Home » Opinion
  • Support our priests this September



    We recently celebrated the life of Father Paul Rouse, who was called home to God unexpectedly last month. Father Rouse was a dear friend who shared in many of the happiest and saddest moments of our family's lives. During his time as a pastor at Holy Name in West Roxbury, Father Rouse would often come over to our house and play the piano as we all sang along. He baptized our children and celebrated their first Communions. Most importantly, he was a mainstay of our strength during the life of our daughter Marisol, who passed away at age eight after a long illness.

    Read more
  • Spiritual contractor needed



    The neighborhood we live in doesn't flood. I think I can say that definitively after Hurricane Ida came through a few weeks ago. But when you've got winds in excess of 150 miles per hour, there's a pretty low chance of coming out with absolutely no damage. For us, it was mostly siding, some leaning fence poles, and buckling floors from the wind-driven rain that leaked in through those oh-so-stylish French doors -- all five on the southern side of the house.

    Read more
  • Servant of all



    In today's First Reading, it's like we have our ears pressed to the wall and can hear the murderous grumblings of the elders, chief priests, and scribes -- who last week Jesus predicted would torture and kill Him (see Mark 8:31; 10:33-34).

    Read more
  • Dinner at Pino's



    In June of 1990, a book written by Dom DiMaggio, "Real Grass, Real Heroes," about the 1941 season, when his brother Joe hit in 56 consecutive games and his friend and outfield mate, Ted Williams, became the last man to hit .400, was released. To mark the occasion, a book party took place at Tavern on the Green Restaurant in New York City's Central Park. I happened to be in New York at the time, so I was invited to join in the festivities.

    Read more
  • How to live a meaningful life



    Last week, I had the great good fortune to sit down for a Zoom interview with Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Pageau, and John Vervaeke. As I'm sure you know, Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, is one of the most influential figures in the culture today. Pageau is an artist and iconographer working in the Orthodox Christian tradition, and Vervaeke is a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto. All three of these gentlemen have a powerful presence on social media. The topic of our conversation was a theme that preoccupies all four of us -- namely, the crisis of meaning in our culture, especially among the young. To kick things off, Peterson asked each of us to give our definition of meaning and, more specifically, of religious meaning. When my time came, I offered this: to live a meaningful life is to be in purposive relationship to value, and to live a religiously meaningful life is to be in purposive relationship to the "summum bonum," or the supreme value.

    Read more
  • The Cross, our only hope



    After moving to New York City in early 2015 to serve the Church at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, one of my first excursions was to go to Ground Zero to visit the 9/11 Museum that had opened about 10 months prior.

    Read more
  • Guard the net



    When my daughter Maria was a senior in high school, the girls' hockey coach asked her to be the goalie for the team. This might seem a reasonable request except for one thing: Maria didn't play hockey. She was a good athlete, on a competitive soccer team that traveled to other states. She was a skier and a skater. But she wasn't even a soccer goalie. And a hockey player? No.

    Read more
  • Discord in the early Portuguese Catholic community



    Throughout the 19th century, Boston's bishops regularly contended with a lack of priests, especially those who spoke a language other than English and could effectively communicate with Catholics recently arrived in New England. While meeting the challenges of this chronic problem was a trying task on its own, external pressures could add to the difficulty, as a letter to Archbishop John Williams reveals.

    Read more
  • It's Our World -- On Mission



    Every year Missionary Childhood Association's (MCA) Mission Education Day brings an experience of mission to the hearts and minds of the youngest missionaries of our Archdiocese. In past years, Catholic students along with adult advisors gathered at the Pastoral Center in Braintree to learn more about their own baptismal call to be missionaries.

    Read more
  • Following the Messiah



    In today's Gospel, we reach a pivotal moment in our walk with the Lord. After weeks of listening to His words and witnessing His deeds, along with the disciples we're asked to decide who Jesus truly is.

    Read more
  • A team in transition



    The Boston Red Sox are a team in transition. They will always be. "That's the way it is," as Walter Cronkite used to say. In fact, it's the way it has been for a number of years. It has taken a while for the reality of the Age of Free Agency to settle in, but it's here, and there is no denying it. When Travis Shaw was brought back to the team after an absence of about five years, there were only three members of it who were with the Sox when he left: Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, and Christian Vazquez. Everyone else was gone.

    Read more
  • When our children leave the faith



    Once upon a time, you may have prayed for your darling child to become a nun. Odds are you never prayed that she become a none. Gallup reported earlier this year that church membership by Americans has hit a historic low, falling for the first time below 50 percent. More disturbing is the growing number of young people who identify as "nones," those without any religious affiliation.

    Read more
  • Pope kissing hand



    Q. I have always seen on television the reverence shown to the pope, including people kissing his hand. I am wondering whether the pope ever kisses anyone else's hand. My understanding is that the Holy Father never does this. (Kansas)

    Read more
  • The greatest Catholic novel



    If you think a novel set in 14th-century Norway has to be dull, think again. Sigrid Undset's "Kristin Lavransdatter" is such a book, and far from being a bore, it is surely one of the most exciting works of fiction ever -- to say nothing of being the finest Catholic novel.

    Read more
  • The mighty pen of Father Paul Mankowski, SJ



    In the summer before the Second Vatican Council opened, Pope John XXIII met with Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo. "I know what my part in the Council will be," the pope told the Belgian archbishop. "It will be to suffer." Pope John was prescient, and not just because the Council's opening weeks would prove contentious; shortly before Vatican II began its work, the pope was diagnosed with the painful cancer that would kill him in less than a year.

    Read more
  • Tracking God's diplomats



    There's a new book that's just been published about the Vatican's diplomats, their history and current engagements. It's called "God's Diplomats: Pope Francis, Vatican Diplomacy and America's Armageddon," and it's written by a long-time friend of mine, Victor Gaetan. It's a fascinating read, well written, widely sourced, with over a hundred pages of endnotes. It is also a sympathetic view of the Church's involvement in world diplomacy, with particular emphasis on recent hotspots. I recommend it most highly.

    Read more
  • Painting a Picture, Calling all Witnesses



    Twenty-two years ago, when I started my work for The Pontifical Mission Societies, I thought of it as just that -- a job. I spent years at home, raising three children. When the time came that they were all in school, I felt the pull to return to the "real world." Little by little, I found that the Holy Spirit had different plans for me with The Pontifical Mission Societies. My part time work became a full-time vocation. I became a witness.

    Read more
  • All things well



    The incident in today's Gospel is recorded only by Mark. The key line is what the crowd says at the end: "He has done all things well." In the Greek, this echoes the creation story, recalling that God saw all the things He had done and declared them good (see Genesis 1:31).

    Read more
  • The day I nearly won the Pillsbury Bake-Off



    This Labor Day weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the time I nearly won the Pillsbury Bake-Off. And I can't even cook. I couldn't cook 45 years ago and I can't cook now. Well, I must admit that I am a whiz at heating up canned soup (Helpful hint: For best results remove soup from can before heating. You're welcome). Also, there was a period in my life when I'd go out into the backyard with a glass of wine and throw some steaks on the grill; then I'd sip thoughtfully on the wine as the steaks got totally ruined. I don't do that anymore. I stopped drinking wine a while ago so I no longer have any need to go out into the backyard. Other than that, my record as a non-cook is unblemished.

    Read more
  • Vatican diplomacy making a difference



    This past June 25, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See's secretary for relations with states -- usually dubbed the "Vatican's foreign minister" -- told a press conference that he and his colleagues didn't believe that the Vatican's speaking out publicly on the massive repression underway in Hong Kong "would make any difference whatever."

    Read more
  • Trapped in the self



    Recently, I've seen television footage of two protests against vaccine and mask mandates. In my home state of Washington, a protester held up a large sign saying, "My Body My Choice." A protest in Louisiana featured the slogan "Freedom of Choice."

    Read more
  • The great danger of a misguided charity and false compassion



    The push to substitute "gender identity" or "gender expression" for biological sex has enormous ramifications in terms of law, education, economy, health, medicine, safety, sports, language, and culture, as well as in terms of basic anthropology, human dignity, human rights, marriage and family, motherhood and fatherhood, and the cause of women, men, and especially children.

    Read more
  • The opportunity to achieve dreams



    College drop off for the first time is a rite of passage for parents and children this time of year. It is something I experienced almost 30 years ago as a student and something I experienced for the first time this week as a parent -- two vastly different experiences, but with many common emotions.

    Read more
  • What (or who) gives?



    My delight in earning a graduate degree in theology this spring has given way to a desire to downsize. I'm not planning to move but am eager to simplify my life and give many things away, good things that I'm sure others can use.

    Read more
  • The moral analysis of boxing



    In 1996, when Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic flame on international television, the issue of sports-induced brain damage was raised to new prominence. One of the greatest boxers in history, his evident frailty and overt Parkinson's tremors led many to question the sport of boxing and its future. Since then, countless other athletes, not only from the world of boxing, but from football, hockey, mixed martial arts, soccer and beyond, have shared tragic stories of debilitating sports-related concussions.

    Read more
  • The More You Know



    Here at the office of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Boston, we have a two-fold ministry. While tasked by the Holy Father with gathering material support for the missions, we must also educate our benefactors about the specific, ongoing needs of the mission Church.

    Read more
  • Pure religion



    Today's Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light as one having authority to interpret God's law. Jesus' quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they've turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

    Read more
  • There's no quit in Jerry Remy



    Cancer can be a tough, relentless enemy. That's something Jerry Remy has known for a long time. But he can be just as tough and just as relentless. That's something he has proven for just as long. George W. Bush was still president of the United States when the guy we call the Rem Dawg was first diagnosed with lung cancer. The presidencies of Bush, Obama (two terms), and Trump have all expired since then. America and the world have changed profoundly; but Remy still battles on in his seemingly never-ending fight against the dreaded disease. He's not going to throw in the towel, that much is certain.

    Read more
  • Handing on the faith



    It's hard to imagine that anyone who ever raised children found it an entirely easy job. Challenging, exciting, often rewarding -- yes. But easy? You've got to be kidding. That is certainly the case when it comes to religion. Yet as Christian Smith and Amy Adamczyk report in their important new book "Handing Down the Faith" (Oxford), "Above and beyond any other effect on children's religion is the influence of their parents."

    Read more
  • A retirement project like no other



    "When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness." -- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, "Don Quixote." What should a retired philosophy professor who is a political skeptic, fiercely pro-life and apparently with a bit of time on his hands, do this fall? Run for governor of California, of course!

    Read more
  • Dating divorced individuals



    Q. I have a question regarding dating people who are divorced (Catholic or non-Catholic). At my age (42), it seems like the majority of those in the dating pool are in fact divorced. Many of these potential dates are through online dating apps, which don't list the person's whole history.

    Read more
  • Risky businesses



    The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report recently whose alarming rhetoric about carbon dioxide emissions ("code red for humanity") got me thinking again about nuclear energy.

    Read more
  • Wanted: A Catholic Chaim Potok



    In the three decades since the Revolution of 1989, Poland's many cultural achievements include mastering the craft of creating the 21st-century historical museum. Examples include the Warsaw Uprising Museum in the national capital; Kraków Under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945, built on the site of Oskar Schindler's factory; and The Family Home of John Paul II -- Papal Museum, in the late pope's hometown, Wadowice. Each of these exemplary museums combines a traditional, linear approach to telling a historical story, using the artifacts often found in such exhibitions, with brilliantly executed interactive displays that lead the visitor "into" the history being explored. I know of nothing so well done in the United States; the Polish museums put the Smithsonian's Museum of American History to shame.

    Read more