The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at age forty-six from a heroin overdose early last month (Feb. 2) has sent the usual shock waves through the highly publicized stage and screen worlds of Hollywood and New York. And while it was hardly the first time a life was lost to heroin addiction among the glitterati, it happened this time around to someone singularly gifted in the performing arts. Here was a star whose nimbus clearly outshone all the others.
“What have we been robbed of, by his death?” asked Anthony Lane in a glowing remembrance in The New Yorker (Feb. 17 & 24). “Not so much a movie star, I think, as somebody who took our dramatic taxonomy … and threw it away. Leading man, character actor, supporting player: really, who gives a damn? Either you hold an audience, so tight that it feels lashed to the seats, or you don’t.”
Read more at Crisis Magazine
By Dr. Alexander R. Sich
In 1998 my family returned to the U.S. from our first home leave overseas, for what eventually ended up being twelve years living and working in Ukraine—including experiencing first-hand Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. News reports in recent days have rekindled memories of our Ukrainian experiences. My own personal recollections lead me to believe that what Ukraine is experiencing now is not, as some outsiders might think, merely a new chapter in an old Cold War struggle between East and West. The protestors are fighting for more than freedom for freedom’s sake, but a freedom with dignity that has been out of reach for far too long.
Read more at Crisis magazine
Serious Catholics and political conservatives since the 1950s have strongly criticized the Supreme Court for making public policy and acting as a kind of “super-legislature” to further a leftist socio-political agenda, instead of interpreting the law and judging. We have seen such judicial lawmaking on pornography, abortion, legislative reapportionment, sodomy laws, and the list could go on. While this has certainly been a valid and much-deserved ongoing criticism of the Court, cases in each of its last three terms indicate a new, contrary problem: over-deference to the political branches on both the federal and state levels.
In 2011, the Court decided the companion cases of Camreta v. Greene and Alford v. Greene, which concerned whether a child protective system (CPS) operative and a law enforcement official who backed him up could be sued under federal civil rights laws for an aggressive interrogation of a nine-year-old girl—which under international norms possibly constituted psychological torture—to get her to say that her father abused her. Along with many other organizations, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the girl’s claim (I drafted the brief), mostly because we wanted to focus the Court’s attention—as we tried to do over a decade before in the important parental rights case of Troxel v. Granville—on the CPS’s systemic misconduct that in one article I called “a grave threat to the family.”
Read more at Crisis Magazine
The themes of the Readings for this Sunday focus on the gratitude for God’s salvation. Gratitude is an important psychological and spiritual disposition. Dr. Daniel G. Amen, the popular brain researcher and public health spokesman, identifies gratitude as a key character quality of persons with physiologically healthy brains. That’s right: gratitude affects your physical health, including the shape and functioning of your brain. This Sunday’s Readings focus particularly on gratitude to God, and how it should be expressed. Continue Reading
Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4 Psalm 95:1-2,6-9 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14 Luke 17:5-10
Because of his faith, the just man shall live. We hear in today’s First Reading the original prophetic line made so central by St. Paul (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
We are to live by faith in Christ who loved us and gave himself on the Cross for us (see Galatians 2:20). Continue Reading
Amos 6:1, 4-7 Psalm 146:7-10 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Luke 16:19-31
The rich and powerful are visited with woe and exile in today’s Liturgy – not for their wealth but for their refusal to share it; not for their power but for their indifference to the suffering at their door.
The complacent leaders in today’s First Reading feast on fine foods and wines, reveling while the house of Joseph, the kingdom of Israel (see Amos 5:6), collapses around them. Continue Reading
Does it matter how we treat others? What does my neighbor’s suffering have to do with me? Can I continue living in comfort while bypassing those around me who are in misery?
These are questions that the Readings for this Sunday raise, and to which they provide uncomfortable answers. Let’s read and let the Holy Spirit move us outside our comfort zone. Continue Reading
Amos 8:4-7 Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 1 Timothy 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13
The steward in today’s Gospel confronts the reality that he can’t go on living the way he has been. He is under judgment, must give account for what he has done.
The exploiters of the poor in today’s First Reading are also about to be pulled down, thrust from their stations (see Isaiah 22:19). Servants of mammon or money, they’re so in love with wealth that they reduce the poor to objects, despise the new moons and sabbaths – the observances and holy days of God (see Leviticus 23:24; Exodus 20:8). Continue Reading
As Jesus continues his “death march” to Jerusalem in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 9–19), he challenges us this Sunday to choose, in a clear and conscious way, our goal in life: God or money. The First Reading reminds us that wealth was a seductive trap for the people of God throughout salvation history. Continue Reading
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10
The episode in today’s First Reading has been called “Israel’s original sin.” Freed from bondage, born as a people of God in the covenant at Sinai, Israel turned aside from His ways, fell to worshipping a golden calf.
Moses implores God’s mercy, as Jesus will later intercede for the whole human race, as He still pleads for sinners at God’s right hand and through the ministry of the Church. Continue Reading
This upcoming Sunday marks one of only two times in the main Lectionary cycle that we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son proclaimed (the other being the 4th Sunday of Lent [C]). The Readings are marked by the theme of repentance and forgiveness. Continue Reading
In recent decades, the term “family values” has almost become a code word for “Christian culture” in American society. Influential Christian organizations have adopted names like “Focus on the Family” and the “Family Research Council,” and on the Catholic side of things we have “Catholic Family Land” or The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, better known as “C-FAM.” The natural family unit—based on a husband and wife who have made an exclusive, permanent, public commitment to share a common life and raise children together—has been under such political and social pressure that at times we almost identify Christianity as a social movement to promote family life. Continue Reading
“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!”
These were some of the first words of Pope Francis’ pontificate, and the Readings this week seem providentially to support our new pontiff’s emphasis on the spiritual value of poverty. Texts from the Old and New Testaments remind us that human happiness is not to be found in the accumulation of material goods. Riches are fleeting and empty. We are called instead to “store up treasure in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroy, where thieves cannot break in and steal.” Continue Reading
As the Church reads through the Gospel of Luke this year, we reach a transition point in this Sunday’s text (Luke 9:18-24) where the focus of the Gospel begins to shift toward Christ’s coming passion and death. Sorrowful though his suffering will be, ironically it shall serve as the source of the life-giving “water” about which the other Readings speak. Continue Reading
The Readings for this Sunday revolve around a constellation of fundamental issues in our relationship with God: sin, repentance, forgiveness, faith, and love. Two of the passages used in this liturgy have been battlegrounds in the theological polemic between Protestants and Catholics, but ought not to be so. Continue Reading
Let’s take a look at the Readings for Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day.
In the Northeast and Nebraska, today is Ascension Day. In the Diocese of Steubenville, as well as in most of the USA, Ascension Day is observed this Sunday. I wish the traditional observance on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter was retained, but reality is what it is. Continue Reading
This upcoming Lord’s Day is often known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” since each year the Gospel reading is taken from John 10, the “Good Shepherd Discourse.” It’s also often observed as a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, since priests and religious are visible manifestations to us of Christ in his role as the Good Shepherd. Continue Reading
This week is the Third Sunday of Easter, and our readings highlight the primacy of Peter among the Apostles, and the primacy of love in following Jesus.
Just a few comments on the preliminary readings before we concentrate on the Gospel. During the seven weeks of the Easter Season, the Lectionary reads semi-continuously through Acts in the First Reading (showing the birth of the Church on earth) and through Revelation in the Second (showing the final state of the Church in heaven). Continue Reading
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Octave of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” The theme of God’s mercy runs through the readings. Continue Reading
Join host Michael Hernon and panelists Dr. Ralph Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn as they discuss the importance of their upcoming series “The New Evangelization,” airing on EWTN beginning March 3rd. Continue Reading
Join Host Michael Hernon and panelists Dr. Ralph Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn as they discuss the importance of their upcoming series “The New Evangelization”, airing on EWTN beginning March 3rd. Continue Reading
A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view … Continue Reading
In this third week of our spiritual journey through Lent, the Scripture readings remind us of what we might call the “Moses stage” of salvation history, and also drive home the theme of repentance during this holy season. Continue Reading
Slavery is not a good thing.
God’s liberation of the people of Israel from the condition of slavery—an event we call “the Exodus,” literally, “the road out”—is one of the most important events and motifs in the the whole Bible. Continue Reading