News & Views
Check in each week to read interesting articles from Catholic writers, discover what Catholics are talking about in the wider world, find out what's happening in the lives of Catholic leaders, and keep up with the latest news from the Sisters of Bon Secours!

Discovering the Gospels

William Reiser, November 21, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Just Jesus (three volumes)
by José Ignacio López Vigil and María López Vigil

(Crossroad, 2000)

During my second year of college, one of our religion assignments was to read a life of Christ and then write a review. I looked through the shelves and found a number that looked interesting. On the shelves were Giuseppe Ricciotti’s The Life of Christ (1947), Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ (1958), the three volumes of L. C. Fillion’s The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition (1928-29), and Ferdinand Prat’s two volumes Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Work (1950). To be honest, I cannot recall whether I chose Fillion or Prat to read and review. I may have done both.

I also discovered Romano Guardini’s The Lord (1954), with its stunning Rouault painting on the dust jacket. I read it, slowly, over the course of a year. The butcher at our local grocery store had already read it several times and urged me to give it a try (a memory I cherish). Fillion and Prat struck me as more academic and scholarly, while Guardini was more reflective and existential.

The book that eventually caught my imagination, however, was Alban Goodier’s two-volume The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: An Interpretation (1936). I was a first-year novice and had just finished making the Spiritual Exercises. Each evening we had a half-hour devoted to reading the life of a saint or a life of Christ. That’s when I discovered Goodier. I loved it. I must have read it three or four times before moving on to his volume on the Passion.

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DOUBTS ABOUT THE FAITH

Cindy Wooden, November 23, 2016  | 

Everyone experiences doubts about the faith at times — “I have” many times, Pope Francis said — but such doubts can be “a sign that we want to know God better and more deeply.””We do not need to be afraid of questions and doubts because they are the beginning of a path of knowledge and going deeper; one who does not ask questions cannot progress either in knowledge or in faith,” the pope said Nov. 23 at his weekly general audience.Francis said that although the Year of Mercy has concluded, he still wanted to continue his general audience reflections on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

With fewer than 10,000 pilgrims and visitors present and with rain forecast, the Vatican moved the audience indoors to the Vatican audience hall.

The pope, with a voice that was a bit hoarse, focused on the spiritual works of mercy of “counseling the doubtful” and “instructing the ignorant,” which he said was not meant as an insult, but simply as a description of a person who does not know something.

Calling a lack of access to education a “grave injustice,” Francis asked those in the audience hall to give a round of applause to teachers and the “long list of saints, who throughout the ages, brought education to the most disadvantaged.”

Education, he said, is both a work of evangelization and a work of mercy and justice because it recognizes the dignity of the human person, fights discrimination and, by preparing people for jobs, combats poverty.

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A Preoccupation With Money

Michael Leach, November 2, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates lists 10 rules for good writing. The first is “Write your heart out.” The tenth is “Write your heart out.” She could have been thinking about Heather King.

King writes her heart out on every page. She has authored several gripping memoirs. In Parched (2005), she reveals her 20-year addiction to alcohol with the naked truth of a William Burroughs and tells of her fall into grace through the intervention of her family. In Redeemed(2008), King writes of her embrace of Catholicism — and Catholicism’s embrace of her — in words so genuine that the Los Angeles Times called it “as honest and raw as the model of the spiritual memoir, the ‘Confessions” of St. Augustine.”

In Shirt of Flame (2011), she spends a year reflecting on the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, comes to an understanding of her own brokenness, surrenders to God and endeavors, like Thérèse, to become “a victim of love.” In Stripped (2015), the memoir of her journey with breast cancer, she strips away all pretenses and makes us feel what she feels and understand what she has come to understand, that the potential for all healing lies within ourselves.

And now in Loaded, King takes on a taboo topic that no authors I know of have had the courage to write their heart out about: the attention we give to money.

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Living Sundays

Michael Leach, November 15, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Sunday…

Sometimes I say the Our Father when I wake up. My favorite line: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I know God’s will for us is better than anything I could think of myself. I also know that my consciousness (heaven) has everything to do with how I will experience life (earth). We don’t go to church on Sunday because it is more than a chore. On Tuesdays, one of the priests says Mass at 11:30 a.m. at River House, the adult day care center Vickie goes to during the week. I’d like to say I “pray always” as Jesus instructed, by being awake and aware of my thoughts and more interested in the things of God than anything else, but this boy’s got a way to go.

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Wanted: SAINTS

Tony Magliano, November 7, 2016 |  National Catholic Reporter

Most likely, you are reading this shortly before, or shortly after the U.S. presidential election.

America’s next leader will have the means at hand to do tremendous good or tremendous harm. The new president-elect of the United States will have many opportunities to purposefully move forward policies and legislation that can make not only the U.S., but the world a far better place. Or the next president can dangerously choose to greatly exacerbate the many serious problems facing humanity.

Our prayers and political activism will be needed to persuade the fledgling president to reject all that is deadly, and instead choose the way of goodness, the way of life, the way of God (see Deuteronomy 30: 15-18).

But we should not place all of our marbles in the one basket of the U.S. president.

No single human being alone — president, prime minister or pope — can build a world where justice, peace and love reign. Such a vision realized needs all of us, and not just a mediocre version of ourselves, but rather the best version of ourselves.

The world needs saints!

Our hurting world needs Christians who are committed to being the very body of Christ on earth — saints.

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HAPPY SAINTS

Elise Harris, November 1, 2016 | Catholic News Agency

The saints of the Church have many different qualities, but one thing that unites them all is a sense of joy, Pope Francis said in his All Saints Day Mass in Sweden.

“If there is one thing typical of the saints, it is that they are genuinely happy,” the Pope said in his homily Nov. 1, All Saints Day.

The saints, he said, “found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed.”

He then pointed to the Beatitudes, explaining that they are both the path saints take as well as their final goal: “the Beatitudes are the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps.” (more…)

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Castel Gandolfo Opens to Public as Museum

Josphine McKenna, October 25, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY
He rejected his sumptuous Vatican apartment and chose a Ford Focus to get around town. Now Pope Francis is giving up the historic summer residence where pontiffs have holidayed for nearly 400 years.Without ever having spent a night there, the pope ordered the apostolic palace and gardens at Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles from Rome, be turned into a museum.

It officially opened on Oct. 21, giving the public an intimate look inside the palace where a succession of popes lived and died.

“It is an event of strong symbolic value because it represents the pastoral policy of this pope,” said Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, which will be responsible for running the Castel Gandolfo museum.

“His suburban villa is such a masterpiece of architecture, art and nature that so many of his predecessors lived here,” Paolucci said.

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PEACE IN A VIOLENT WORLD

Life as a Sister – Social Justice

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Tom Roberts, September 19, 2016  |  National Catholic Reporter

Peace.

Mention of it is everywhere one turns in the Catholic universe: It is invoked, prayed for, yearned for, counseled and envisioned as a condition of the reign of God. Our Scriptures are filled with references to it, we wish it to each other during our most sacred liturgical moment and we end that moment with an instruction to go in peace to serve.

It is a single term that, like love, is stretched to cover all human possibilities from the most intimate stirrings of the individual heart, to the world itself, to relations among nations armed with enough destructive power to obliterate that world many times over.

Like love, it is not meant to be a passive bystander, accepting what comes along or defined exclusively by moments of bliss. Jesus offered it as something other than that ordinarily known in the world and he used a term translated as “peacemaker,” giving it a special place and blessing and clearly expecting his followers to do something about it.

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Making a Difference

How Can You Use Your Gifts and Talents: Life as a Sister

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Carol Glatz, October 12, 2016 | Catholic News Service

All it takes is just one person carrying out one simple, loving act of mercy every day to start a revolution and stamp out the “virus of indifference,” Pope Francis said.

Sharing God’s mercy is not about expending a huge amount of effort or performing “superhuman” acts, he said during his general audience Oct. 12 in St. Peter’s Square.

Jesus showed with his words and deeds that it’s much simpler than that: It’s about making “small gestures that in his eyes, however, hold great value, so much so that he told us we will be judged upon these” actions, the pope said.

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LACK OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Read how Sisters of Bon Secours work toward Justice: http://lifeasasister.org/topics/social-justice/

 

By Mary Ann McGivern, October 4, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

In the largest sense, I don’t know why criminal justice reform doesn’t happen — reform of our sentencing laws, bail bond system, parole board operations, use of solitary confinement. I could go on. There’s more injustice in our prisons and jails and legislators acknowledge that it exists. Our jails and prisons are expensive to operate and when reform bills are discussed in legislative committees and on federal and state legislative floors, everybody agrees systemic injustice is rampant.

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