An Advent of Peace ~ or War?

This Advent begins a new liturgical year which Pope Francis has proclaimed to be a “Year of Mercy.” Certainly our world, beset by terrorism and frightful intolerance on many fronts, is in great need of mercy. But there is an added dimension to the pope’s plea. Quite recently the pontiff remarked that the world has already entered into “Piecemeal World War III,” a frightful prognosis, to be sure. Is the world, in fact, sliding headlong into an extended period of chaos and conflict from which only God’s mercy will be able to deliver us? And is mercy only the province of God, or do human beings also share some obligation to participate in the extending of mercy?

Civilization itself is tottering on the brink as 2016 dawns, and yet our leaders, rather than trying to pull us back from that cliff, seem content to push mankind ever closer to the precipice. Continue reading

“Laudate Si’s” Disturbing Echoes

The great 19th century thinker and apologist John Henry Newman observed that the Church exhibits three characteristics: first she is pastoral thereby sanctifying her members, next she is pedagogical (a fancy word for her teaching mission), and finally she is political because the Church is made up of humans. It was this third characteristic that caused Newman the greatest concern and, in fact, any cursory glimpse of Church history quickly reveals her many political struggles from the beginning, when Paul took Peter to task over his attitude towards the gentiles as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

.  The problem is that the lines are not clearly demarcated and sometimes political considerations become entangled with the Church’s pastoral and pedagogical mission Continue reading