Three years after he wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. With the assistance of James Madison, the bill became law on January 16, 1786. The law guaranteed that all individuals have the natural right to exercise their religious beliefs.
Jefferson considered this law one of his greatest achievements. In fact, in his own full epitaph, he wrote: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American...
These first days of this New Year give me hope that 2013 will be the time when our leaders finally come together to enact a just reform of our immigration policies.
This is the end of “National Migration Week” (Jan. 6-12). And this year, my brother bishops and I in the United States are stressing the urgent need for comprehensive reforms that would end deportation policies that break up families and that would offer illegal immigrants a path to make restitution and become citizens.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Looking back at this past year, the horrendous shootings that took place on Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will cast a dark shadow on the whole year, much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 became etched in so many people's minds simply as "9/11" without even needing to mention the year because everyone knew.
Sad to say, the depraved killer's rampage at the Sandy Hook School was not the only mass shooting of the...
"Even if God exists," the world wonders, "how can he be close to us? Can our lives be significant to God? Does he really love us?"
According to polls most Americans believe, for the most part, in God. But for many, God is a distant and impersonal force – a concept more than a person. For many, the idea of a personal God is foreign and in some ways uncomfortable. Modern man, having lived in a culture devoid of love, is skeptical of a God who loves him.
Tragedies, like the unspeakable...
For the first time, tonight we celebrate this glorious feast in the presence of the precious relic of the holy tilma that bears Our Lady’s miraculous image! This is the only relic of this kind in our country or anywhere else outside of Mexico City.
With this relic in our new Chapel to the Virgin, we feel a deep spiritual connection tonight with our brothers and sisters in Mexico – and with Guadalupanos of every continent!
We belong to one family of God! Our brothers and sisters are...
Awaken, Discover, Inspire defines our efforts for the Year of Faith in our Diocese and also can characterize our celebration of Advent.
Advent stirs in us a longing for the Lord to come more fully into our lives. Christ’s coming testifies vividly God’s desire to dwell among us, to experience firsthand the struggles we experience. This season awakens in us a grasp of God’s selfless love for us, that moves us to love as we have been loved. This season awakens in us a burning...
This past Sunday, the Church began the celebration of Advent, the season in which we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
All of us know that Christmas is coming – we are bombarded with the signs and sounds of Christmas already. But knowing that Christmas is coming, and being prepared for it, are two different things. The Church’s Advent season is meant to be an opportunity to open our hearts to Jesus Christ – who comes small and quietly into our lives, but who can...
[On the first Sunday of Advent, we pray in the opening prayer of Mass the following oration:
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
As we look forward with the eyes of faith to the Second Coming...
In last month’s Montana Catholic, I wrote about the Special Synod of bishops in Rome, convened in October by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I stated that the convening of a Special Synod indicates there are pressing issues on the Holy Father’s mind and heart, concerns needing worldwide consultation and expertise.
We know from his speeches and writings that those issues include:
-the spread of secularism.
-the ascent of atheism, especially in nations where...
The Holy Father's Plea
On May 30, 2011, Pope Benedict announced the convening of a special Synod of Bishops in Rome, beginning Oct. 7, 2012. Bishops from all over the world, including four from the United States, were invited to participate in this gathering.
A special Synod indicates there are issues and concerns of particular urgency on the Holy Father’s mind, issues and concerns that require expansive consultation and expertise, and intensive prayer.
We know from the Holy Father’s...