The Teaching of the Church on the Ethics of COVID Vaccines

In recent weeks, I have encountered scores of people who are confused about Church teaching with regard to the morality of taking COVID-19 vaccines. This confusion comes not really because they have not heard that Pope Francis, two Vatican organs, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have all said that it is morally permissible to receive them. It is […]

Growing in Devotion to Saint Joseph

Dream of Joseph by Francisco Rizi (detail)

This year’s celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19 is special, coming as it does within the Year of Saint Joseph, called by the Vatican to mark the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph’s being declared patron of the Church. While the Solemnity is clearly one of the highlights of the Holy Year, it shouldn’t be regarded as the […]

Learning from the Shepherds at Midnight Mass

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This message, indeed, “cannot leave us indifferent.” Because it is true, “it changes everything.” There is something beautifully symbolic about the tradition of Midnight Mass. It shows that Christians are so eager for Christmas to begin that they want to start celebrating on the first moment of Christmas day. People who ordinarily never go out late at night and are […]

The Pastoral Malpractice of Liturgical Abuse

"The Baptism" (detail) by Pietro Longhi [Public domain]

Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is undergoing from within that person’s frame of reference. Much of August I could not help imagining myself in the situation of Father Matthew Hood of the Archdiocese of Detroit. On August 6, presumably after celebrating Mass on the Feast of the Lord’s transfiguration, Hood’s life was changed far more than […]

A Great Innovation for Growing in Faith

Shutterstock | Photography by Yuganov Konstantin

For those who want to grow in their knowledge of the faith, there’s never been a greater time to be alive. We have ready access not only to the Bible in every spoken language but also to so many great commentaries, websites, podcasts, commentaries, that help us to understand and live it. There are scores of good Catholic publishing houses […]

For Better or Worse, In Sickness and Health, from Day One

“I promise to be faithful to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life.” On the day of their wedding, most couples make those vows looking ahead to the future, praying that they will have far more happy times than sad, much more […]

Restoring Essential Services

Stained glass window at the Melkite Catholic Annunciation Cathedral in Roslindale depicting Christ the King with the regalia of a Byzantine emperor. (January 2009 photo by John Stephen Dwyer [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

In different parts of the United States and other parts of the world, we are reaching what many are calling “Phase 2” in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Various restrictions are being gradually rescinded, some businesses reopened, supplementary emergency hospitals closed, panic and fear lessened and normal parts of life restored. But we are far from out of danger. […]

Courage in the Christian and Priestly Life

Stained glass window at the Melkite Catholic Annunciation Cathedral in Roslindale depicting Christ the King with the regalia of a Byzantine emperor. (January 2009 photo by John Stephen Dwyer [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Two weeks ago I had the joy to preach the annual five-day retreat for Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where 25 years ago this year I began my formation for the priesthood. It was an opportunity to express my thanks to the 150 men preparing there for the priesthood there for their courageous witness in faithfully following God’s […]

What are the “O Antiphons” of Vespers?

"The Prophet Isaiah" (detail) by Antonio Balestra [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. This article originally appeared […]

Praying for Fallen Away Loved Ones

On October 17, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that showed that 65 percent of American adults now say that they’re Christians, down 12 percentage points in just the last ten years. Those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particular” are now at 26 percent of the population, up from 17 percent in 2009. […]