788 by John Carroll, S.J. and two other priests. It would result in the election of John Carroll as the first Roman Catholic bishop for the United States: Read the rest of this entry »

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My Memories of a Pedophile Priest

April 5th, 2010

Just as the wounds of the American Church began to heal after the excruciating, drawn-out crisis of clerical abuse that exploded in 2002, we are again seeing the crime of clerical abuse being manifested in other countries.

Shortly after the passion of the American Church, the tsunami of shame inundated Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Vatican insisted it was a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon issue. Then the Church in Ireland imploded. The Vatican said it was a problem of English-speaking nations.

Now we hear of cataclysmic crises of sexual abuse striking in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Philippines and Brazil. The Vatican can no longer claim it is a problem peculiar to those who speak English. Now they say it is either a plot by the media, a conspiracy of homosexuals or a symptom of the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s (despite the fact that many of the cases occurred before then). Read the rest of this entry »

It is Finished

April 1st, 2010

On the sixth of the Seven Last Words of Jesus (John 19:30)

Jesus cried out: “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he died.

But was it? Was it really finished?

Our Christian tradition teaches us that the sufferings of Christ continue in the lives of everyday people today.

Consider the sufferings imposed on those who are tortured, innocent people held in prisons and “detention facilities,” those who are starving to death, those without homes and who have lost limbs who continue to desperately rummage for food in the ruins of Port Au Prince.

And what of those who are enslaved, those who are persecuted, those who hunger and thirst for justice who are assassinated? What of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement who were murdered in the South, innocent people blown apart in the subways of Moscow, the million people hacked to death in the Rwandan genocide, or the gay people of Uganda and Iran who face death today?

And today we cannot be blind to what we read about the escalating crisis of abuse in our Church, the tens of thousands of walking wounded of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and who knows how many other places who were traumatized by priests, only to have their pain covered up by bishops and ignored by the Vatican? It was the great spiritual writer Romano Guardini who said that the Church is the cross on which Christ is crucified today. Read the rest of this entry »