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Showing posts from October, 2012

Mark your calendar for Wednesdays with Pope Benedict

I have much to write about. It has been a busy two weeks. But before I cover anything else I must encourage you to make Pope Benedict's Wednesday general audience part of your Year of Faith commitment. Every Wednesday the Holy Father offers his teachings and reflections and they are not to be missed. Today he once again discussed the role of faith in the modern world:
"In our time", the Pope said, "we need a renewed education in the faith. Certainly this must include a knowledge of its truths and of the events of salvation, but above all it must arise from an authentic encounter with God in Jesus Christ".
"Today, along with many signs of goodness, a spiritual desert is spreading around us. ... Even the ideas of progress and well-being are revealing their shadows and, despite the great discoveries of science and progress of technology, mankind today does not seem to have become freer. ... Many forms of exploitation, violence and injustice persist. ... Moreov…

Pilgrimage for Life and LIberty

Today the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsored a pilgrimage for life and liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC and I was fortunate enough to go. It was amazing. First of all, the upper church was packed. This is a huge church and we were packed like sardines in the pews and there were people standing in the side aisles and in the many small chapels that line both sides of the church. There were even rows of chairs set up in the open area behind the last pews. The Shrine web site says the upper church seats 3500 and with all the chapels has a capacity of 6000. Bet you didn't see any news coverage of thousands of Catholics gathering to pray for life and liberty.

Archbishop Lori of Baltimore was the primary celebrant. He is the leader of the USCCB ad-hoc committee on religious liberty. He gave a rousing homily that resulted in a standing ovation when he was done. I normally do not like applause during Mass, but somehow his…

Confessio and Caritas

Pope Benedict XVI offered an extemporaneous reflection on the Year of Faith at the Terce service for the Synod on the New Evangelization:
Because God shows Himself in the figure of Jesus, who is the Word, with a content which asks only to enter in us. The willingness to suffer also belongs to the Christian confession, said the Holy Father: Confessio carries within it the concept of martyrology, in the sense that it expresses the willingness to bear witness even up to the sacrifice of life. And it is this that guarantees our credibility. The Confessio should remain in heart and mouth. It must necessarily become public, because the faith carried within must be communicated to others, proclaimed, with the courage that derives from intelligence. Because God, the Pope stated, is not only a spiritual essence. He enters in the life and senses of man. Thus in the Confessio the force of our senses is necessary, which are mutually penetrated in the symphony of God. All of this pre…

Marginalizing parents

This article in the Washington Post struck a nerve. A pediatrician writes of how he struggles to provide quality care to teenage girls but the mothers of these girls won't give him the privacy he needs to ask the tough questions about sex, drugs, abuse, and other sensitive issues. And then when information comes to light about a sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy, he cannot share this information with a parent unless the minor girl consents.

I empathize with his dilemma. In my years of practicing medicine I have faced many similar dilemmas. A mother brings her daughter in for what she thinks is the stomach flu. I run a pregnancy test and it comes out positive. The law says I cannot tell Mom this result unless her daughter gives me permission to do so. This right to privacy extends all the way down to twelve-year-olds.

I know why the law is there. Parents can be intimidating and in some cases there may be a risk for abuse. However, in the vast majority of cases, parents love…

Forgiveness in this season of politics

Politics can be overwhelming. I am heavily invested in the upcoming election. I am passionate about the moral and spiritual consequences that await us on November 7 if the culture of death prevails. And unfortunately, those passions can get downright testy and uncharitable. So it is against this backdrop that I read Msgr. Charles Pope's discussion of forgiveness in Our Sunday Visitor. I continually struggle with forgiveness. People hurt me, hurt those I love, hurt the country I love, and hurt the Church I love. I take this very personally! Does forgiveness mean I am supposed to put all that aside and embrace them over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee? Not necessarily.

Msgr. Pope offers a more realistic view of forgiveness. It is a gift from God. It allows us to view the past without the anger, resentment, and desire for revenge that consumes us when we fail to forgive. Even that is not easy. But with the God's help and grace, it is doable. Forgiveness means I can think back …