Every year on Palm Sunday, we hear proclaimed the stunning song of the “suffering servant” from the Book of Isaiah. This year, we hear the third of four such songs found in this prophetic book. We hear the fourth one every year on Good Friday.
There has been much debate among scholars about who the servant was, and they have not been able to agree on any clear answer to the question. Some suggest that it was a king or a prophet. Others suggest that the servant was Israel itself personified as one man. Read more
Each of the four Gospel accounts tells the story of Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, and each of them tells it in almost the exact same way, using almost the exact same words. In each of the readings, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. As he travels to Jerusalem, a jubilant crowd greets him, singing his praises, softening his path with their cloaks.
We know this day as Palm Sunday, although only John mentions the waving of palm branches; the other accounts mention only branches from local trees. Read more
Pope Benedict XVI is sometimes called the “Green Pope” because of his environmental concerns, which are a hallmark of his papacy. He is not embracing a new cause, but calling Catholics to recover and live out the duty to care for creation that is anchored in Scripture, reflected in the lives of Francis and other saints and articulated in Catholic teaching. Read more
From his first day in office, Pope Benedict XVI has called on the church and the world to do what the bible has commanded for over two millennia, to welcome the stranger. This theme drives the work of the U.S. bishops Office of Migration and Refugee Services: resettling, providing services to unaccompanied children, working in anti-trafficking, striving for justice for the undocumented. What has mattered most in this outreach to welcome the stranger has been the consistency, resolve, clarity and unwavering moral authority with which the pope has spoken out on this issue through statements, speeches and private audiences. He continually reminds his followers and the world to give dignity and respect in the welcome to the stranger. Read more
I’ll always remember Pope Benedict walking down the aisle of St. Joseph’s Church in New York, during his 2008 visit to the United States. Hundreds of assembled Christian leaders from across the country greeted him warmly, and he offered words of hope and reconciliation.
In Rome, the Holy Father greets delegations of distinguished ecumenical guests regularly. He has good personal relationships with many leaders including Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Read more
Among Pope Benedict’s many concerns during his papacy have been two that joined together – faith and evangelization. We are presently in the Year of Faith. The renewal of faith within the Catholic Church is not only to strengthen the faith of her members, but also to prepare Catholics to participate in the “New Evangelization.” One of the ways that Pope Benedict has promoted the renewal of faith and the new evangelization has been through his Wednesday audiences.
When he became pope, Benedict dedicated his Wednesday audiences to the early Fathers of the Church. Each week he treated a different Father – for example, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyon, Basil the Great, Athanasius of Alexandria, and Augustine of Hippo. Pope Benedict noted that each of these was a man of faith who was instrumental in spreading the Gospel. St. Ignatius was eaten by beasts in the Coliseum in Rome in 107 AD and so bore witness to the faith. St. Athanasius defended the full divinity of Jesus and in so doing ensured the truth of the Incarnation for future generations. St. Augustine, through his many books, for example, his Confessions, his treatise On the Trinity, and his City of God, influences Catholic theology to this day. Pope Benedict realized that all of the Fathers of the Church preached the Gospel and so fostered Christian culture. Read more
Pope Benedict has a deep love for the liturgy, and has been rather broad minded in the sense of holding the Church’s liturgical tradition—past and present—together in a healthy tension without a rigid uniformity. Read more
The New Year is the perfect place to start anew. Periodically, if not daily, organizations evaluate themselves to determine if their mission and goals are being realized. Accepting the status quo is out of the question. Streamlined and creative strategies are sought to sharpen their public images.
The same principle holds true for us whether or not we hold to religious views. We want to live more healthy, reflective, and meaningful lives.
Picking the best man for president and voting for the best candidates for other elected offices may seem easy–that is, if you’re a single issue person.
For instance, if the economy or the issue of abortion is what’s driving you to the polls, than the choices may appear to be quite clear for you. But even here, there’s more that needs to be considered than just simply liking what a candidate says.
A politician’s record, not rhetoric, is what really counts. And even if a politician has proved his or her commitment to the issue of concern, how much will that person likely be able to accomplish?
A governor has to win the approval of the majority of the legislature. The president needs the consent of most of Congress. And even Supreme Court justices appointed by him, can and have, sometimes changed their positions on issues once they have been seated on the bench.
Voting for a candidate who will probably not be in a strong position to significantly move a particular issue forward may make one feel good, but it won’t make much difference. Read more
What would it mean to follow Obama’s health care mandate?
A question on bioethics has arisen and it’s being answered by the fellows of the Culture of Life Foundation.
Q: It seems that all of us to some degree are cooperating in evil. For example, as tax-paying citizen we know that taxes are used to fund programs such as the Mexico City policy. How do we know when the line between legitimate and wrongful cooperation has been crossed?
E. Christian Brugger replies:
Most everyone cooperates in some way in the evil activity of others. Taxpayers cooperate in the wrongful projects of their governments that their taxes make possible. Pharmaceutical companies that produce abortifacient drugs employ thousands of people in tasks unrelated to illicit drug production; and yet to the extent that each employee contributes to the health of the company, each assists the company in remaining viable and so in remaining capable of doing what it does, which includes producing illicit drugs. On the darker side, illegal arms traders who sell weapons on the black market to terrorists cooperate in the deaths of the innocents caused by the acts of terrorism carried out with the weapons they sell. And so on. Read more