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Joyful when nothing is going well: Gaudete Sunday...

I always take consolation from the example of saints who faced death in the middle of a historical situation that offered little in the way of hope. Three in particular come to mind: St. Augustine died with an army of Arian Goths surrounding Hippo in what looked like the end for Western Christian civilization. St. Thomas More was executed at a time when it looked like all was lost for the Church in England...

What we’ve lost in translation...

Word is that the USCCB is going to tweak the New American Bible but leave it in place as the basis for the lectionary. Please, your excellencies, give it up. The NAB is a train wreck. It cannot be salvaged. It is, by turns, drab, ungrammatical, clumsy, and stupid. It turns good verbs into verbal nouns. Unlike Hebrew and good English...

What’s the perfect gift this year?

Every Christmas, we spend considerable time, energy, and/or money trying to locate the right gift. But the ideal gift—the truly perfect gift—is not found online or at Wal-Mart or Target or even Neiman Marcus. It is found within your own heart, soul, mind, and strength. It costs no money. It makes the world a better place. And...

A sense of beauty must be taught, and learned. It must be cultivated...

I wonder how beauty can be taught. I suppose the means of teaching it will vary according to the age of the student. Surely, we are all still students, and we must first learn if we are to be able to teach. It’s tempting to turn to beauty to save us from creeping ugliness. I hope it’s not snobbery to say that a visit to Walmart...

Meet the new smut, worse than the old smut...

There was an underbelly ripple when the news broke that Victoria’s Secret had called off its Christmas season “fashion show,” a prime-time network TV event featuring provocative displays of risqué lingerie. Cancel culture analysts have conjectured at an awareness of the brand’s lack of “body diversity” together with a growing sensitivity to the problem of female objectification...

First in a series? Ambitious AP feature examines waves of stress hitting Catholic priests...

When covering complex, controversial subjects, the journalism educators at the Poynter Institute have long stressed the importance of paying attention to criticisms made by “stakeholders” linked to a story. What’s a “stakeholder”? Basically, it is a person or group directly linked to the core issues and information included in a news story...

The Catholic Church says a lot, but she speaks of only of what she’s heard...

Many of our Protestant friends and even some Catholics don’t understand it. They think the Church makes up stuff, and the claim that Mary was conceived without original sin is often their Exhibit 1. They say it’s unbiblical and unnecessary. The feast gives us a chance to explain what the Church does, and what she doesn’t do...

Sex differences in personality are so strong and pervasive that they can no longer be ignored, researchers say...

Few topics in psychology are more controversial than sex differences [1]. Debates can be classified into two main types: (a) The description of sex differences, including both the size and variability of sex differences across a multitude of physical and psychological traits, and (b) The origins and development of sex differences...

The perfect gift: A homily for Gaudete Sunday...

What is the perfect gift? We tend to answer this question more in terms of what we want, but today’s Gospel teaches us that the perfect gift is what God is offering. One of the goals of the spiritual journey is to come to value, more than our latest desire, more than our perceived need—more than all else—what God offers. In reviewing today’s Gospel...

“I hope to help lift the stigma”: Lincoln Bishop James Conley announces leave of absence to seek treatment for depression, anxiety...

Bishop James Conley announced Friday that he is taking a medical leave of absence from his ministry as Bishop of Lincoln, Neb. “I have been medically diagnosed with depression and anxiety, along with chronic insomnia and debilitating tinnitus, which is a constant ringing of the ears,” Conley wrote in a Dec. 13 letter to Catholics of the Lincoln diocese...