Word On Fire

WAKE UP: THE REAL DANGER POSED BY THE CALIFORNIA CONFESSION BILL

Confessionals

SB 360, a piece of proposed legislation currently making its way through the California state senate, should alarm not only every Catholic in the country, but indeed the adepts of any religion. In California, as in almost every other state, clergy members (along with a variety of other professionals, including physicians, social workers, teachers, and therapists) are mandated reporters—which is […]

Seeing Abortion

We stand at a pivotal point in the great moral debate over abortion in our country—not because new arguments have emerged, but rather because laws so breathtaking in their barbarism have been passed, and a film so visceral in its presentation of the reality of abortion has found a wide audience. As John Henry Newman reminded us, assent to a […]

New York, Abortion, and a Short Route to Chaos

Art Babych / Shutterstock.com (editorial use only)

t was the celebration that was particularly galling. On the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law a protocol that gives practically unrestricted access to abortion, permitting the killing of an unborn child up until the moment of delivery. In the wake of the ratification, the legislators and their […]

About Social Justice and Evangelization

"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

While I was in Chicago for the Christmas break, I had a wonderful meeting with around thirty young Jesuits, all in their “pre-tertianship” period of formation. This means that these men had already passed through their lengthy education in philosophy and theology and had been involved for some time in a ministry of the Jesuit order. The group I addressed […]

Stephen Hawking: Great Scientist, Lousy Theologian

Photography Courtesy of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Stephen Hawking was a great theoretical physicist and cosmologist, perhaps the most important since Einstein. It is only right that his remains have been interred alongside those of Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. He was, furthermore, a person of tremendous courage and perseverance, accomplishing groundbreaking work despite a decades-long struggle with the debilitating effects of Lou Gehrig’s disease. And by […]

Tintoretto and the Reform of the Church

Jacopo Tintoretto (Italian, 1518 - 1594 ), Christ at the Sea of Galilee, c. 1575/1580, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I am in Washington, DC this week for meetings of the USCCB. Since formal proceedings didn’t begin until the evening, I found myself yesterday morning with a little free time. So I made my way to one of my favorite places in the city, the National Gallery of Art, which I frequented when I was a student at Catholic University […]

Why Remain Catholic? (With So Much Scandal)

Saint Peter

Friends, in light of the recent scandals, I know many people are wondering whether they should remain in the Catholic Church. And I totally get that; the outrage is warranted. But in this time of crisis, I beg you not to flee, but to fight–not violently, with the weapons of the world, but with the weapons of the Spirit. We […]

Why Accompaniment Involves Apologetics

"Road to Emmaus" (detail) by Robert Zünd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I recently granted an interview to the National Catholic Reporter concerning the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, to which I was elected a delegate. We discussed a number of topics, including the rise of the “nones,” the purpose of the Synod, and creative ways of listening to the concerns of young people. In the course […]

All Sinners are Welcome!

"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

While I was in central Georgia, filming the Flannery O’Connor episode of my Pivotal Players series, I saw a sign on the outside of a church, which would have delighted the famously prickly Catholic author: “All Sinners Are Welcome!” I thought it was a wonderfully Christian spin on the etiquette of welcome that is so pervasive in our culture today. In a […]

Getting Out of the Sacristy: A Look at Our Pastoral Priorities

For the past several days, I’ve been with my Word on Fire team, filming for the Flannery O’Connor and Fulton Sheen episodes of our “Pivotal Players” series. Our journey has taken us from Chicago to New York to Washington, DC, and finally to Savannah and Milledgeville, Georgia. At every step of the way, we have met numerous people who have […]