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The contributions of Robert Cardinal Sarah as a prophetic spiritual father will continue…

At age 75 and in evident good health, Cardinal Robert Sarah likely has many fruitful years ahead of him, but his retirement as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments concludes one of the most remarkable series of assignments of any prelate in the Church. Cardinal Sarah, ordained in 1969, belongs to the first-generation fruit of early missionary activity in Africa. He fondly recalls how the example of the missionary priests in his village awakened in him a love for prayer and an esteem for the priesthood. He was among the first native-born priests in his native Guinea.   Assassination Assigned for an Archbishop Cardinal Sarah was appointed archbishop of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, in 1979, after only 10 years a priest, at the age of 34. ...

The Ultimate Catholic Coronavirus Vaccine Morality Explainer…

Since Covid-19 vaccines began to be discussed, Catholics have raised concerns about the moral and ethical aspects of taking them. While the Vatican and the USCCB have weighed in on the subject, a lot of Catholics still have questions. To answer those questions, The Pillar brings you The Ultimate Catholic Coronavirus Morality Explainer.™ Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami receives the COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Tom Tracy/Florida Catholic/Archdiocese of Miami Share The Pillar asked bioethicist Michael Deem to help us make sense of the vaccines and the Church’s moral teaching. He came back with a lot — answers to questions you have, and some you hadn’t thought of yet. Read below for a basic snapshot, and then keep going for thorough answers to your questions about the morality of the vac...

You’re probably not planning enough for unlikely events…

advertisement In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, February 15, my house, like many others across the state of Texas, lost power during a winter storm. For the next 48 hours, we wore layers of clothes and huddled under blankets as temperatures indoors dropped to about 40 degrees. Even after the power came on, water supplies were low, and the city of Austin was under a boil-water order. advertisement advertisement This cold snap and series of storms were by far the worst I have encountered in the 23 years I have lived in town, but longtime Texans do remember other bad winter storms over the years. They are not utterly unprecedented. So why was Texas so poorly prepared for a week of snow and freezing temperatures? A lot of it has to do with how people make decisions about unlikely even...

How to sound like a Catholic when you talk about ashes and death…

A response to some bad advice given by theologian Father Ermes Ronchi in a Vatican News interview Catholics began Lent with a sacramental: the imposition of ashes. Ashes remind us of our mortality. The traditional formula for their imposition is, “Remember man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The blessing of the ashes reiterates their symbolic value, “that we are dust. Pardon our sins ….” The nexus between sin and death is clear. The need for repentance is accented. Death has a peculiar quality to focus the mind on the essentials. One would think that, after a year when the deaths of nearly two and a half million people worldwide had some relation to COVID-19, we might start talking about mortality. Apparently, I am deluded. Vatican News Feb. 16 highlighted an interview w...

The devil wants to isolate you from Christ by taking you through these three steps. Don’t let him…..

The basic identity of civilization is built on an understanding of family and the community built from it. Man’s ability to know and understand his relationship with God stems from the very image and likeness God created in him. This means that our original identity with God was meant to be uncorrupted. Man’s human nature is meant to reflect the Divine nature of God because man receives his identity from God for the sole purpose to honor and worship Him. The book of Wisdom provides us great insight into God’s intention for man: Fort God created man of incorruption and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience.[1] Our human identity which in reality is a Trinitarian identity as revealed ...

“Somebody needs to be dad” — Some surprising things I learned from confidential talks with 28 bishops…

For Catholics, the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) stands as the key event of the last 60 years. It renewed the Church’s self-understanding. It reimagined her relations with the Jewish people, other Christians, and the world. It also acknowledged in a new and powerful way the importance of the lay vocation.   It did not, however, break radically with the past, notably regarding authority. In the person of the local bishop, stressed the council, “the Lord Jesus Christ . . . is present in the midst of the faithful.” Every local bishop has the authority to teach, encourage, govern, and correct the faithful entrusted to him. Thus, as “father and pastor” of his people, he should be “an example of sanctity in charity, humility, and simplicity of life,” with the duty to “mold his flock...

Catholic leaders have been falling prey to Silver Bullet Syndrome, but it doesn’t work. There are no silver bullets…..

If I told you that you could transform your parish culture in 5 easy steps, would you want to know how to do it? Even if it was hard, would you be willing to work at it? Would you be willing to pay a steep price to access the steps? If you respond “yes”, then you have “Catholic Silver Bullet Syndrome”. We all want easy solutions to difficult problems, the problem is, that isn’t how Catholic renewal works in real life. Catholic leaders have been falling prey to Silver Bullet Syndrome for generations. Parishes buy the next hot video series, pastors implement new leadership strategies, DREs implement new curricula, Youth Ministers go to the best conferences, Bishops hire consultants to lead new pastoral planning processes, diocesan leaders buy boxes of books and give...

Astrology from the Catholic Church’s perspective…

Do not be deceived. God does not speak through astrologers. “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (CCC 2116) The Catholic Church teaches that consulting horoscopes, interpreting omens and consulting mediums or psychics “all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and in the final analysis, other human...

Associated Press takes the hemlock approach to language…

Don’t you dare suggest that suicide is bad. That’s the new approach at the Associated Press. “Commit suicide” has been canceled, because sometimes people choose legal suicide. Avoid using the phrase “committed suicide.” Alternate phrases include “killed himself,” “took her own life” or “died by suicide.” The verb “commit” with suicide can imply a criminal act. Laws against suicide have been repealed in the United States and many other places. — APStylebook (@APStylebook) February 22, 2021 In response to the AP’s tweet, an editor responded: “In religious circles, ‘commit’ also implies sin, and this is an outdated and painful implication.” Shouldn’t a key takeaway from this past coronavirus pandemic year be: We don’t need more unnec...

Congress is about to vote on the ‘Equality Act,’ a grave threat to the religious freedom of Catholics — please take action now…

There is legislation in Congress, which may be voted on as early as this week, that should alarm you if you care at all about women, what is true, what is scientific and what pertains to free speech and religious liberty. It is the known as the . But the bill is not aimed at equality — rather, its effects will be to erode current federal law protecting religious freedom and to compel employers, schools, charities, etc., to violate their mission and identity and adopt the LGBT worldview. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has this to say of the legislation:  “The Equality Act, which is being voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives soon, in many ways does the opposite and needs to be opposed. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sex...

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”…

1st Sunday of Lent “I believe in God,  the Father almighty,  creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ,  his only Son, our Lord.” Thus begins the Apostles’ Creed, the earliest known Christian creed. Like the later Nicene Creed, it opens with a statement: “I believe” which in Latin is “Credo,” and from this the Church’s authoritative summaries of our Christian Faith are called creeds. The Apostles’ Creed is so named because it is rightly considered a faithful profession of the Faith the apostles believed and preached. Since our return to public Masses, we have been proclaiming the Apostles’ Creed together on Sundays and solemnities. For this season of Lent, I am going to do something I have never tried before. Beginning this Sunday and continuing through th...

Pope authorizes eight decrees concerning candidates for sainthood…

By Robin Gomes Pope Francis on Saturday received in audience Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who presented for his approval the causes of several candidates on the way to sainthood. The Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate a decree on the miracle attributed to an Italian laywoman, clearing her for beatification. One of the seven decrees on heroic virtues concerns an English priest.  Armida Barelli, Italy A decree approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of an Italian laywoman, the Venerable Servant of God Armida Barelli, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. She was born on 1 December 1882 in Milan, and died in Marzio, Italy on 15 August 1952. While studying at a boarding school under the Franciscan Si...